If you’re anything like me, when you see the title Pacman Championship Edition 2, your first thought is, they are still making Pacman games?
If so then the short answer is yes, and they have come a lot further than you might expect.
Pacman Championship Edition 2, for someone who hasn’t touched the series since the many originals, is an absolute fast paced, dot chomping energy fest. The sounds, the lights, and the pace does get the heart pumping, and it’s so much better than I could have expected.
The general gist of Pacman is the same, you need to move around the map, eat the dots, don’t get caught by the ghosts. But it’s everything else they do that not only uses elements of the old games but reuses them in a way that makes things different.
For instance, the fruit used to pop onto the maze for no reason but to give you extra points, now they are a portal. Once you complete an objective, the fruit pops up and eating it moves you to the next stage. The maze is littered with stationary ghosts you need to avoid, which add to a ghost’s tail.
This creates a weird Pacman fused with Snake vibe. As the ghost gets longer and takes up more space, you can find yourself getting stuck in corners as the tail is covering your exit. The game gives a little room to breathe in these situations as not every hit is instant death, which is a strange departure from Pacman, but makes these scenarios easier.
The other real notable addition is the use of jump mechanic. You get limited jumps, but in single player it returns you to your starting point, which is a lifesaver if you are trapped, or running out of time. But in Co-op it lets you jump to your partner, to free them when they are being captured by a ghost.
Boss fights vary between two options. The first is more maze running action, with a boss under the ground causing chaos, but the second is where it is at its best. The game pits you against a giant ghost, and you need to crawl across the walls, colleting dots, then eventually power-up so you can jump at the ghost doing damage. It’s a weird mode that fuses Pacman, with a quirky indie platformer.
This is the general feel of the whole game, like an indie team that was in love with Pacman decided to make a quirky reimagining, which at times is a bit average, but overall, is surprisingly fun. You start off moving super slow, but as the Levels ramp up, so does the pace, and so will your heart rate.
The music is like 80’s arcade sounds after taking a bunch of caffeine pills. This adds to the vibe that the game presents, with an 80s feel, intensified by bright neon colours. It feels like a game the 80’s wishes it could have made. Then it sprinkles others like 3D Pacman, to throw you off.
Co-op has you and a team mate working together, though one player won’t be able to carry the whole team. Once all the dots have been collected, you then must meet each other to move to the next Level. So, if one player is out of sync, then the whole thing becomes harder. It also introduces being trapped by ghosts. Rather than having a ghost knock one of you out, you get trapped, with a timer bar dropping down. The other player needs to get to you and hit the ghost a few times to release them, using a bomb instantly, but those are limited.
The multiplayer on the Switch is a real winner, being able to take advantage of the consoles push for local co-op. I can almost recommend the game on the back of that, but the single player is still easily worth your time. With a style and energy that makes it a lot of fun to test your hearts ability to deal with stress, and being the perfect size to pick up and put down, it is an excellent addition to the Switch.
Released: February 2018
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Genre: Puzzle, Arcade