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Review | PAC-MAN WORLD Re-PAC

WAKA WAKA

PAC-MAN WORLD Re-PAC is a 3D platformer developed by NOW PRODUCTION Co. and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. A remake of PAC-MAN WORLD on the PlayStation One (“PSx”) previously developed by Namco Hometek, players will take PAC-MAN through six stages on Ghost Island to rescue his captured family from TOC-MAN and company. For many players, especially today, this will be their first experience controlling PAC-MAN outside of his usual confined, 2D playing area consisting of pellets and very annoying ghosts—and Re-PAC is a game I think many of those players will enjoy quite a bit.

But make no mistake, remaking games isn’t quite simple even for something as simplistic as PAC-MAN WORLD is. Mechanics of the original need to be taken into account, and whether changes being made will change the experience the original provided. For remakes, I don’t mind changes because if I want to go and play the original, I’d simply do so. Re-PAC comes as close as NOW PRODUCTION could get in offering that same WORLD experience on the PSx, but there are gaffes that mire the game overall.

Re-PAC takes the players through different worlds on Ghost Island. Each world has about 4 levels, with the last being a boss fight. And each level objective is the same: get to the end of the stage and break TOC-MAN’s statue. Collectables such as PAC-DOTs and fruit are scattered throughout each level, and the latter plays a role in much of the game’s challenge as you’ll need various fruits in order to open doors that will either continue progression or open up secret areas of a level. And naturally as a platformer, you’ll need to jump to various spots—some easy, some somewhat challenging, and some a little annoying—and PAC-MAN has the suite to tackle all that. He can butt bounce (repeatedly, too!), throw PAC-DOTS at enemies, run in short bursts, and glide for a short period of time.

I’ll admit, I don’t think this remake is all too shabby. Levels come as close to the original’s as far as I can recall, and PAC-MAN controls pretty well. The game isn’t difficult, but it isn’t boring either—most of my deaths were me being careless, running into enemies or (sometimes) obvious death pits. The game gives plenty of lives, so you’ll never teeter on the edge of a game over. Despite all that, I’m not too keen on some of the mechanical changes made to the game, such as picking up power pellets, which in the original, simply kept PAC-MAN the same size as he always was but allowed him to eat ghosts. In Re-PAC, he becomes a giant that destroys everything in his path and can walk over hazards. It takes away some of the challenge that was present in the original, and while it is fun to be a big PAC-MAN, I’d rather the mechanic stayed the same as the original.

Another issue (make this a two-in-one) is that the game’s visuals aren’t too great. Yes, they’re bright and colourful, but texture quality and shading are all over the place. While I can ignore the former just fine, the latter in combination with a lack of an always present shadow beneath the player character can make for some seriously frustrating jumps. That shadow I mentioned in particular is kind of a ‘Platforming 101’, and I’m a little surprised to see the developers forgoing that for a jaggy dynamic shadow. Besides visual quality, the levels are also hit-or-miss, and they don’t really get interesting until towards the end of the game. Mind you, that’s not the remake developer’s fault—that’s all on Namco Hometek—and while Hometek and the Japanese NAMCO branch were far apart, the latter put out Klonoa two years prior to this game and is far more interesting platformer in terms of level design and mechanics.

If you want to make old people upset, simply call Pooka “Dig Dug Man”. (BANDAI NAMCO ENTERTAINMENT)

That doesn’t make PAC-MAN WORLD Re-PAC a bad game though. There’s still quite a bit to enjoy here, such as the collectible mazes found through the game, some of the challenges found throughout the levels, and the boss fights which are easily the highlight of the game. And sure, the game may not be the best on a technical level, such as those aforementioned visuals (the sound mixing and music aren’t the best, either), but for the content and price point it’s a game I can recommend. And hey, if it wasn’t your cup of tea in the end, at least you’ll have another way to play the original PAC-MAN, which unlocks on story completion.

Oh, and on a smaller note, Ms. PAC-MAN from the original was replaced with PAC-MOM in this game, and the very enjoyable CGI cutscenes from the original were chucked out for a style closer to the PAC-MAN Disney cartoon. While I understand why these changes were made, I can’t help but feel a slight tinge of disappointment at losing such a precious intro.

Reviewed onXbox Series X
Available onXbox One, Xbox Series, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam)
Release Date26th of August, 2022
DeveloperNOW PRODUCTION Co Ltd
PublisherBandai Namco Entertainment
ESRB RatingE for Everyone – Mild Cartoon Violence

PAC-MAN WORLD Re-PAC

$29.99
7

Great!

7.0/10

Pros

  • Controls are solid and PAC-MAN is fun to play as.
  • Boss fights are a lot of fun.
  • Reasonable price point for the content offered.

Cons

  • Level design isn't all that interesting, if not sometimes a little confusing.
  • New visual style/shading and mechanic changes make platforming more difficult than the original.
  • Music and overall audio mix sometimes grates on the ear.

Genghis "Solidus Kraken" Husameddin

I like video games, both old and new. Nice 'ta meetcha!

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