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First Impressions: Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures (3DS)

Posted by Ron DelVillano

Ghost of his former self

What in the world has happened to Pac-Man? There is a plethora of games staring the spherical leading man on almost every gaming platform, yet with every reimagining he seems to become a worse version of his former self. Every now and again we’ll get a gem, like 2010’s Championship Edition DX, but that’s just a polished version of the arcade classic. We finally got some hands-on time with upcoming release Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures for the Nintendo 3DS, and it does its part to keep alive the tradition of shoehorning Pac-Man into genres where he doesn’t belong.

For those of you who didn’t know, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is based on a brand new television series of the same name. When we say that the series is “brand new,” we actually mean that it first aired just over a month ago, and Namco Bandai is already hard at work on a video game tie-in. From what we experienced with our time playing this game, the fact that its development was rushed is quite clear.

Gameplay consists of pretty basic 2.5D side-scrolling platforming, with Pac-Man’s motions limited to running from left to right and jumping over obstacles. He also has an attack that sends him lunging forward to chomp on a nearby enemy. This attack can be chained together, allowing Pac-Man to propel through the air, moving from one enemy to another, not unlike another gaming icon’s homing attack in the upcoming Sonic Lost World. Though this chain attack mechanic is great in theory in that it breaks up the otherwise uninspired gameplay, it is actually slow in execution, taking away from what makes it so fun to use in the Sonic games.

Beyond the basics, Pac-Man also has attack power-ups that can be activated via the 3DS’s touchscreen, also similar to those in Lost World. From what we saw in the demo, there are four different power-ups available that correspond to different colours. The red power-up, for example, allows Pac-Man to shoot flames while the green power-up has our hero donning what looks like a chameleon suit with an extendable tongue, allowing for eating baddies from a distance. While these power-ups could lead to satisfying puzzle solving mechanics in the platforming, in the demo they served no other purpose than to alter our weapons. They added variety, but they did not appear to be necessary. Now that we’ve had time to take a step back and assess the situation, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures played a lot like a worse version of the side-scrolling stages in Sonic Lost World.

As far as aesthetics go, this game is almost completely devoid. It was unclear where exactly the stage was set, but it looked to be on the inside of a factory. The environment was bland with generally solid colored grey walls that weren’t even remotely memorable. The obstacles in the stage were similarly uninspired, consisting mostly of grey blocks. The console’s 3D effect also added little beyond a slight depth adjustment, not much more than can be expected.

To be fair, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures may have gotten better further into the demo, but we weren’t able to play it to the end. We didn’t finish the demo for lack of want, but instead because the game crashed on us. At first Pac-Man refused to move on to the next screen and we thought that we had missed a switch that would allow us to pass, but then the screens eventually went black and we knew that the problems went deeper than poor level design. With any luck, the demo that we played was a very early build that will be consistently worked on and improved before release. With even more luck, Namco Bandai will abandon this altogether and instead make another improved version of the arcade classic.

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User Comments (44)

MrGawain

#2

MrGawain said:

Why they insist on making Pac Man platformers is beyond me- the original game is not a platformer. In fact the 3d equivalent to Pac Man would be Doom or Goldeneye without the guns.

Perhaps the character should go to the same farm that Dig Dug, Q*Bert and Crystal Castle's Bentley Bear now live.

MAB

#3

MAB said:

Pacmans best platformer was the Megadrive classic ↓

Pac 2: The New Adventures ;)

CrazyOtto

#4

CrazyOtto said:

I'll be picking up Pac-Man Museum and Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+ instead, but I'll probably rent this one.

EarthboundBenjy

#6

EarthboundBenjy said:

When people think 'Pac-Man', they think of maze games where you eat dots to win. Sequels involving Pac-Man should be like Ms. Pac-man - an evolution to the maze concept without it turning into something unrelated. This is why I dislike the yellow ball with limbs design of Pac-Man - it just turns a unique style of game into the most generic platforming imaginable.

Obito_Tennyson

#7

Obito_Tennyson said:

@EarthboundBenjy When I think of Pac-Man, I just think of a greedy son of a can who just eats anything he sees. Anything in the foreground that's smaller than himself is edible to him. Might as well hire him to get rid of my trash for me.

jibberldd5

#8

jibberldd5 said:

They should make a third-person Pacman stealth game.
Hide from the ghosts and attack when you have a power pellet.

luminalace

#9

luminalace said:

If Namco are so adamant to make a new genre for Pacman, how about a Runner style 2d game with the ghosts chasing behind you? Miss enough power pellets and they catch you. If my idea sounds unappealing, it would still be a better game than all the 3D platformers Pacman has starred in over the years!

