Namco Museum Review
Namco Museum on Nintendo Switch is not going to blow any minds. I can play all of these games in other packages on countless other consoles. The Switch gives me the ability to play them wherever I want, but does the added mobility give this package a boost over other more grounded offerings? Yes, it does, and Museum doesn’t take long to prove it.
This is a compilation of games that has true universal appeal, both because of the selection and the aforementioned portable potential. Every game is presented with beautifully upscaled graphics that really pop off of the Switch’s screen. The older games are presented in traditional 4:3 aspect with colorful art surrounding the frame. The art is a nice touch, but also can be a distraction. Rolling Thunder 2‘s difficulty rises with a nearly naked lady staring at me. The 4:3 aspect isn’t always perfect, as Pac-Man gets squished and distorted. When the anchor of the collection gets messed up, the whole package suffers.
“This was a fun little jaunt down memory lane, but it’s really nothing more than another Namco collection in new digs.”
The JoyCons do a fine job both on their own and attached to the console. Button layouts are easy to figure out, but the controls are always on-screen as a reminder. Switching between games takes only a few button presses, and Museum will even save each game’s progress. Obviously the save points help more in a longer game like Splatterhouse, but having them available definitely helps. Tank Force doesn’t intimidate me as much when I can save after each level.
Pac-Man VS, the previously Gamecube-exclusive multiplayer game, is a major highlight. VS puts me in control of one of the enemy ghosts as they race to catch Pac-Man. The ghost that catches Pac-Man becomes him, the view changed to the original game format. Points are earned throughout each stage, and the first ghost to reach the target threshold wins.
I completely missed Pac-Man VS on the GameCube, so I’m glad Namco Museum gave me a second chance. It’s a cool twist on the classic Pac-Man format, focusing on the ghosts instead of the titular character. It’s neat how the camera is condensed so I cannot see the whole stage, making me rely on the trail of light behind Pac-Man. I also like how if I pick up the level fruit the camera will zoom out temporarily, making the trip to the fruit worth it. Another multiplayer mode would have been nice and kept me playing, but Pac-Man VS is still fun enough to be a solid inclusion.
Namco Museum is another way to play some older games from yesteryear, but the Switch is a suitable host. Most of these games translate well to the Switch, the improved graphics exploding with color. Playing in 4:3 suits some games better than others, so it’s not a perfect fit. The JoyCons are a great control tool, even if a few games struggle (I’m looking at you Sky Kid, you menace) on the Switch. This was a fun little jaunt down memory lane, but it’s really nothing more than another Namco collection in new digs.
*** Switch code provided by the publisher ***
- Classic games on the go
- Upscaled graphics
- Pac-Man VS a fun addition
- Frame art sometimes distracting,
- 4:3 aspect ratio affects some games negatively
- Literally just a collection of games, no extras