There’s a lot of debate over developers porting previously released title to Nintendo Switch. Some see it as a great way for developers to show support, while others think it results in an underwhelming game library, needless port-begging, and half-heartedly made ports. Botched releases like WWE 2K18 and RiME may make some people hesitant about third-party ports, but if every Nintendo Switch port was as good as Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus is, then there wouldn’t be much of a debate.
This port of the somewhat ignored sequel to Pac-Man Championship Edition doesn’t just come with the entire base game, but a brand new exclusive two-player mode that is very suitable for the Switch’s co-op friendly nature. Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus also runs extremely well on the system, so if you’re a Pac-Man fan, casual or hardcore, and missed out on the game when it launched back in 2016, Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus is a must-buy on the Nintendo Switch.
As soon as you boot up the game, you will be greeted with two options. You can either choose to go into the single-player Pac-Man Championship Edition 2, which is just the base game that hit PC, PS4, and Xbox One in 2016, or Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus 2P, which contains the brand new two-player mode.
To recap what the original game had, Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 contains a Tutorial, Score Attack, and Adventure Mode. As you’d expect, the Tutorial introduces players to the game’s mechanics, which are actually somewhat different from what series veterans are used to. Of course at its core, the game is still about eating pellets and ghosts, but Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 adds some new mechanics to create something unique.
Each stage has players eating pellets in a smaller maze in order to build up a meter, once it is built up players can eat the fruit that spawns and quickly jump down to the next maze. Ghosts also don’t kill Pac-Man immediately upon contact, he’ll have to bump into them three times in order to die. Each maze is littered with small green ghosts that attach themselves to the main four ghosts when they are passed.
These create giant ghost trains, which make it even harder to navigate the mazes. Eventually, a power pellet will spawn instead of a fruit, allowing Pac-Man to eat the train from its head in a very awesome-feeling 3D scene that pops up from the maze and takes advantage of the Switch’s HD Rumble. While this may seem a bit offputting to series veterans at first, but the changes actually work well, making Pac-Man Championship Edtion 2’s gameplay feel different, but still just as rewarding.
In Score Attack, the goal is to rack up as many points as possible one of ten different stages within a time limit. Single Train is the easiest mode, as it only allows one train, but the difficulty can be quickly ramped all the way up with Extreme mode, which has players juggle four ghosts trains at the same time. This can get quite difficult, but it feels euphoric to gobble up four trains consecutively as Pac-Man, gaining a massive amount of points in the process.
Meanwhile, Adventure Mode opts for a quicker mission-based structure. In each level, players must complete an objective, like clear a series of stages or reaching a certain number of points, within a strict time limit. After ten stages, players come face to face with a giant boss, which is defeated by completing series of mazes in succession quickly. Both of these modes are very fun, though I do like Score Attack better, and should keep both casual and veteran players enticed for a while, especially with the added portability factor of Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus.
While all of the original versions modes hold up well, Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus 2P is the big draw that can’t be found in other versions of the game. As the name suggests, this adds a two-player Score Attack mode that really spices things up. Mechanically, this two-player mode functions similarly to the base game for the most part, though the inclusion of a second player does introduce a few new things.
It’s each Pac-Man’s job to clear their side of the map of power-pellets. Once they are eaten, a fruit capsule spawns in the mouths of both players, and they must run into each other in order to clear the stage. The ghost bumping rule also doesn’t always apply here; single ghosts can trap Pac-Man, so the other player must go out of their way to bump into and free the other Pac-Man, which then says a cute sounding “Thank you!”
If one person is playing with an AI partner, the AI player will actually be immune to ghosts; that being said, you do lose the ability to strategize and talk with another person, so you may not always know what the AI will do. Ghost trains must also be eaten from both sides in order to be destroyed. After clearing so many levels, a giant boss will appear. After eating all the pellets on its gravity-defying stage, each Pac-Man must jump into it multiple times in order to destroy it.
Even more casual players or non-gamers should be able to understand the mechanics of this mode fairly quickly, which should make Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus a great co-op Switch game to whip out at parties with friends or family. While the light blue Pac-Man may occasionally get lost in all the action due to its color, the two-player mode has universal appeal, making it a stellar addition to Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus.
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus also runs great on the Switch, both when handheld and docked. The game is very fast-paced, so a smooth frame rate is a necessity, and the game delivers, still running at a consistent 60fps on this somewhat weaker hardware. The Switch’s handheld capabilities also compliment the game’s more bite-sized modes and the accessibility of the two-player mode.
If you haven’t picked up Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 yet, or are very intrigued by the Plus 2P mode, you should seriously consider getting Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus on Nintendo Switch. The port is technically solid and only benefits from the system’s portability and HD Rumble, which undeniably makes this the definitive version of this already great game.
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus may seem like its just another port on the surface, but upon closer inspection become a ridiculously fun co-op Switch title that will only embellish your system’s game library. I hope other third-party developers produce Nintendo Switch ports that are just as solid, as that can only bode well for the hybrid console in the long run.