Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a game based on the animated TV series which first aired in the UK on Disney XD back in January. It follows the adventures of Pac-Man and friends as they try to protect PacWorld from the evil Betrayus and his ghosts from the Netherworld. We took a look at the Xbox 360 version of the game to see if it’s worth your time.
When we hear the name Pac-Man we immediately think of the classic 2D maze game where Pac-Man had to gobble up pac-dots while avoiding ghosts. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures however is styled like the TV series and is a 3D platform game that plays more like one of the 3D Mario platformers.
Being based on the animated TV show the game is obviously aimed at the younger audience. So be prepared for simple graphics, bright colours and happy over enthusiastic characters. The main hub of the game is a school where Pac-Man can wander around and talk to his friends. Here you’ll meet some of the characters from the show. If you haven’t seen the show you might be surprised to discover that the original ghosts Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde are now also his friends.
Controlling Pac-Man is done from a third-person perspective and this works like you’d expect. The majority of the game requires lots of platforming action which can be quite satisfying. It can also be frustrating thanks to the camera which tends to make things trickier than they need to be. Pac-Man has limited lives and losing them can be a bit too easy at times. Losing a life puts you back at the most recent checkpoint but running out of lives means you need to restart the level.
While making your way around levels you need to collect as many glowing yellow pellets as you can. Pac-man can also chomp on green slime to replenish lost hearts and ghosts for their eyes which can be turned into extra lives. Chomping stuff is particularly addictive as a press of the button has Pac-Man lunge forward mouth open. Doing this with a bunch of ghosts close together allows him to chomp them quickly one after another.
The best feature of the game is the power berries. Similar to the old power pellets the power berries grant Pac-Man special powers. The Ice berry turns him into Ice-Pac allowing him to freeze enemies and certain parts of the environment such as water fountains. The Fire berry allows Pac to throw balls of fire from his hands. Other special berries include Granite, Balloon, Rubber, Spin and Chameleon.
Granite turns him into a ball allowing him to roll around crushing things. Balloon inflates him so you can float through the air by letting the air out. Rubber makes him bounce and able to wall jump. Spin lets you draw paths that he will then follow whilst spinning which makes it easier to take out groups of ghosts. Our favourite though is the berry that turns him into a Chameleon granting him invisibility and a long tongue useful for pulling enemies close or swinging on beams.
Younger players will love playing their hero and enjoy exploring the worlds while meeting Pac-Man’s friends. They will probably also like the story but will struggle with the trickier parts of the platforming. It would have been better to remove the need for lives for younger players on an easier difficulty mode. Older players and adults will likely find the platforming fun but not challenging enough. Adults in particular will struggle to find much to enjoy about the story.
In addition to the single player campaign the game also features a multiplayer component. This allows up to four players to take the role of ghosts who must then chase down Pac-Man. It’s a 3D maze version of the classic game and it sounds like it would be really fun. Sadly it’s tough to work out where you are as the map in the middle of the screen is too small. When playing with AI ghosts they tend to find Pac-Man before you most of the time spoiling the fun. With friends it’s more enjoyable but only for short sessions.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a decent platformer with some nice ideas but it’s let down by trying to appeal to a range of gamers. This leaves it with a difficulty curve too tough for younger players to master and not enough to hold the attention of older gamers. Fans of the show or genre should enjoy the game but sadly it’s not one that they’ll come back to often.