The first 3D adventure of the famous game character is back, with a new look.
I was ready to start the review by wondering, why on earth such a low-key release such as Pac-Man World would be worth a remaster. Then I took a quick look at the reviews and sales figures of the original game and found out I was wrong. Originally a PS1-exclusive, the game was perhaps even a surprising success both in reviews and sales, selling one and a half million copies back in the day.
For me then, the first Pac-Man World was not a familiar title, instead I had played the third instalment in the series before. Because of that, it was interesting to see where the series had originated from and how the original game would compare to its sequels. The game got great reviews back in the day, it can't be bad, right!?
As an interesting point, Pac-Man World doesn't even try to challenge Super Mario or Crash Bandicoot on their own turf. Instead, it is a fairly straightforward adventure, which uses the third dimension in a peculiar way. The stages run usually from left to the right, always utilising the possibilities of 3D.
The best thing about Pac-Man World is how the game makes use of the special feature of the main character. The main portion of the game consists of the usual platforming antics, with the usual colleting of fruits and letters featured alongside. But there are also more interesting things to be found. For example, the famous power pills transform Pac-Man momentarily into a giant munching machine, which also allows him to eat the ghosts floating in the stage. Behind locked doors there is also a range of basic Pac-Man action with the pill-filled labyrinths. They don't contribute to the game that much, but they are well designed and fun to play.
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The remaster is well done. Graphics are crisp and colourful and especially the soundtrack - composed by the famous musician Tommy Tallarico - is so darn good, I'd listen to it even without the game. It's just unfortunate, that the new graphics take their toll on the older platforms. While on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X the game runs smoothly at 60 frames per second, the Switch especially sometimes has problems with the game. At times the game feels sluggish, which creates problems, when the platforming and fighting become more taxing.
There are also a couple other problems in the game, when looked through a modern pair of glasses. There is a lot of repetition, but then again, the adventure is over after only five hours or so. The difficulty level is also quite wonky, as most of the time the game is a fairly easy romp, but sometimes the difficulty spikes notably, even in the early levels. This also applies to the boss fights, which are mostly laughably easy, but especially the boss fight in world two is, despite the updates in the remaster, nothing short of frustrating.
Overall Pac-Man World Re-Pac is a nice enough game. The Pac-features are a very original touch when compared to the other late 1990's platformers and I really didn't expect to see something like that. And even though the genre is showing a little promise of waking up again, there is still a major drought in the market of 3D platformers. Pac-Man's adventure is a good enough one to quench the thirst.
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7 / 10
Crisp and colourful graphics. The original ideas are great.
Very short. Unbalanced difficulty. Switch version runs poorly.