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Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures (Video Game Review)

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a new title for one of the most iconic video game characters of all-time with the new game coming from Monkey Bar Games and Bandai Namco this time around. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures takes Pac-Man back to the classic 3D platforming roots of ten years ago with gameplay and controls that are dated, while the game itself offers few challenges for experienced gamers. The new release is based on the animated series with the same name, so it's clearly aimed at kids, but it's hardly the best game for a younger audience either Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures can be entertaining at times, but very basic gameplay and no truly original ideas make the game an average title at best.

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures features a storyline that follows closely to the series on which the game is based, but it's hardly as fun for young fans of the series. Pac-Man sets off on an adventure to restore power to ancient spheres that can be used to save the world and return the evil mastermind Betrayus and his group of ghost minions back to the Netherworld where they belong. The storyline is pretty basic by most standards, but the game rarely features any of the main characters from the show outside of Pac-Man, and when one does appear, it's only briefly. The narrative is mostly told through quick cutscenes that hardly do the show justice, though there are a few funny moments to help keep players interested during the game.

Gameplay in Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures relies heavily on 3D platforming and a few easy to solve puzzles. The game rarely throws much of a challenge at players, with most enemies being easy to overcome with a series of homing attacks, and bosses are pretty simple after their pattern is learned by players. Puzzles in the game are nearly as easy to solve and rarely involve using more than one or two nearby items to progress.

Pac-Man gets some special new moves in the game that help make the title a bit more interesting, but the ideas used are definitely not original. The yellow hero can grab special power pellets in the game to gain new abilities such as shooting fireballs or blocks of ice and even transforming into a boulder to crush enemies and obstructions. Since the moves can be lost when Pac-Man takes damage, and the powers are needed to progress further into the game, the pellets respawn often and are never too far away for players that need them. This safety net makes the game even easier and doesn't really reward players for practicing and getting better at platforming and combat in the game.

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is in the same line of classic 3D platformers from several generations of consoles ago, and familiar problems come with the older gameplay. The game's camera is very tricky to control and can often times obstruct the player's view to cause problems or even deaths. When one of the most difficult enemies in your game is the game's camera, that's a problem. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures does include controls that are easy enough to use to rotate the camera or even to reset it behind Pac-Man with the click of an analog stick, but it's hardly enough to keep the gameplay in the new title from being frustrating for most players.

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures does do a good job of packing bonus content into the main game though. There are a lot of collectibles to find hidden away in levels. This adds a bit of depth to the game that players won't notice at first. Some of these include health boosting items for Pac-Man, but even more importantly, are parts to arcade machines that can be collected and assembled to play some classic games in the Pac-Man series. These classic titles can be a lot of fun and a nice distraction away from the main campaign.

Additionally, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures packs a fun, but shallow, multiplayer mode for up to four players locally. Multiplayer in the game allows players to become ghosts and chase down an AI controlled Pac-Man in the 3D environments present throughout the game. The first player to chase down the hero wins. There are some problems with the AI though that will cause Pac-Man to get stuck on different objects in the environment and perform other idiotic maneuvers, but the real reason players will get tired with the game's multiplayer is the lack of options or even a way to control Pac-Man as a human controlled character.

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a pretty good looking game with colorful characters that rival those featured in the animated series. The game also offers plenty of ways to play the game including Nintendo Wii U gamepad, Wii Nunchuk controller and the Wii Pro controller. Additionally, the game supports playing the game on the Wii U gamepad away from the television, though there is sadly no in-game support for using the gamepad while actually playing the game on the big screen.

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures isn't a terrible game, but some very basic platforming gameplay combines with an uninteresting storyline and shallow multiplayer to make the new release a very average game. Younger gamers would be the most likely to enjoy the game, while their parents may enjoy playing the classic arcade machines available in the game. The hidden collectibles add some replay value to the title, but it's still not a game worth going out of your way to purchase except for the biggest fans of the show or the iconic video game character. The Nintendo Wii U may not have a ton of titles to choose from, but there are definitely some better platformers available for the system, and Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures isn't among those.

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is now available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and PC. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is rated E by the ESRB for Animated Blood, Cartoon Violence & Comic Mischief. For more information on the game, check out the official Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures website.

Game Features:
  • Local Multiplayer 1-4
  • Gain New Powers
  • Explore Six New Worlds
  • Featuring Characters and Locations from Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures Show
  • Trophy/Achievement Support

Game Information:
Developer: Monkey Bar Games
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U (reviewed) Nintendo 3DS & PC
Release Date: October 25, 2013

Score: 5 out of 10
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