Bass_X0

#10

Bass_X0 said:

Why should a mascot character not leave the genre they started out with? Pac-Man has done all sorts of things over the years, about as much as Mario and Sonic. Although I don't think there are Pac-Man sports games?

Azikira

#11

Azikira said:

It looks exactly like Pac-Man & Galaga Dimension's 'Pac-Man Tilt' game, but now with 100% less Neon.

Wowfunhappy

#12

Wowfunhappy said:

Am I the only one who was hoping this would play like the Pac Man World games? I LOVED Pac Man World 2 back in the day...

It's a shame, really...

Gioku

#13

Gioku said:

@Wowfunhappy Pac-Man World 2 was one of the very first video games I got to play! It was what got me interested in gaming.

I guess we'll never get another Pac-Man World...

animalzer0

#20

animalzer0 said:

I heard the Wii U version will be totally different, I'm hoping that version will be good because I actually am interested in the Pac-Man revival.

allav866

#21

allav866 said:

I still haven't lost faith in Pac-Man. I did enjoy Pac 'n Roll for the DS and its Wii remake in Namco Museum. Maybe someday we'll get another good Pac-Man game.

treeofmana

#22

treeofmana said:

It's really too bad the didn't go with the more retro inspired, painterly and stylized look that was one of the options Namco had people vote on via Facebook. The aesthetic of the show and this game would have been instantly improved, I think!

Kolma

#23

Kolma said:

Just go download Pac-Man Dash for android and iOS
It's Free.
Looks pretty similar to this and it's decently fun

WiiLovePeace

#24

WiiLovePeace said:

"With even more luck, Namco Bandai will abandon this altogether and instead make another improved version of the arcade classic." Ouch!

Pichuka97

#25

Pichuka97 said:

My favorite Pac Man game is probably Pac Man 2 on SNES. Why can't these developers just make something like the first Pac man World on PS1? It was so much fun.

sinalefa

#26

sinalefa said:

@Obito_Tennyson

Your comment made me think of a Katamari Damacy game where Pac Man himself was the Katamari. Eating everything smaller than himself and growing bigger than the world.

JuanitoShet

#27

JuanitoShet said:

Pac-Man games. What'd the poor legendary character do to deserve to be a part of all of these horrifying games?

I'll stick with classic Pac-Man, forever and always. Even if theclassic hands me my own donkey. :B

JuanitoShet

#28

JuanitoShet said:

@Bass_X0 There's nothing wrong with a character used to try out other genres of gaming. However, you mention Mario & Sonic as examples, but they're more iconic gaming characters now, and all the spinoff games they've been a part of over the decades have actually been decent. With a few exceptione, of course.

Pac-Man, on the other hand, hasn't had that success simply due to the poor games he's been forced to be a part of. The old Pac-Man World games are probably the only good titles he's starred in that aren't the classif & Championship Edition.

LeVideoGamer

#31

LeVideoGamer said:

It's a shame. I used to love Pac-Man, but they've just butchered his image for years on end. I played Championship Edition DX on the 360 and I thought that it might be the game to get him back on track, but it seems it wasn't. Almost every console game between Pac-Man Vs. and Pac-Man Championship Edition was lame, and it seems that the games following Championship Edition DX will be, too. Had this game actually been similar to the first two Pac-Man World games, I'd be very interested.

KnightRider666

#32

KnightRider666 said:

I really love pac-man champion edition on the 3ds. They really do need to update on that formula vs. the whole platforming thing.

Goginho

#35

Goginho said:

I would like Pac-in-Time for the Game Boy on the 3DS. Man, how I miss that game.

TwilightV

#36

TwilightV said:

Again, why waste money on this trash I won't buy when they could release already translated One Piece games that i'd practically throw all my money at? Bad move, Namco Bandai of America.

Samurai_Goroh

#38

Samurai_Goroh said:

I like Pac-man, I play the original arcade game on my cellphone and that's it. Pac-man has no room for evolution in today's world. It's a very simple concept cleverly executed 30 years ago. Aside from a guest character on Mario Kart Arcade GP, I don't see what could be done with the character. Certainly not poorly made platformer games.

NintendoFlow

#40

NintendoFlow said:

i wouldnt mind getting this. My girlfriend loves pacman. She would love to play! SHe was obsessed with the Pacman World games for Gamecube.

element187

#42

element187 said:

@Bass_X0 Was that the arcade game where you run from left to right and jump over things??? I loved it when I was a kid, even though I was terrible at it.

Doge

#43

Doge said:

a TV show? SERIOUsLY?! ok pokemon and the kirby shows are good, but this sounds ridiculous. Whats the plot? what COULD be the plot?

Darkness3131

#44

Darkness3131 said:

I really have never liked the 3D Pac-Man with arms and stuff.... Classic Pac-Man works fine for me; I still play it even today.

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