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Posted October 6, 2014 by Peter in Previews
 
 

Hands-on: Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 logo
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 logo

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 shows its roots in Saturday cartoons – the hero idealistically wants a better world, the villain shows evil to be silly more than scary, and friendship provides our hero with strength and support. I am probably three decades too cynical for a message like this, yet at a recent hands-on hosted by Bandai Namco found myself to be quite enjoying the whole affair.

Pac – here the son of Pac-Man of ’1980 arcade cabinet’ fame – lives in Pacopolis, goes to high school and regularly saves the city from ghosts led by the villainous Lord Betrayus. He also has a reputation for eating a lot of things – which is useful, as this is how he keeps the ghosts under control in game.

We’re looking at 3D platformer territory here – often following paths formed of pellets, although some exploration can reveal secrets hidden away. As play progresses, Pac can also discover alternate appearences with distinct skills too – by default he can scare ghosts when charged up, giving bonus points when chomping into them, although in the play time given an alternate ability to freeze enemies (and scenery) in ice was also found, and others – such as a fiery version – are clearly available in levels to come.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 screen
The city of Pacopolis is bright and colourful, even when marauding ghosts are scaring the citizens – although they likely won’t scare players of any age. Similarly, the regular platforming and puzzling elements are rather forgiving, and clearly not aimed at an audience worried about any hardcore gaming credentials. Given the source material, you’d think this is to be expected. But arguably there is more to it than this.

After the recent EGX London show, there was some discussion of just how focused gaming has become on more mature titles – just as the average age of gamers grows, so too does the focus of the average game it seems. And here, we instead have a game that is encouraging younger players to get involved, scaling the challenge back to something enjoyable rather than punishing, and is generally looking after what is becoming a neglected demographic.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 screen
It’s also doing it rather well. Having spent the last three decades doing all the immature things offered in mature titles – usually involving varying levels of violence and gore – I am undoubtedly not the target audience here. Yet despite the simpler challenge that comes with some platforming experience, I could not escape a sense of enjoyment in my admittedly limited time running around the levels, chomping at scenery and scaring ghosts. Some of it might be nostalgia, some the fun of exploration, but a fair part of it is also the pleasure of playing.

If you’re a games playing parent – and I know there are a lot out there, not least among the Games Fiends team – and worrying about something suitable for the young’uns to play too, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 might well be worth a look.

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is available now for the Wii U, 3DS, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.


Peter

 
Peter can be described as an old, hairy gamer, a survivor of the console wars of the 1990s, and a part-time MMO addict. He has an especial fondness for retro gaming and observing the progressions in long running gaming series. When scandalously not caught gaming, he can also be found reading comics and fantasy fiction, or practising terrible photography.