Last week I reviewed Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, a new 3-D platforming romp starring video game icon Pac-Man and based on the new computer animated cartoon on Disney XD. Well, the 3DS version is a totally different game, with a new story and 2-D platforming gameplay. So I decided to review it separately.
In the game, the evil ghost lord Betrayus has stolen the Tree of Life, where all the Power Berries grow. So Pac-Man and his friends set out to get it back. It’ll be tough going, but luckily Pac-Man still has the Tree of Life sapling that his parents gave him, but his supply of Power Berries is severely limited now.
The game is a 2-D platforming adventure with 3-D graphics and backgrounds. Pac-Man can run, jump, and float in the air for a bit if you press the jump button again (kind of like how Yoshi does it in the Yoshi’s Island games). Pac-Man also has a chomp attack. Press the button and if there are ghosts nearby, Pac will home in on them and chomp then away! You can chomp a chain of ghosts this way, progressively increasing your score. For larger ghosts and boss monsters, you may have to chomp them repeatedly to whittle down their energy before gulping them down.
During the stages, Pac-Man can eat a Power Berry to give him extra skills and abilities. Tap on the bottom screen to use one, but Pac-Man only has a limited supply, so use them sparingly. Certain berries give Pac specific powers. As Metal Pac-Man, he can suck in ghosts with his magnet tongue and later drill through metal blocks. Fire Pac-Man can throw fireballs, while Ice Pac-Man can freeze objects and ghosts with his ice breath. You’ll discover other powers in stages as well.
After the initial beginning stage, Pac-Man can choose to tackle levels in any order. Stages are based on locations from the cartoon, such as the Hedge Maze or Slime Temple. Hidden in each stage are puzzle pieces that can unlock pictures and characters you can view. There are also hidden fertilizer packets that can upgrade your Tree of Life sapling, letting you carry more berries into stages. The game encourages you to revisit stages after acquiring other berries and skills so you can find more secrets.
The game does have a few problems here and there. Some bosses take too long to beat, and some enemies are hard to see because they blend into the background (blue ice ghosts against a blue sky, for instance). Sometimes homing in on ghosts to chomp them doesn’t always work, and hit detection isn’t always precise. But while it wouldn’t hold my interest as much as say, a Kirby or Mario platformer would, otherwise it’s not too bad a game.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures on 3DS is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Animated Blood and Mild Cartoon Violence. Animated blood?!? Wha…??? Actually, I do know the ESRB counts slime and guts as blood, too, and spurts of slime come out when you chomp ghosts. But that’s as violent as it gets. If you’re OK with your kids watching the TV cartoon, they’ll be OK with this game, too. Reading skill is a must for the text, and younger gamers may get frustrated at the tougher challenges in levels.