Wed. May 29th, 2024

[Review] Pac-Man Museum + – Nintendo Switch

By Elly Oak Oct10,2022
Developed By: Now Productions
Published By: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Categories: Retro, Compilation
Release Date: 05.27.22

I know what you’re thinking, ANOTHER Pac-Man collection? Yes, but this one is different, I swear. Don’t let the name Pac-Man Museum + fool you. This isn’t just some re-release of that 2014 collection.

Namco Museum games used to be special, you’d get the absolute peak of front ends. An actual museum of old Namco games? Yes please! But for a while, they just became roms in a menu. It’s good emulation, fantastic emulation, but it seems like a bit of a step down. Recently however, Namco has really stepped up. Namcot Collection the Japanese release of Namco Museum Archives, a collection of Namco’s old NES/Famicom games had you rearaging your bookshelf with the boxes, some knick knacks, it was a cute way to make a group of roms, not just soulless menus. Now, with Pac-Man Museum +, you control an entire arcade. One you can walk around in at that.

There are a lot of games here, both console and arcade, so lets list them off. Pac-Man, Super Pac-Man, Pac & Pal, Pac-Land, Pac-Mania, the SNES port of Pac-Attack, the Super Famicom port of Pac-in-Time, both the Arcade and PSP Pac-Man Arrangement, Pac-Man Championship Edition, Pac-Motos, Pac’n Roll Remix, Pac-Man Battle Royal, and Pac-Man 256. Woof, that’s a lot of games, a pretty thorough set if I say so myself, even if it’s missing a very small number of games I would have included like Pac-Pix. Time to dig in.

We all know about the original Pac-Man, so I’ll keep it short. Four ghosts, they all have different personalities. You need to do your best to not die while eating all of the pellets around the maze. You have Power Pellets to help you however, they make you fast, and they’ll turn those ghosts blue and they’ll be running from you this time. You can even eat them for lots of bonus points. I’ve never really been huge on the original game, if only because how deliberate your movements are. I always feel like I messed up and miss turns. We can only go up from here.

Next is Super Pac-Man. You’re still in a maze, there’s still the ghosts, but now…Pac-Man is hungry! The goal this time around to collect all of a stage specific food. The food last time we just for bonus points, but now it’s all you want. The food is all locked up though, so you’ll need to grab keys scattered around to open doors. The Power Pellets return, they still do the same thing, but now we have Green Power Pellets. They make Pac-Man HUGE. You can just smash through those doors now! You can also just plow through ghosts too, though you won’t eat them…maybe combine both of these pellets together?

If you like Super Pac-Man, Pac & Pal is a more refined take on that. Now with the green Mil assisting you in play. This time however, you simply want to get whats in those doors. You’ll need to flip cards though, it’ll give you access to the fruit, the keys, and even special powerups that can let you freeze the ghosts. It’s a neat twist to Pac-Man, but it’s a smidge confusing at first.

Pac-Mania comes next. New, colorful sprites with that shaded look. New music that is really funky, and the biggest improvement of all…You can jump! It’s a fun sequel to Pac-Man, though I don’t much like how zoomed in it is. I value seeing the entire playing field or at least most of it when playing these games. It is a substantially easier game however, even with the zoom in and the addition of more ghosts. That jump is a game changer.

I chose to play Pac’n Roll Remix next, which sits a the console table as opposed to it’s own cabinet. This is the Wii remake of the DS game Pac’n Roll. Your goal is just to get to to goal at the end of the stage. You’ll have to collect Pac-Dots to get through gates throughout the stages. Ghosts and Power Pellets return and function as they normally would, though Pac-Man does have HP now. There’s power-ups you can find throughout levels too, so don’t let those first few levels make you think its just a short minigame.

While the DS game was controlled by the touch screen, and Wii version via motion controls, this all stick. This is a step down in absolutely every way. With a stick, this game is far too slick and slippery. It’s never something that ruins the game, but if you want to play Pac’n Roll, I’d suggest you play it on the Wii in Namco Museum Remix, or by playing the original DS version, which even has a story.

If you’ve ever wanted to play a Pac-Man platformer, one that’s based off of the cartoon, then Pac-Land is the game for you! There is so much character in this game. If the team was tasked to make a game based on the cartoon, they sure did a good job with the superb animation and art design. It just looks so good, especially for a game from 1984. Pac-Land is simple to play too. You run, jump, and when you see the Power Pellets, eat them right up. I’ll say though, jumping across that pond is pretty hard.

Pac-Man Arrangement is absolutely gorgeous. By far and above the best looking and sounding Pac-Man game if you ask me. The late 90’s were truly a fanstic time for spritework and 2D games. Each world having it’s own theme, music, so much variety. This is more or less a nicer looking Pac-Man, with a small few changes. The first is these dash pads, just go in the direction of them and Pac-Man flies, with ghosts getting spun out if in his way. There’s jump pads too, which let you go to another segment of the level. Pac-Man can get powerups now that mean something. The best one is a mirror that can double Pac-Man, which means twice the dot eating. The Ghosts can get powerups now too thanks to a new Ghost named Kinky. Anything Pac-Man can do, they can too. They can even combine now for a big ghost.

