Pac-Man's getting to be a bit of an oldster.
While he's still more effective at ghost hunting than four guys carrying unlicensed nuclear accelerators on their backs, games like Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures indicate Namco Bandai is trying to sow a new generation of Pac-Man fans. Sadly, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures for the Nintendo 3DS is too clunky to single-handedly induce a fresh round of Pac-Man fever.
Unlike its 3D counterpart on the Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a 2D side-scroller. However, all the Ghostly Adventure games are based on the animated TV series of the same name, which is where the 3DS title borrows its storyline from. The evil ghost emperor Betrayus has nabbed the Tree of Life and spirited it away to the Netherworld. Since the Tree of Life produces powerful berries that make it possible for Pac-Man to nosh on his ghostly nemeses, it's decided Pac-Man should retrieve it.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures lets you choose which level you want to tackle first, Mega Man-style. There's an ice level, a forest level, a maze hedge level, and even an awesome throwback stage built up with neon platforms reminiscent of the Pac-Man arcade games. Each stage is topped with a boss battle.
Eating is Pac-Man's primary means of attack, and he can chain his chomps to gulp down several ghosts in one shot. Berries are also on-hand to grant Pac-Man secondary powers, including an Ice Berry that freezes ghosts, a Chameleon Berry that lets Pac snag enemies with a sticky tongue, and a Steel Berry that makes Pac-Man totally metal -- literally.
Though Pac-Man has several moves and attacks at his command, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is not an exciting game. The level layouts are typical of an average side-scroller, and even though you're encouraged to go back to completed levels and retrieve items you initially missed, there aren't a lot of secrets to uncover. The game stops you several times in each level to complete a ghost-eating gauntlet, which gets predictable and boring in no time.
Pac-Man also controls like he has bags of power pellets tied around his feet. He moves slowly, jumps slowly, and doesn't resemble the yellow hero capable of gliding through narrow corridors. Worse, when you chain attacks together, Pac-Man stops mid-gulp to give you a thumbs-up and breaks your stride. Quit showing off, Pac! Eat!
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures doesn't do justice to its hero's legacy, but if you grab it for a younger sibling that loves the TV show, they probably won't hate you for it.
The Nitty Gritty
- Visuals: The graphics in Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures match the gameplay: Inoffensive, but unexciting.
- Music: The music is forgettable, and unlike the 3D games, there's a lack of voice acting.
- Interface: The controls are responsive, but Pac-Man feels heavy and sluggish. He could probably benefit from a double-jump in place of his floating jump.
- Lasting Appeal: You can re-visit previous levels and dig up gallery pieces, but a single playthrough should hold you over just fine.
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