If you have a child of a certain age and access to the Disney XD channel, the chances are you’ve come across Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventure cartoon. If you haven’t, you’ve done well to escape to this point. This then is the video game based on the TV show. It’s been out in America since last October but is now available in the UK.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventure is a 3D platform game that puts you in control of Pac-Man as he (and his chums) help protect Pac-World from the threat of Ghosts after the seal that locked up the Netherworld (and all the ghosts in it)was accidentally opened.
The mechanics of the game will be very familiar to any parent who had a Playstation 1 or a Sega Saturn in their youth- or even those younger parents who had the original Xbox for that matter- platforms are surrounded by a bottomless drop that will kill you if you fall off, each life had 3 hearts attached to it, meaning you can take 3 hits from the baddies before you die (unless you collect the health power ups of course) and there are different platform surfaces that respond differently when you come into contact with them. For example, in icy levels Pac-Man slides when he lands on the icy platforms.
Although the first few levels are deeply uninspiring, if you persist it does get more entertaining and prettier to look at. My biggest issue with the early levels are the sudden death drops off the edge of platforms. A lot of games, especially those aimed at younger players (and Pac-Man is rated 7+ for violence), now days eschew instant death by plummeting. It’s frustrating for younger kids and I must admit some of the bigger jumps that required a double tap or the light pulls that needed chomping saw me hopelessly plummet to my death on more than one occasion. And the first platformer I played was Manic Miner on the Spectrum!
There are also plenty of power ups that make things more exciting- Pac-Man can turn into an icy version, a fiery version or even some sort of robot or lizard. The game gradually introduces you to all the different power ups and how to use them so the learning curse is never to steep.
Still, the game is bright and cheerful and now available to buy. If you’ve got a kid who’s a fan of the series, you could do a lot worse than pick this up, just be prepared to help them through some of the trickier bits! The Xbox 360 version is out 7 March for £24.99. It’s also out on 3DS, Wii U, PS3 and PC.