Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is the textbook definition of an awesome game for children. Its presentation is full of vibrant and pleasant graphics, and its voice acting is just as it is in the TV show the game is based on. Going further, the character platforming gameplay offers an enjoyable experience, and with a solid variety in levels and a light-hearted atmosphere, it’d be a challenge for a younger gamer to be bored by it. But is it at all enjoyable for the older crowd? Not really, but that’s totally fine.
The story is completely serviceable for its Disney Channel demographic. Lord Betrayus and his minions are out to try and impose Betrayus’ stereotypical evil plans of mayhem-inducing. So, naturally, Pac-Man and pals are put to the task to shut his dreams of domination down. It’s safe, predictable as can be, and completely competent for a 10-year-old gamer. It’s a tale that won’t reach a hair further than its intended audience, and if you’re disappointed with the game’s story, you only have yourself to blame for expecting way too much out of a licensed children’s game’s plot.
As for the gameplay, Monkeybar Games pretty much nails every fundamental that a modern platformer should. I’m not saying there’s anything transcendent here, just that the game is solidly built. It’s one of those situations where nothing is quite top-tier but nothing is completely terrible either. As with any platformer, jumping and camera are absolutely key. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2‘s developers thankfully made sure that their mechanics were solid, so any falls from heights are definitely a direct result of impatience or a simple instance of distance misjudgment. That said, I do wish that they had made the camera controllable, as there are some spots that could have benefitted form it.
Combat is as simple as it can get. You’re basically just constantly eating everything, and every now and then you’ll have to use a power-up on an enemy before you can absorb him, too. Pac-Man‘s combat is incredibly prone to repetition for more seasoned players, but younger players should gobble the system up, especially with some nifty power-ups such as an ice suit, fire suit, and a Paczilla (yes, as in a giant Pac-Man) to mix things up decently. For the most part, each of these power pellets serve as a combat and/or traversal modifier. For example, Ice Pac can freeze enemies or water fountains to make them jumpable platforms, and the magnetic power allows for topsy-turvy level navigation. The only gripe I have is that returning, annoying-as-hell boulder ability. Trying to navigate a bouldered-out Pac-Man along narrow pathways can be borderline infuriating. At least for the most part, the power-up diversity is very Mario-esque and it undoubtedly benefits the game.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 also does a solid job with level variety. With five different worlds and over forty different levels, Bandai Namco has made sure that young gamer will get enough mileage out of this package. You’ll be consuming a seemingly never-ending amount of pac-pellets in stomping grounds such as the Prehistoric World, Netherworld, Outer Space, and more. Each level is designed well and, given the player’s platforming experience, they’re never unfair. Of course, it’s never more than point-A-to-point-B design and it’s definitely nothing ground-breaking, just stellar competence (a bit of a running theme, eh?).
Monkeybar Games has also found a way to vary its gameplay by letting users control a couple of Pac-Man’s pals vehicle-style. Cyli has her hover board to zip through her levels and Spiral controls the Cherry Copter. Combat differs for them in comparison to the Pac because they don’t have our main man’s chomping chops and have to rely on plasma cannons. These sections provide a brief and welcome change of pace from all the main Pac-Man duties.
Graphically, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is completely adequate. Colors pop and the simple textures lend to the cartoon feel that the game is aiming for. There are never any impressive visual feats in the game but the video presentation is fundamentally solid. The bouncy and vibrant audio also fits well with the light-hearted aesthetics, and the Saturday-morning cartoon voice acting also contributes well to the overall audio/video package. So, once again, it’s absolutely competent on this end.
Bandai Namco definitely could have been more experimental or creative with this sequel, but what’s here is certainly enough to please returning fans. Additionally, even if you’re a young newcomer to the series, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is almost guaranteed to entertain you. As for the older crowd, it’s going to be a shallow experience, but playing it with your little one might just be worth the price of admission.
This review is based on the Playstation 3 version of the game, which we were provided with.