Pac-Man has come a long way since it was originally released back in 1980 in the arcades. Since then it has seen countless remakes and remasters across almost every system imaginable and has become a staple of what video gaming is all about. So, what does Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus do to the tried and trusted formula to warrant your purchase?
The original instalment of Pac-Man had you navigate Pac-Man through a series of mazes eating Pac-Dots and evading four of the meanest ghosts in town: Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. The goal is rather simple and involves you eating all the dots to progress to the next level. Side goals included eating Power Dots and chasing our four ghosts away and consuming them if you so dared; the formula was rather simple but addictive.
Fast forward to 2018 and Bandai Namco has release Pac-Man Championship edition 2 Plus which aims to build on the revamped title that was released back in 2007, Pac-Man Championship edition. Pac-Man Championship Edition brought with it a great maze design with a host of different modes, challenges and of course map configurations to boot. There were a heap of eye catching effects and great music that made it a truly enjoyable experience and one that I enjoyed playing immensely.
For the first time that I can recall you can opt to complete a tutorial which I found almost insulting however upon reflection this isn’t the Pac-Man that you played back in 1980. However it soon becomes apparent that this is a very different take on the Pac-Man formula that has you playing differently to how you normally would have in the past. The first point is that when you make contact with a ghost, you don’t instantly die. In fact you can bump into a ghost more than once, in fact, on your third collision the ghosts will then begin to pursue you and if successful, then you will meet your maker. I found this to be a good change as for once I felt like I actually had a few chances up my sleeve rather than one slip up and it was death for you.
The next notable change was the sleeping ghosts which I didn’t understand at first. Essentially these ghosts are scattered amongst the level and when you pass them by, they are activated so to speak and join the queue behind the closest of the four main ghosts. The ghosts almost appear to form a snake like design that chases you around the board. However as you progress and eat the all mighty power pill, you are treated to some pretty cool animation that shows you devouring a string of ghosts for a truly massive score multiplier and it does this is a 3D fashion to boot as well.
Next there are bombs and bomb jumps which adds a whole new dynamic to the trusted formula. If you find yourself in a spot of bother, a quick press of the buttons will warp you back to the starting point. Also, along the way there were jump points which allow you to jump from one area to the next as well, an alternative for heading to the side of the screen. Each of these new tactics forces you to change your gameplay style and move in different ways to games of the past. It’s a great idea and a great take on the classic formula that appears to have clearly evolved which is well needed in order to stay fresh enough for people to try. But hey, at least you can still collect various pieces of fruit which was quite refreshing.
One of the big changes to Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus on the Nintendo Switch is the addition of a two player mode. Here teamwork is key to your success as you work together to trap those pesky ghosts and devour them for massive point combinations. This two player mode was extremely helpful as we could progress and manage our sections of the game screen and not worry about crossing over into each other’s space. It almost felt that the ghosts now would attack each of us independently giving one player a small breather for a few seconds till you were back in the ghosts sight. Also worth noting is your second player can actually be computer controlled. This seemed to work ok but was not merely as much fun as playing with a real partner.
Graphics and Sound
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus isn’t a power house of graphical awesomeness with detailed city environments and draw distances that soak up CPU resources like mad. No, it’s simply, bright, colourful and fast and relatively basic in its design and really it comes down to how the game runs and performs versus how many polygon’s are inside Blinky! My point is graphics don’t matter here and nor should they as the game is a timeless design of mazes and the modernised colours and sound make it truly engaging no matter what system you’re playing it on.
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus for the Nintendo Switch is an absolute blast to play on the go as well as on the big TV screen. Its fast paced, thrilling action that will have you aiming to beat your high scores and progressing through the modes. Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus ticks the box for fans of the series but also changes the formula enough to welcome in a new generation of Pac-Man players. It’s a game that succeeds in re-imagining itself whilst remaining fun and engaging at the same time. Do yourself a favour and chase some ghosts now.
Thank you to Bandai Namco for providing a copy of Pac-Man Championship 2 Plus Edition for review on the Nintendo Switch