by samoza

Beyond Co-Op Review: Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventure

I imagine that Pac-Man has a rich baritone.  He is a man who has seen things; George Clooney would play him in the film of his life.  You have to be a certain age to date Ms. Pac-Man, or as rumor has it- become Ms. Pac-Man.  Either way you are at least in your 20s.  Not according to Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures.  Here we join Pac-Man in high school, all burgeoning testosterone and overconfidence.  He must find out why there are so many new ghosts around if he is going to save the world of Pacopolis.  He does this by basically platforming a lot and eating as many things as his huge round face will take.

It is easy to dismiss Ghostly Adventures as a game for babies, but heed my warning; this game will make babies cry.  Behind its sacaren coating is a challenging platform game that is reminiscent of the PS2 days; both good and bad.  In positive terms, there is some fun gameplay on show.  Pac-Man enters each level and he must make his way to the end using his traditional chomping powers, but he also has new powers such as ice, heat, stone and even lizard. There are lots of different ghosts in the game and not all of them can be killed easily.  You must use each specific power pills to kill specific enemies.  This leads to some interesting puzzles as the game progresses.

I am a sucker for old fashioned platforming and actually miss the days of Jak and Daxter et al.  Give me a hundred icons to collect in a level and watch me roll in clover.  If you are a fan of old school 3D platforming then Ghostly Adventures is a solid undertaking.  The jumping works and there is plenty to find, especially power pills.  It is just that, even I grow weary of collecting yet more things.  Thankfully, these tokens actually open up mini arcade games in the Hub world that are an amusing distraction.

Not all is sunny in the world of the chompster as there is a lot that makes Ghostly Adventures feel generic and out of date.  Graphically, the game is clean, but would look embarrassing when put up against the similar Ratchet and Clank games of this generation.  There is also an issue with the level design.  Everything flows a little uniformly and you soon start to grow a little tired of yet another platforming bit, followed by battles with ghosts.  The different powers on show do shake things up a little, but you are constantly feeling like you are playing a game from 2004.

The most unforgivable part of the game is the patronising tone of the cut scenes and voice acting.  The quality on show here is so poor that even the recent Sonic games sound good.  I have played some preposterous storylines in recent years (Epic Mickey 2), but Ghostly Adventures is gibberish, pure and simple.  Pac-Man himself comes across as a buffoon; all overconfidence and arrogance.  It is hard to like a character that shouts his name as he hurtles through tubes.

Will Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures pull up any trees?  No way, no how and not happening.  What you get is a decent enough platform game, wrapped in insipid clothing.  When you are jumping around and using the various powers to take on a puzzle, the game is worth playing.  However, these moments are interspersed with awful dialogue and a story so bad, it makes Saturday Morning TV seem like Shakespeare.  All this means is that an interesting diversion of a game is sucked back into the sea of mediocrity.  With Lego Marvel, Ratchet, Banjo and many other superior cartoon platformers out there already; only try this is you have beaten the best and you are looking at the rest.


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