I got Pac-Man fever all over again.
I was a huge fan of Pac-Man Championship Edition and the DX version a few years ago. I actually 100%’ed both games; I was that obsessed. I’ve been playing Pac-Man since the arcades and it has always stuck with me. Such a simplistic formula that was fun as well as challenging to master. Now, after a few years of waiting, I finally get my hands on Pac-Man Championship Edition II, and guess what? I’m addicted once again.
Pac-Man Championship Edition II (PMCE2) is set in the same vein as all the other old school Pac-Man games. Players control Pac-Man as he runs around set mazes eating pellets while trying to avoid ghosts. Eating a power pellet will make the ghosts edible and Pac-Man can eat them for some high scoring points. Simple stuff, really. While Championship Edition 1 made the game flashy, fast and fun, PMCE2 changes the game up in many regards.
Platforms: PC, PS4, XB1
Price I’d pay: $12.99
In PMCE2, Pac-Man eats pellets to fill up a bar at the bottom of the screen. Filling up the bar will make a fruit or power pellet appear. Eating that fruit will move Pac-Man to the next level immediately. No longer will players have to eat all the pellets in the maze to move on. If the bar fills and it is a power pellet, the ghosts become vulnerable and Pac-Man can eat them up before moving on to the next stage increasing their score with every ghost gobbled up. This can get massive in a few ways.
The first way is the fact that smaller ghosts lay around the maze that Pac-Man will wake up if he gets close to them. They then immediately run to the larger ghosts and form a long line that travel around the maze. This may make players of original Pac-Man think “but if there’s a long congo line of ghosts, how can Pac-Man maneuver around the maze?” Well, another new addition to PMCE2 is the fact that when Pac-Man runs into a ghost, it doesn’t automatically kill him. Bumping into ghosts three times in fast succession will pop the ghost into the air and when they land will become “aggressive.” This means they can now kill Pac-Man with a single touch and are now actively chasing him around the maze. After a few seconds, they will go back to their original state and Pac-Man can bump into them again. This actually adds a lot of strategy to the game. If a ghost was blocking my way, I could deliberately make it aggressive just to pop it into the air for a split second so I could run under it to the other side of the maze.
Another new trick added to PMCE2 is the use of bombs. This will actually take Pac-Man back to the center of the map where he first began the stage. This is useful for finishing the stage quickly since when filling up the bar to make the fruit appear, since the fruit always appears at the center. So, eat enough pellets to fill the bar, make the fruit appear, use a bomb to warp back to the center, then eat the fruit to move to the next stage. Since all games are timed, this is the most efficient way to get high scores without losing a lot of time running to the fruit.
When hitting a power pellet with that giant line of ghosts chasing after Pac-Man, the player can then turn the tables on the ghosts and gobble the entire chain of them up in an impressive chain that will get the player some great points added to their score. I need to stress it, it is SO satisfying to eat a huge chain of ghosts. Pac-Man will eat the chain all the way into the air in a fast, flashy cinematic cut scene that really feels awesome at times.
There are a few modes in the game, all with their own objectives. While most focus on the player seeing how far they can get and how high of a score they can obtain in an allotted time, there is an “adventure mode” that offers up challenges added to the Pac-Man formula. All of these are usually locked behind a score wall that can easily be unlocked by a single play of a certain map or mode. It adds some nice progression that makes me feel like I’m getting something new well into the five hour mark, and when you actually think about it, five hours of Pac-Man is a lot.
The music is remixed once again, with added extra techno beats that fit well with the fast moving game as well as make them so catchy. I’m humming them right now as I’m writing this. The visuals are bright and colorful and really pop, especially with a lot of things happening on screen.
If there was one thing I had to mention that could very well be a detriment to the experience is that when there are a lot of things occurring on screen, it really can be difficult to see what is going on. The game will get fast with Pac-Man taking less than three seconds to go clear across the maze and with multiple chains of ghosts running around along with the pulsing colors, I found myself getting lost on screen a few times. Even then, just seeing what was happening was a spectacle.
Pac-Man Championship Edition II is a really fun game. It changes up the formula enough to keep things feeling fresh, its look and feel is fantastic, and the overall package will keep fans playing for hours on end. It really is a sequel worth the Pac-Man name, and I for one absolutely love it. I think many of you will as well, and I highly suggest giving it a shot.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.