by Camrin Santchi
reviewed on PC
When a gamer thinks of Pac-Man, one's mind tends to go specifically to the 1980 arcade cabinet that shares the same name as the yellow mascot himself, or perhaps the dot-muncher's appearances in the Super Smash Bros. series, perhaps the movie Pixels or the song Pac-Man Fever. Almost twenty years after the release of the maze action game, in 1999, Pac-Man World was released, a 3D platformer starring Namco's spherical mascot, at about the same time that other gaming companies were releasing 3D platformers starring their mascots in an attempt to compete with 1996's Super Mario 64 - most notable perhaps with Sonic Adventure, starring Sega's Blue Blur himself in 1998. Pac-Man World: Re-Pac is a modernized version of the platformer from 23 years ago for modern consoles as well as Steam, and shows that Pac-Man is certainly a heck of a platforming protagonist.
For those that didn't play the original, the plot of Pac-Man World: Re-Pac is pretty simple - the four ghosts (Inky, Pinky, Blinky, and Clyde) have kidnapped Pac-Man's family from his similarly shaped home, and he needs to make his way to Ghost Island in order to rescue them, munching dots and dodging ghosts and other enemies through six worlds. In order to do this, Pac-Man is armed with movement abilities that allow him to manoeuvre surprisingly smoothly. Rather than a double jump like some games, Pac-Man instead sports a 'Butt-Bounce', where he does a ground pound from the air, the force of which causes him to launch higher in the air than the original jump got him. He also sports a 'Rev-Up' which allows him to run in place before launching in a chosen direction rolling at high speeds, and can even awkwardly hover in mid-air temporarily by running in place like a Looney Tunes character. These movement abilities are aided by surprisingly smooth controls, Pac-Man proving very cooperative in moving through the levels.
Something that long time Pac-Man players may notice is the absence of Ms Pac-Man, with her being replaced by a very similar character called instead Pac-Mom, due to a dispute over ownership of the character of Ms. Pac-Man. This is the only distinct change that this reviewer saw over the hours spent playing the game, and while it can be a little jarring if you played the original it doesn’t take one too terribly out of the game.
In true 'old platformer' fashion, Pac-Man World: Re-Pac is full to the brim with collectibles for players to track down, including the letters of the titular character's name, plentiful amounts of fruit, and even items that unlock classic style Pac-Man mazes. This can be a bit overwhelming at first, especially to those who aren't used to the amount of potential collectibles, but thanks to the hub world of Ghost Island, players can replay those levels as many times as they want if they choose to go for full completion, or they can just beat the current level and move onto the next one.
The music in the game is pretty energetic and has plenty of call-backs to the sound effects and jingles of the classic Pac-Man machine. Depending on the sequence itself this can be really well done or occasionally a bit jarring, but its never too much of an issue that it takes away from the gameplay.
Probably the only big flaw this reviewer noted when playing Pac-Man World: Re-Pac is how slow some portions of the game can be, most notably the slot machine segments at the end of each level that let players attempt to earn a higher score or extra lives. This sequence can take a lot of time depending on how many collectibles were retrieved by the player, and can sometimes ruin the pacing of the game since it takes some time to roll into the next level.
Re-Pac-aged, but still fun
In all Pac-Man World: Re-Pac is a quality coat of paint that allows for gamers to experience an era of Pac-Man's history that was previously only available on the fifth console generation. It's a fun platformer with appealing visuals, smooth gameplay, and a simple but nevertheless charming story.
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Good movement, music, and levels
Perhaps too many collectibles, the slot machine can drag