Despite being a fan of Pac-Man Museum+ when it launched earlier this year, I found the omission of Pac-Man World to be a big shame. It was one of my favourite platformers on the original PlayStation in my younger years, and whilst I’m happy to admit that there were better releases in the genre on the platform, there was something about the adventure that always stuck with me. I was pretty excited then when Bandai Namco announced that the game would be getting the remake treatment in the form of Pac-Man World Re-Pac, which doesn’t only bring it to modern platforms with a few refinements but also gives it a fresh lick of paint.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Pac-Man World Re-Pac brings with it a narrative that’s a bit more in depth than Pac-Man’s typical adventures of guzzling down pellets across mazes, with the titular hero meant to be celebrating a party at his home. Instead, the villainous Toc-Man sends his ghostly goons (the iconic Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde) to capture the famed hero, though they make a mistake and kidnap his family instead. These things happen when everyone looks like a yellow ball, right? It’s up to Pac-Man to head to Ghost Island, rescue his family, and give Toc-Man the beating he deserves.
This means embarking on a platforming adventure across a multitude of colourful environments full of baddies to take out and collectibles to grab. Pac-Man World Re-Pac’s platforming will feel familiar to those who played some of the platformers from the 90s, with the game taking place over a free-roaming 3D plane but with fixed camera angles following the action. Pac-Man can run, jump, and butt-bash enemies (as well as give himself a boosted jump that’ll send him higher), whilst he’s also able to throw pellets at foes or charge a dash to launch himself through enemies or across vertical paths. There’s nothing here you wouldn’t have seen before with the game borrowing elements from the likes of Crash Bandicoot, Super Mario 64, and Sonic the Hedgehog (some of the most popular releases in the genre through the 90s), but it puts everything it borrows to good use to ensure each level is fun to play through.
Whilst there’s an end goal to reach to complete levels (a statue of Toc-Man that you have to smash), there’s plenty of room for exploration along the way. Whilst Pac-Man World Re-Pac is a pretty linear experience, you can use the fruit you find in levels to unlock doors to find bonuses and collectibles, clear optional platforming sections, or even tackle old-school Pac-Man levels based around the classic arcade gameplay. Accessing a lot of these areas will often require backtracking, though you never have to go too far that it feels like a chore. Certain levels also introduce their own hazards and gimmicks to spice things up, whilst the boss fights are creative and utilise the gameplay mechanics in an array of cool (and often unexpected) ways. There’s just solid design across the board in Pac-Man World Re-Pac, with a good balance of difficulty and variety found across each of the game worlds.
“There’s nothing here you wouldn’t have seen before with the game borrowing elements from the likes of Crash Bandicoot, Super Mario 64, and Sonic the Hedgehog (some of the most popular releases in the genre through the 90s), but it puts everything it borrows to good use to ensure each level is fun to play through.”
It ensures that Pac-Man World Re-Pac is just as fun to play now as the original game was in the 90s, though it does have some aspects that feel a little dated. One obvious one is the sheer amount of invisible walls, with plenty of areas in levels inaccessible despite it appearing like you could reach them. It’s a hallmark of 90s platforming and it doesn’t really affect the gameplay so it’s hard to complain too much, but there were plenty of occasions where I thought I could venture off the beaten path only to find an invisible wall blocking my way. The camera could be guilty of making it difficult to judge where you need to jump to in some levels too, and whilst I was rarely at risk of falling through pitfalls that’d send me to my doom, there were plenty of occasions where I didn’t land a jump perfectly or missed a platform because the lack of depth perception was throwing me off.
There were occasions where the game could feel a little bit easy too, especially with how generous it is in handing out lives. By the time I finished two of the game’s worlds, I had already stock-piled over thirty lives, with deaths at a minimum during my time playing. There’s an emphasis placed on building up your score when playing by collecting pellets and finding the fruit scattered throughout levels, but the lives awarded for getting high scores could subside the challenge of the overall experience – especially with the very generous checkpoint system and plethora of health pickups in levels.
Despite these issues, I still had a really good time with Pac-Man World Re-Pac and think its platforming action has stood the test of time. It’s simple but introduces enough creativity throughout its levels to ensure players will have plenty of fun. It feels the right length to beat too, with it only taking me around six or seven hours to complete the game and find all collectibles – it’s long enough to keep players engrossed without ever feeling like it outstays its welcome.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Visually, Pac-Man World Re-Pac looks good, even if there aren’t a lot of modern bells and whistles embraced to bring levels to life. There’s enough colour and detail in the world to make it interesting to explore though, whilst the variety of environments ensure there’s always something different to check out along the way. I think those expecting a super-souped up visual change might be underwhelmed, but it’s hard to complain too much… it just looks like a modern Pac-Man World.
There is one thing worth pointing out that’s platform specific to the Nintendo Switch: by default, Pac-Man World Re-Pac is set to ‘Resolution Mode’ in the options. Change this to ‘Performance Mode’ as soon as you can. Whilst Pac-Man World Re-Pac is fine to play in ‘Resolution Mode’, the improvement in ‘Performance Mode’ is significant and makes the game feel a LOT better to play with minimal loss to the visual quality, especially when playing handheld (where I spent most of my time with the game).
Pac-Man World Re-Pac Review
Pac-Man World Re-Pac proves that Pac-Man World is still a lot of fun to play today, even IF some aspects of its gameplay do feel a little dated. It looks good, the level design is clever, whilst the creative boss battles ensure that each world in the game ends with a bang. Sure, it can feel a bit simple in places whilst the invisible walls and some finicky camera issues may bother some players, but it’s easy to see that Pac-Man World has stood the test of time in this revamped release.
Developer: Bandai Namco
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC