I don’t hide my love of retro games. But, even I have a limit! In 2014, a Pac-Man compilation was released that made me sigh. Now, there is nothing wrong with the games, per se. However, with no evolution, the action becomes stale very quickly. Consequently, when Pac-Man Museum + landed on my desk, my eyes rolled. Now, I shouldn’t be so dismissive, but I couldn’t help it. Before it was installed, I knew exactly what to expect, and let’s just say, my expectations were met. Yet, I will address it professionally and dissect its pros and cons.
Developed by Now Production and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, this is a retro compilation of arcade titles. It captures the simple and repetitive nature of the gameplay while remaining competitive and fun. What’s more, like its predecessor, this packs in 14 Pac-Man games from the 80s to the modern era. So, will this ball-loving, fruit-munching, ghost-chasing machine still be relevant? I doubt it, but nostalgia is a strong force!
Pac-Man Museum + is familiar with a slight twist.
Though my disdain is obvious, I found plenty to enjoy. The 14 titles span an eclectic range of arcade, console, and handheld games. Subsequently, there is plenty of variety and some lesser-known experiences. You’ll play Pac-man from 1980 up to Pac-Man 256 from 2016. The games in between vary in style and popularity. I admit plenty of these odd titles have passed me by, but each of them was familiar. No matter the aim or genre, the core concept is the same. You must collect the yellow balls, eat fruit, and kill ghosts. Therefore, it is wonderfully retro and slightly kooky.
What I adored was the twist on the action. The game is set within a virtual arcade and every title is a playable machine. Alongside this, you can unlock statues and add decorations to your surroundings. This interesting approach adds some depth to an otherwise well-trodden experience.
Playing games, earning coins, and completing missions.
Picking your favourite title from the large list shouldn’t be difficult. However, many of them are locked and inaccessible until you complete certain missions. This could potentially frustrate many gamers and put people off. The reason I say this is that some of the choices are a little lame. Consequently, being forced to play something you’re not interested in is tiresome.
Luckily, though, most of the quests are easy to achieve and unlocking your favourite shouldn’t take too long. What’s more, if you successfully complete a mission, you’ll be awarded coins to spend on each game and many decorations. This was an element I enjoyed, as it gave me something to focus on. Without it, I would have become bored very quickly.
Pac-Man Museum + retains its charm.
Pac-Man Museum + does a great job of retaining its original charm. Furthermore, its central hub adds a unique element and some creative flair. There is also a nice modern touch with each reimagined character. Alongside this, the use of emulators ensures that the gameplay is smooth and trouble-free.
The authenticity continues with the original soundtrack. The upbeat and punchy music will bring a wry smile to your face. Moreover, the shrill noises and loud sounds capture nostalgic moments.
The controls should have been better.
When you are being chased by ghosts, leaping chasms, or evading capture, you want accurate controls. Sadly, Pac-Man Museum + fails abysmally! The controls are clunky, cumbersome, and annoying. Accordingly, you’ll die, scream, and die some more. It’ll make you want to rip your hair out and stop playing. It’s a shame, as it taints a classic experience.
In theory, there is plenty of longevity and replay value if you can stomach the shortcomings. Having played it in short bursts, I can honestly say that was enough. However, if you love the franchise, you’ll lap up its eclectic ways and strange titles.
Pac-Man Museum + wasn’t for me.
Ripping apart such an iconic game is a horrendous feeling. But, sadly, it has had its day in the sun. Subsequently, it should have stayed in the archives. It is with a heavy heart that I can’t recommend you to try it. Though, it is free on Game Pass if you fancy a go. Pac-Man Museum + should have been great, but disappointingly, it falls way short.