Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 harks back to the original Pac-Man video game, which was the Angry Birds of the early 1980s, with licensed merchandise just about everywhere. There were Pac-Man shirts, pajamas, bedding sets, and toys and there was even a Top 40 song about the video game. Of course that was over 30 years ago, and like all pop culture fads, within a few years, Pac-Man was old news.
In 2013 Bandai Namco teamed up with the Disney Channel to reboot the character in a new cartoon series. Of course a new cartoon series means a video game spinoff too and last year Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures was released. Just in time for the 2014 holiday season, Namco has released a sequel, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 mostly improves on last year’s 3D platformer release, taking what worked before, reworking it and adding some polish. Ghostly Adventures 2 isn’t nearly as stark-looking as the original. While the first game resembled the computer-animated series, the new game feels much more immersive. The adventure takes Pac to outer space and back through time to a prehistoric world, as he protects Pacworld from the evil Betrayus. The cast of characters has also been increased, and Pac’s friends Cylindra and Spiral are now playable characters, though only on designated flying levels.
The central hub for Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is an area called the Pac Park. From here, Pac-Man can visit various locations, like the school, the President’s residence, and the Tree of Life. A few more of the series’ characters make appearances this time around too. Though Pac Park is a 3D environment, the actual world map is a 2D board. Scattered throughout the world map, there are tutorial levels that can help you master some of those power-ups and the platforming mechanics. Strangely some of these levels were only accessible once the related main story level was already completed.
Pac-Man has a pretty limited basic move set in Ghostly Adventures 2. He can jump, chomp, scare and that’s about it. Once he gets a power-up, though, whole new sets of moves are opened up. There’s Ice Pac, Fire Pac, Metal Pac, Chameleon Pac, Paczilla, and even a PacKong power-up that imbues Pac-Man with the strength of a gorilla.
Some of these transformations work better than others, though. Manipulating Metal Pac’s magnetism powers proved problematic for this reviewer. So much so, that I wondered if younger gamers would be able to master the levels or be able to handle other difficulty spikes.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is no Super Mario 3D World, and it is only available on last-gen consoles and the Wii U. While I guess there would be less competition if it were ported to the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, the expectations might even be higher.
Compared to most of the licensed games marketed for children, Ghostly Adventures 2 is actually pretty good. It just doesn’t compare favorably to Nintendo’s first-party offerings or those of other big players like the Lego games. As long as you don’t mind helping every once in a while, Ghostly Adventures 2 would make a nice gift for younger gamers.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Cartoon Violence. This game can also be found on: Nintendo Wii U, and Playstation 3.