There’s simply no denying that Pac-Man is one of the most iconic video game characters of all time, even IF he doesn’t get quite as much screentime as he deserves these days. It’s crazy to think that the little yellow dude has been around for nearly forty-two years now, with countless releases across multiple genres hitting arcades and consoles in that timespan. Pac-Man Museum+ puts fourteen of those titles together in one nostalgia-fuelled package, giving players the chance to rewind the years and play through some of Pac-Man’s best (and sometimes not so great) escapades all over again.
Check out some screenshots down below:
One of the neatest things about Pac-Man Museum+ is its 3D overworld, with players able to play as Pac-Man as they explore a vibrant arcade setting. What’s particularly cool here is the fact that in order to play each of the games, you have to use their specific arcade cabinet (with the exception of a few ‘free-to-play’ titles that didn’t have their own cabinet in the first place). Players are able to customise this arcade too, whether it’s by re-arranging the cabinets or adding their own little Pac-Man decorations that they unlock, giving the whole thing a fun little personal twist where you can really make the arcade feel like your own.
There’s a sense of progress to be found within the arcade too, with certain games not available until you’ve hit specific prerequisites in other games. It encourages players to try out every title that’s available and there was something rewarding about unlocking new titles; on the flip-side, someone who wants to dive right into their favourite to find it locked might be a little disappointed. Thankfully, it won’t take more than an hour to unlock all of the games, so it won’t take too long before players are able to play whatever they want.
Well… if they have coins, that is. Pac-Man Museum+ takes its arcade setup VERY seriously, meaning you’ll need coins to spend to actually get credits in the games. Whilst this is a cool touch that adds authenticity to the experience (and it’s easy enough to earn additional coins by playing those aforementioned ‘free-to-play’ titles or completing challenges), it alleviated the convenience of simply being able to dive right into whatever game you want to play. It gamifies the process of simply playing the games, which might not be what folk are looking for when they simply want to play some old favourites all over again.
Personally? I found it a cool and fun idea that encourages playing a variety of titles and I rarely ever found myself low on coins, but it won’t be for everyone.
“You’ll definitely have a favourite in the end (that’s Pac-Man Championship Edition for me), but they’re all enjoyable in their own little ways.”
With fourteen games included in Pac-Man Museum+, there really is plenty for fans to get stuck into. It includes the following: Pac-Man (1980), Super Pac-Man (1982), Pac & Pal (1983), Pac Land (1984), Pac-Mania (1987), Pac-Attack (1992), Pac-In-Time (1995), two versions of Pac-Man Arrangement (1996 and 2005), Pac n’ Roll (2005), Pac-Man Championship Edition (2007), Pac Motos (2007), Pac-Man Battle Royale (2010) and Pac-Man 256 (2015).
Pac-Man, Super Pac-Man, Pac & Pal, Pac-Mania, Pac-Man Arrangement, Pac-Man Championship Edition, and Pac-Man Battle Royale each embrace the traditional gameplay formula that so many know and love, with players traversing a maze, collecting pellets, and avoiding the ghosts that are stalking them. Whilst they each embrace the same formula though, there are plenty of additional features across them to make each entry feel worthwhile. Fancy old-school Pac-Man without any fancy bells and whistles? Dive into the 1980 original. Would you rather play with some cool power-ups based around other Bandai Namco franchises? Check out Pac & Pal. Want to see what the action would look like with an isometric viewpoint? Pac-Mania is for you. Chasing scores in a maze full of psychedelic visuals your thing? You’ll LOVE Pac-Man Championship Edition. Or do you prefer competitive action? Take on your friends in Pac-Man Battle Royale. Whilst I’ve lumped these games together as offering a more ‘traditional’ experience, they each bring something different to the fray to ensure that players will have plenty of varied fun playing through them all. You’ll definitely have a favourite in the end (that’s Pac-Man Championship Edition for me), but they’re all enjoyable in their own little ways.
The other titles do something a little different, with Pac-Man certainly dipping his feet into a few different genres over the years. Pac Land and Pac-In-Time are both 2D platforming adventures, though of admittedly varying qualities; Pac Land is charming and fun (albeit simple), whilst Pac-In-Time is clunky and frustrating. Pac-Attack is a puzzler that sees players stacking falling blocks (which I wasn’t really a big fan of), whilst Pac n’ Roll is a 3D adventure that sees players rolling around and using momentum to control Pac-Man’s position. I’d never even heard of Pac n’ Roll before playing it here, but it quickly stood out as one of my favourite games in the collection.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Pac Motos is another 3D game that sees players having to bash their way into enemies in order to knock them off a floating platform – again, like Pac n’ Roll, I’d never heard of it, but ended up thoroughly enjoying the simple yet addictive action. It’s not very long, but it’s a Pac-Man experience that really does something different. Then you’ve got Pac-Man 256, which is an endless runner that sees players hunted down by an 80s-style glitch. It started life as a mobile game and it tells, but, much like the traditional Pac-Man titles, it can be mighty addictive attempting to chase those high scores.
Having all of these games on the Nintendo Switch is great, especially when having those quick bursts of gameplay when playing handheld. Plus, I got to discover a whole bunch of titles that I’d never played before – sure, some weren’t so fun (I’m looking at you, Pac-In-Time), but other titles like Pac n’ Roll and Pac Motos were a real treat. The games run well too, with no complaints from me when it comes to the emulation. The only thing that did see some choppiness was the arcade overworld itself, with some frame rate stutters showing up in the Nintendo Switch version of the game. It’s not a game-breaker, especially since it doesn’t affect the main games themselves, but it is an issue that I’d like to see ironed out with a future patch.
Pac-Man Museum+ Review
Pac-Man Museum+ offers a delightful collection of games that any Pac-Man (or arcade) fans are sure to love playing. Whether going for a traditional run in Pac-Man, a 2D adventure in Pac Land, a rolling escapade in Pac n’ Roll, or chasing high scores in Pac Man 256, there’s a little something for everyone here from across the little yellow dude’s extensive history. There are a couple of duds in the package and the arcade overworld’s performance on the Nintendo Switch could be a little iffy, but they’re small issues in what is otherwise a super fun blast to the past.
Developer: Bandai Namco Games
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC