CGR Undertow – PAC-MAN AND THE GHOSTLY ADVENTURES review for Xbox 360
Human beings disagree on a lot of things,
but if there’s one thing we can agree on…it’s that Pac-Man looks f*cking stupid with legs. He’s like a fat yellow nightmare,
dipped in stupidity. So, you know, another 3D Pac-Man game. That’s what we need. Something to bring us
together. In utter disgust. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventure seems to
have no idea what year it is. Seriously, it’s a design that went out of style a decade ago, it’s a character that
should’ve learned his lesson about growing legs even further back than that…and it has a camera that doesn’t seem
to realize, “Dude, we fixed cameras in 3D platformers a long time ago.” This game’s so bad and boring, I’m not even
sure what year it is. I feel like an abduction victim, who’s lost time. I don’t know where I am anymore, and I think
there’s something in my neck. So the game takes place on Pac-World, which
should give you an idea of just how much thought went into this game. You can still eat ghosts, but for some reason,
you’re friends with Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde, and Pac-Man has the voice of a 10-year-old boy. Coming from me,
that says something. Pac-Man’s, like, 40 and married. Why’s he sound like he wants a skateboard
for Christmas? So there’s a villain named Betrayus. There’s
a story, but seriously? Betrayus? Pac-World? I’m seriously, just…amazed. This is the kind of stuff you read on a forum.
Like a weird fan fiction or something. Only it’s not. Somehow, this is a real Pac-Man game. And when he gets the
ice power-up, he turns into…are you ready for this?…Ice Pac. I’m gonna need an ice pack, after this crap. Anyway, objectively speaking, this is a 3D
platformer. In the simplest, earliest sense you can imagine. There are enemies and things you can collect, and Pac-Man
can power-up. He can throw fireballs, and he can turn into a green lizard with a tongue…if Mario has a legal
team, they’re probably hitting the books as we speak. This is ridiculous. In fact, the only relatively modern-feeling
thing about this game…is that the levels are kinda divided into separate little areas that Pac-Man flies to. So it’s
basically Mario Galaxy, only he flies through tubes instead of space. So…there’s that. At least it also copies something new. So how about the levels? Well, if you’ve played
any video game literally ever, you can probably guess where this is heading. City, jungle ruins, snow world…I
don’t know, whatever your favorite level cliche is, it’s probably here. So I guess there’s some comfort in that. This game
is instantly familiar in every way, so I guess it’s a perfect game for really young players. And you know, to be fair, it does play well.
The design is completely uninspired, but the game’s mechanics are at least okay. The controls are fine, the abilities
work like you’d expect…the only frustration in terms of gameplay comes from that awful camera. You’ll fall
from ledges and take damage from enemies you didn’t even see, and that sucks. But for the most part, there’s no serious
problems with the controls or mechanics. They’re perfectly functional. And perfectly boring. I mean, this is pretty clearly a kid’s game.
So I guess your view on this game depends on your expectations from kid’s games. If you think kids can’t discern an
objectively good game from an objectively poor game, you probably won’t see a problem here. It works, it’s unoffensive…but
it’s generic on a pretty stunning level. This is paint-by-numbers game design, the kind of game you seriously can
go through with a checklist…picking out all the borrowed ideas. And it’s sad. Pac-Man is an icon. But…what
do you do with Pac-Man? In this world of complex games, how do you
evolve that simple Pac-Man formula? I don’t know, but I can tell you one thing.
You don’t do this.