Pac-Motos is a game about just knocking balls off of the ledge. It’s not deep in the slightest and the depth comes in strictly by choosing a loudout each stage that can boost things like Power, jumps, or charging. You can tell this is a Pac-Man-ified version of an old arcade game, in this case “Motos”. All that said, this is really fun.

Pac-In-Time is what you get when you get Namco licensing an unrelated Amiga game, in this came “Fury of the Furries”. This is absolutely nothing like Pac-Man. Well, you collect the pellets and then go to the end of the stage? That’s the similarity. Pac-Man instead gets different abilities, found through rings. Fireballs to shoot, a hammer, air bubbles to swim. This plays decent enough, but it’s a tad too bouncy. Though I do enjoy the rope that lets you swing around. An odd choice for an addition here, especially the harder Japanese edition, but I’ll allow it.

I was having fun with Pac-In-Time until I got to point where you had to swing up between two cliffs. It was just so a problem to do it and I eventually just had to do the “quit” button to just get a game over because I was more or less stuck and I couldn’t proceed. Either the rope was too short and I couldn’t swing enough, or it was too long and I’d just bump into things. What a mess, at least there’s passwords to skip levels.

We have Pac-Man Arrangement on PSP now. It’s just a 3D edition and lets you save. I think the arcade game looks and sounds better. More accessibility is great, but it just looks cheap.

Pac-Attack is a falling black puzzle game…wait don’t go! It’s not a Tetris clone! You have three pieces. Blocks, Ghosts, and Pac-Man. Blocks will wall ghosts in, allowing the Pac-Man pieces to roll down a well and make big combos. Getting a full line of blocks will clean out too. There’s that endless-ish score more and then challenges.

Pac-Man Championship Edition is like if you made “Pac-Man Club Mix”. It’s neon, it’s fast, and it goes hard. You’re not just clearing out mazes, but more following paths. On these paths, you’ll find the classic Power Pellets, which do exactly what you want them to do. You’ll be tempted to chase down ghosts, but stay on the path. Once a side of the maze is empty, a fruit will come up, that can refill parts of the maze. Keep doing this for around five or ten minutes. We’ve been getting ports of the sequels to CE, so it’s nice to get the original, even if I like how much content the sequels have.

Pac-Man 256 is a mobile game and boy does it feel like one. What we have is a Pac-Man endless runner. The maze is still here, the fruit are still here, the dots and pellets are still here. You’re getting chased by this glitchy mess and need to keep moving forward. What makes it super apparent it’s a mobile game outside of it’s simplicity is that there’s a grind. Pac-Man can get some rad powerups, but you need to collect the pac-dots. A lot of them. These help to really spice up an otherwise simple game at least.

Lastly, we have Pac-Man Battle Royal. This is a game I have had the luck of playing as intended in an arcade before and I love it. The mechanics that CE had with paths, fruit, and all of that return. You and up to three other players (or just a CPU) gotta the dots, eating all of the dots will bring up fruit. Eat that fruit and a new path will show up, this time with a Power Pellet. RACE AS FAST AS YOU CAN TO GRAB THIS. Then it’s time to chase down those other Pac-Men. There are ghosts around and you should avoid them, but they are not your target. This gets downright chaotic when you play as a group of four. Love it, play it.

The presentation like I mentioned earlier is top of the line. I love the front end being an arcade, one you can actually customize with more cabinets, statues, dividers, tables, etc… The music player is a jukebox and you can unlock music for it. There’s a Gashapon machine to get stuff to display around the arcade. You’ll notice those coins in the top right corner though. You start with 500 and an arcade game is one to play. That sounds awful, but you always get at least five for playing a game regardless of what it is.

This is a good time to mention that each game has challenges. It’s really just getting a high enough score or doing so much of this one thing. Completing these unlocks things for you, with the being one being music. Want music? Then you’re gonna have to play all of the games and grind.

So emulation wise, I’d say it just gets the job done. You get a single CRT filter, three screen sizes, and absolutely no mapping. I do like how the games that are 4:3 all have a cute marque as the borders, very similar if not the ones from the arcades that can help explain the game.

Pac-Man Museum +, especially for it’s price is totally worth your time. I mean, if you like Pac-Man. It’s always really hard to sell very old arcade games, but I do feel like Pac-Man has enough cultural power to not really worry about it like some others. I do wish there was more options in game wise for control mapping, especially because I keep forgetting Y is the menu button, but otherwise, this is a solid Pac-Man compilation. But to be honest, Namco’s collections are usually pretty good anyway.

4/5

Buy Now: $19.99 Digital – $29.99 Physical

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