Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus Switch Review
I wasn’t a fan of Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 when it was initially released in 2016. I absolutely adored it’s 2010 predecessor, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, but felt the sequel made too many unnecessary changes to the “Championship” formula and amped up the difficulty far too much. With that said, when it was announced that a new “Plus” version was coming exclusively to the Nintendo Switch, I was immediately excited and optimistic. With the release of Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus, I figured Bandai Namco would undoubtedly include some much-needed, and much-requested, changes to Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 in addition to introducing the brand new co-op mode.
I was wrong.
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 featured our beloved Pac-Man in his more traditional, maze-navigating setting through a series of different modes. There are essentially two modes available; Score Attack and Adventure. Score Attack features a series of different courses where the goal is to simply get as high of a score as possible. Adventure mode features a series of courses that must be completed at various difficulty levels (Normal, Hard, and Pro) to earn stars that will eventually unlock epic boss fights against oversized ghosts. Bombs make their return from the original Pac-Man Championship, but this time they warp you to the course start (instead of clearing out ghosts). The visuals received a flashy upgrade, while still retaining a nostalgic look and the music was upbeat and catchy. The game’s difficulty was where Bandai Namco failed its Pac-Man fans. It’s not so bad in Score Attack, as you’re given five minutes to earns as high of a score as possible. In Adventure mode, the time provided can be mere seconds, forcing players to complete each maze damn near perfectly. Ultimately, Adventure mode is just far too frustrating to enjoy for anyone lacking lightning quick reflexes, and that’s a damn shame.
When you first start Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus, you’re given the option of choosing the original “Pac-Man Championship Edition 2” mode or the new “Plus” mode. Since it had been over a year since the original release on other consoles, surely Bandai Namco had listened to the feedback and made some much-needed adjustments to ensure every Pac-Man fan could enjoy this potentially awesome game – especially that overly-tough Adventure mode. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, as far as I can tell, not one change was made to Pac-Man Championship Edition 2. Clearly, Bandai Namco ignored the criticisms suggested by both gamers and reviewers alike.
Fortunately, the Nintendo Switch version introduces a new co-op “Plus” mode, which is available in two varieties; co-op with an AI controlled player or co-op with a human controlled player. Two things to note: it’s local co-op only and limited to only two players. Player one is the classic yellow Pac-Man and player two is a brand new blue Pac-Man. In this age of diversity, I’m surprised the second player wasn’t Ms. Pac-Man, but having the two distinct colors (yellow and blue) is definitely a blessing when the action gets hectic! In this mode, you’ll be able to choose between one of five different courses. Each course is timed and features a series of different mazes that eventually lead to a boss fight, however, you’ll be working together with a partner to collect each mazes pellets while avoiding ghosts. If your friend gets caught by a ghost, they’ll yell “help” until you hit the ghost and free your friend (to which, you’ll get a cute “thank you” from the freed Pac-Man). Needless to say, the co-op mode is incredibly fun to play. The only real downside is the actual amount of content; five courses and one “Boss Rush” level that’s unlocked upon meeting certain criteria is not nearly enough. Considering the base game has dozens of courses, it is very disappointing the developers skimped out on the content for this co-op mode. Huge missed opportunity.
“Needless to say, the co-op mode is incredibly fun to play.”
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus brings the challenging Pac-Man game to the Switch with a brand new, exclusive co-op mode. The original Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 mode features all the content from the original release in 2016. It would have been nice if the developers toned down the difficulty of the Adventure mode, Score Attack still is pretty fun to play. The new co-op mode is incredibly fun and just proves that two-player Pac-Man should be a mandatory option for all future Pac-Man releases. It is disappointing that the co-op mode is limited to only five levels and an unlockable “Boss Rush” mode. If you owned the original Pac-Man Championship Edition 2, there really isn’t a lot of new content here to warrant a purchase – unless you really need that new co-op mode. Just keep in mind, the co-op mode is quite limited and won’t offer more than a couple hours of enjoyment. One final note, the Switch version does provide the added benefit of being playable in portable mode, and that’s a huge plus for traveling Pac-Man fans.
***Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus key provided by publisher***
- Co-op mode is excellent
- Nostalgic, yet fresh visuals
- Score Attack is pretty fun
- Adventure mode is still too difficult
- Co-op mode is short on content