Pac-Man World: Re-Pac (Nintendo Switch) Mini Review

Pac-Man World: Re-Pac (Nintendo Switch) Mini Review 2
Pac-Man World: Re-Pac (Nintendo Switch) Mini Review
Pac-Man World: Re-Pac
Developer: NOW PRODUCTION
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
Played On: Nintendo Switch
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
MSRP: $39.99 CAD
Release Date: 26/08/2022

It’s a pretty obvious observation that Pac-Man is one of the greatest video games of all time, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a simple concept, expertly crafted, and endlessly replayable. I’ve loved Pac-Man ever since I was a kid—having the weird black, Tengen cartridge that was unlike any other NES game I had seen—and I particularly loved Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures on the SNES. 

I was initially excited for Pac-Man World: Re-Pac when it was announced, as I truly believe Pac-Man is a character with a lot of versatility, and definitely has the potential to exist in games outside his established formula. But not everything old can be new again, and Pac-Man World: Re-Pac is at worst frustrating, and at best profoundly mediocre. 

Pac-Man World: Re-Pac (Nintendo Switch) Mini Review 1

Pac-Man World: Re-Pac begins, much as the original did, with a big birthday celebration for Pac-Man being ruined by the Ghosts, who capture his whole family and take them back to Ghost Island. Upon Ghost Island, it’s revealed that a giant mechanical imposter TOC-Man is also having a party and wanted Pac-Man captured for his gift. Pac-Man must work his way across Ghost Island to defeat TOC-Man and his minions, and rescue his family. 

It’s about the kind of story you could reasonably expect from a Pac-Man game, however I was a little underwhelmed to see it compared to the opening cutscene of the original 1999 release of Pac-Man World, which was way more goofy and featured extremely campy voice-over—complete with a hilarious close-up scream from Pac-Man. But the story is hardly what matters here, what really matters is the game itself, and it’s nothing to write home about. 

Pac-Man World: Re-Pac begins, much as the original did, with a big birthday celebration for Pac-Man being ruined by the Ghosts…”

It’s as generic a 2.5D platformer as they come, working in elements from Pac-Man, like the pellets, fruit, and ghosts, to a pretty weak effect. Pac-Man has a variety of moves that are semi-functional, and feel a bit janky to use. There’s his classic butt-bounce where he can stomp on enemies or be used to gain a bit of height on jumps, there’s his move where he briefly runs in place and charges a big rolling attack, and his trademark air hover—not unlike Yoshi’s flutter kick—that is absolutely useless.  

Pac-Man World: Re-Pac (Nintendo Switch) Mini Review 4

Players will run and jump through levels, and to its credit, the platforming isn’t completely terrible—jumps feel good and Pac-Man himself is easy to control, but the collection of abilities coupled with some pretty basic level design makes each level feel boring more often than not, and in some of the more dangerous areas, just plain frustrating. 

What’s worst about the game is just how same-y it all feels. Every level plays out almost identically: grab fruit to open doors, designated segments where ghosts are, and you have to find a Power Pellet to eat them, the obligatory Pac-Man maze, usually hidden behind a door you need a fruit to unlock—wash, rinse, repeat. There’s little variety to enemy types and little to no challenge.  

“I really wanted to love Pac-Man: Re-Pac, but unfortunately it’s another case of remaking a PlayStation-era game, without trying to evolve it or advance it in any way.”

The mazes themselves—what should’ve been the hardest thing to get wrong—are also usually more frustrating, as the Ghosts don’t seem to act like they were originally designed to, and instead just all work together to ambush you, and cut you off at every turn. Couple that with bizarre layouts and insta-kill hazards, and you’ve found a way to make the original Pac-Man less fun.  

Pac-Man World: Re-Pac (Nintendo Switch) Mini Review 5

Visually, Pac-Man World: Re-Pac is fine. The game looks good in HD with bright colours and nice lighting effects. Some visual effects have been added to this remake that set it apart from the original—like when Pac-Man gets a Power Pellet, and he grows into a giant classic Pac-Man, instead of just becoming invincible and running into the Ghosts like he did in the original. For the most part Pac-Man animates nicely, although some movements can look a bit stilted. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the soundtrack that ranges from generic, to obnoxious—they get a lot of mileage from the Pac-Man intermission screen song. 

I really wanted to love Pac-Man: Re-Pac, but unfortunately it’s another case of remaking a PlayStation-era game, without trying to evolve it or advance it in any way. Which is a shame, because both Super Smash Bros for Wii U/3DS and Super Smash Bros Ultimate really show how Pac-Man can have a lot of interesting movement and attack options. Pac-Man is a fun character, and you could do a lot of fun things with him. 

I would love to see another attempt at a more free-form Pac-Man game that actually takes into account 20+ years of gaming advancement, because I honestly think Pac-Man could work in a 3D or even 2D platformer/adventure game, but this isn’t it. Pac-Man World: Re-Pac probably should’ve stayed in the past.  

A retail version of the game reviewed was provided by the publisher. You can read more about CGMagazine reivew policies here.

Final Thoughts

REVIEW SCORE

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