Pac-Man will forever hold a dear place in my heart. Starting as an arcade game made out of simple blocks, the franchise has gone through many iterations — including one with an annoying 3D kid with a serious food addiction (Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, I’m talking to you). However, it wasn’t until the recent installments of the game when I really became impressed.
2007’s Pac-Man Championship Edition DX took the traditional Pac-Man maze to a new level. Now, ten years later, Bandai Namco is back with another edition, which makes the mazes of the past look like a 2-year old’s hand-drawing.
Championship Edition 2 is a wonderful dose of fun-filled chaos, insanity, and high-energy. It starts off simple enough with a tutorial I thought I wouldn’t need. It’s Pac-Man after all, how hard can it be? It is here where the tutorial will laugh in your face at your ignorance and drag your soul through the “game-over” mud if you decided to ignore this option. I learned this the hard way. Use and study the tutorial. Yes, Pac-Man eats pellets (he will always eat pellets) but this isn’t just a game of pellet gluttony.
The game features new rules and freedoms which allows players to be more creative with how they’ll tackle a level. Players will have the option to agitate ghosts by bumping into them (a total of three times) before they become Hulk-angry and start attacking and chasing them around in speeds similar to Usain Bolt. There are also levels where it’ll start raining ghost, keeping players on their toes. My personal favorite is the giant ghost that exists only to distract you by throwing pellets and other items into the maze in hopes of inducing heart attacks in people. It’s clearly there to ruin your inner peace, much like most people.
In addition to assaulting, chasing, running away from and eating ghosts and berries, there are numerous obstacles players must tackle in order to clear a level. There are springboards that must be used in specific order so they can launch players and ghosts into the next level.
The game is chaotic and at times overwhelming, but as I kept playing, things got easier and I found myself naturally falling into my own groove. The controls became easier to handle and I found myself looking less at them in hopes of matching combinations accurately. As a result, the rules and goals, while crazy, became second nature. I was a zen master.
As I started to become less tense, I noticed just how visually beautiful the game is in both the design and creativity. Never once was there a boring maze or level. The game reaches heights of creativity when the mazes gradually become crazier, yet it never becomes too nonsensical. There are additions I never thought of adding in a Pac-Man game. Ghosts can be eaten backwards in massive rapid chains that explode into colorful 3D confetti once completed. The springboards, for example, help to build anticipation on not only where Pac-Man will land but what will be waiting on the other side.
The bright crisp discothèque-like colors are beautiful and compliment the randomness of the game and come to life during the 3D moments. As the music pulses throughout the game, colors of purple, yellow, pinks, blues, and red fill the screen, creating a dance of images in the form of ghosts, fruits, pellets and other items. The option of choosing maze designs makes for less repetition and a better quality game.
This new installment is addictive, the kind of addiction where even if you’re strung out, you’ll beg for more. Unlimited gameplay, multiple levels and mind-trippy graphics, it is the definition of fun and pure excitement.
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 will release on September 13th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC for $13.
To see more screenshots check the gallery below.