Pac-Man World Re-Pac Review

I've got Pac-Man fever, I'm going out of my mind!

by Shaun Cichacki

It seems that 2022 is the year to bring cult-classic platformers out from the vault, and back into the mainstream world. Starting the year with the announcement and release of the Klonoa Phantasy Reviere Seriesplayers got a chance to revisit two of the greatest PlayStation-era platforming titles of all time. However, the world was not prepared to hear that Pac-Man would be getting the same treatment.

While not being the most well-known title in his long and varied history, Pac-Man World became an almost instant cult classic, due to the yellow little guy getting his first 3D Platformer, and it being quite good, at that. While it didn’t have the legs to stand up against some of the stiffer competition at the time, fans have been clamoring for this title to get its second chance, and that time has finally come, in the form of Pac-Man World Re-Pac.

Is there enough here to satiate the hunger of the 3D Platforming crowd, or is this something meant purely for fans of the original game? There’s plenty to love in this adventure, and while our titular hero may stumble a few times on the way to the end, you’ll find that you’re in for a blast, no matter if you’ve never experienced this title before. Here are our thoughts on Pac-Man World Re-Pac, the little remaster that could.

The Pac Is Back

Pac-Man-World-Differences-1

Let’s start with a look at the story, or what bits there are of it. The long and short of it is this: Pac-Man is eager and excited to celebrate his Birthday, but it seems that someone has kidnapped everyone that he loves. It’s up to you to control gaming first mascot through thoughtfully designed levels and work towards getting your family back, right in time for your party. That’s about all there is to it, and it’s not going to win any awards for being the most thought-provoking story of our time, but it does enough to set the player up for what they are about to encounter.

You’ll find yourself navigating through 6 colorful worlds, all with their own unique theme, and this is where the newly remastered and recreated visuals shine through. The remastering process is lovingly handled by the team at Bandai Namco, and Pac-Man has never looked better. However, the worlds here steal the show, all featuring great texture work, creative designs that haven’t aged horribly by any means, and excellent optimization, so you’ll never encounter an issue with hiccups.

If you played through the original, you’ll immediately recognize all of your favorite characters, enemies, and bosses, looking so much better than they have before. From the excellent Boss designs to the environmental effects, it’s hard to believe that this was all done with Unity. This was obviously a labor of love, and rather than just polishing things up and calling it a day, they looked at areas that needed some fine-tuning, and made this the best way to play this classic platformer, and we can see the passion and care put in every step of the way.

Pac-Man moves and controls like a dream, with plenty of skills, that he’s able to utilize as he makes his way through the 23 levels on display. You’ll be able to jump, Butt-Bounce, and dash your way to victory, no matter where you find yourself. You’ll rarely feel that the way that Pac-Man controls could lead you tumbling to your doom, with one unfortunate design choice being the only bad decision that we could hold against this statement. Otherwise, you’ll have a blast taking Pac-Man through the inventive and creative worlds that lay waiting for you.

Speaking of things that make this the best way to play, there have even been a few new moves added to Pac-Mans repetiteur, including a Hover Jump that feels like it was lifted out of Klonoa, as well as an Easy Mode to allow gamers of all ages and skill levels to enjoy this romp through a retro wonderland. These small additions, alongside the other quality-of-life improvements that have been made, make this game play like a dream, but there are a few things that hold it back from achieving full greatness.

Wakka Wakka Wakka

Pac-Man-World-Re-Pac

While the new gameplay additions feel fresh and modern, there are some aspects of this game that keep it feeling dated like its 1999 counterpart. One of the biggest faults that this game has is the number of blind jumps that you’re going to need to take in specific levels, especially with the amount of backtracking that you’re going to be doing. While it’s forgivable if it happens once or twice, there are more times than you can imagine that you’ll need to rely on blind faith rather than skill to hopefully make it to your destination.

Another spot that this game can be a bit grating is in its sound design. The music in particular can become quite grating after some time, and while it’s fun to hear the Hub World remix of the classic Pac-Man Intermission music after you’ve heard it on repeat for about 3 hours total, it becomes almost mind-numbingly horrid to hear. Some of the stages that you will come across will feature newly mixed versions of their original songs, while others are still using source sound, which can result in this shining 4K beauty feeling cheap, due to horrible bitrate sounds coming through your speakers.

You’ll also find that hearing the same enemy wails and wallops can grow tiresome after some time, leading you diving to turn down your television set, rather than crank it up. And the removal of the standard dialog, only to be replaced with a new gibberish language was a bit disappointing, to say the least. In the original PlayStation version of the game, you could feel the sinister intentions that Toc-Man, the main villain, has behind his comical quest, but in this version, that tone is lost completely when you hear a bunch of garbled speech come out of his impressive visage.

Fueled By Power-Pellets

Toc-Man

One of the greatest achievements that this game can hold its own against many platformers of the time, and even some today, is the sheer inventiveness of its boss battles. Easily one of the best parts of the game, you’ll find yourself squaring off against a squad of goons that look amazing, with great gimmicks that could honestly leave you scratching your head, trying to find out how to take them down. Having to partake in a Crash Bandicoot-Esque chase sequence before facing off in an intense match-up against Anubis Rex is something magical.

No two bosses feel the same, all with their own inventive worlds that have been built around them, allowing the developers of this game to go all out, be it if you’re racing against a bunch of clowns, or partaking in an intense match of Galaxian that feels like a Bullet-Hell, there is tons of charm to be had as you work your way toward these mechanical monsters, awful aliens, and scary statues. The variety is quite excellent, and the retooling of two bosses, in particular, are shining examples of how to do a remaster right.

And while the levels all have their own charm, with the fourth world, in particular, showcasing the visuals in a great light, there is a feeling of sameyness in the general scope of the levels. You’ll work your way from left to right, find fruit, and unlock doors, with the occasional bit of spice thrown in. While this is something that was addressed in the later sequels, it’s a shame that some of those tips couldn’t have made their way into this title, but then again, it wouldn’t have been the same game that gamers grew to love back in the day if the developers did change something like that.

The Verdict

It’s easy to understand why the fans have wanted a remaster of this game for as long as they have. Something is extremely enduring about seeing a character like Pac-Man slam down on enemies, collect different tokens and fruits, and proceed through crazy carnivals to save his family. With some dated design choices that hold it back from being the best that it could be, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But, for those that have been waiting, this is like the ultimate form of comfort food, getting something that they love, to bring them back to a specific time and place that gives them their best memories.

This isn’t going to be a game to change the world by any means, and it may not even be a game on most players’ radars, but if you’re looking for the perfect title to lose yourself in for a weekend or something to introduce a younger gamer or significant other to 3D platformers, you can’t go wrong with this title. Throw on the Easy Mode, and watch them lose themselves, as well as a few hours of their life, in this enjoyable retro platformer game, and get ready to aim for the high score.

This game was reviewed using a copy of the game provided by the game's publisher,public relations company, developer or other for the express purpose of a review.

- This article was updated on September 6th, 2022

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PAC-MAN WORLD Re-PAC

  • Score: 3.5 / 5
  • Available On: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch
  • Published By: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Developed By: NOW PRODUCTION
  • Genre: Platformer
  • US Release Date: August 25, 2022
  • Reviewed On: PlayStation 5
  • Quote: "With some dated design choices that hold it back from being the best that it could be, it may not be everyone's cup of tea. But, for those that have been waiting, this is like the ultimate form of comfort food, getting something that they love, to bring them back to a specific time and place that gives them their best memories."
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