Although Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary was a few years ago, 2013 seems to be the year of Pac, what with the recently launched cartoon series Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, the upcoming Pac-Man: Champion Edition Deluxe + DLC and re-release, and an upcoming Namco Museum. The first of these projects is, in fact, getting a video game adaptation, which I was able to try out recently with Namco Bandai.
And what can I say? Pac is back.
If you haven’t caught the show, Ghost Adventures revolves around Pacster/Pac-Man [Jr], the son of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. The story has Pacster, the New Pac-Man, taking on a new ghastly villain, named Betrayus. Pac-Man, growing up an orphan, learns that he is some kind of “chosen one” in this series, a hero descended from the legendary Pacs, and protector of the world from the ghosts. Despite the infamous conflict between the Pacs and the Ghosts, he has made a deal with Inky, Blinky and the other original Ghost Gang ghosts, who are tired of getting eaten, and who strike a deal to be informants against Betrayus.
Ghost Adventures the game is a platformer, one that takes place within the same story and world of the animated series, and has three major settings: a Metropolis, a Netherworld, and Space. Most of the demo I played took place in a city stage frosted over with ice and snow, and filled with mailroom shoots to get around in, vanishing platforms, and simple puzzles. To aid him in his adventure, Pac-Man comes with the default ability to “chomp” enemies, which mainly consist of ghosts, and can also scare them to turn them blue and make them run away, much like when his parents ate berries.
And speaking of berries, Pac-Man will have a variety of power ups to rely on, berries of all types that give him new powers, but can be lost upon getting attacked by enemies. During hte demo, I got to try out the yellow berry, which gave Pac-Man the ability chuck fireballs at enemies, burn ice ghosts, defrost items that have been frozen, and more. Later I was able to sample the green berry, which allowed Pac-Man to become a chameleon, and turn invisible (for a limited time) and use a Yoshi-like tongie to grab and swallow enemies from a distance, and use his tongue to swing from poles like a certain Marvel superhero you might know.
While I didn’t get to see them, I was also made aware of a few other special berries, including: a berry that turns Pac-Man into Granite Pac, whose heavy weight makes platforms tilt, giving the game a Monkey Ball-like feel; another that turns Pac-Man into a magnet to attract things to him; and yet another that turns him into Rubber Pac to allow him to bounce.
The Ghost Adventures plays fast and fun, and definitely made as a “family game” that isn’t too difficult, but challenging enough to keep players busy. The game, I was told, was in fact a little slower before, but was sped up to make it more engaging. I’ll never know the difference, but I can say this build of the game felt well paced: the game offers a lot of variety, with the aforementioned platforming sections including your typical vanishing platforms, the sticky-tongue pole-swinging, sliding sections, and simple puzzles, and the action segments, like the one that ended the level I played, which involved a slew of ghosts gunning for our hero on a circular platform that turned in two different directions between the center and edge. And then the level ended with a cherry, which felt like the only right way to end a Pac-Man 3D paltformer.
While I didn’t get to see it in action, there’s also a handheld 3DS version on the way, which I was told had the same narrative as the console version, but made into a 2D side-scroller for more accessible gameplay for children. And although The Ghostly Adventures is largely a single player game, I was told that there is a multiplayer component, with both four player competitive and cooperative action, and with a twist on the classic mazes to boot.
The show’s out already, and has garnered enough support to warrant a second season already. So whether complementary or supplementary, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures has two ways for you to enjoy its world, be it through the animated series, or through the game that will be making its way to your PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U and 3DS this year in later October. Check out the screenshots gallery below, and stay tuned for more Pac-Man news.