PAC-MAN MUSEUM+ Review
To celebrate PAC-MAN’s 42nd anniversary – which is kind of an odd anniversary to celebrate – Bandai Namco is releasing a “new” PAC-MAN compilation entitled PAC-MAN MUSEUM+. In truth, this compilation is a sort of sequel/remake to PAC-MAN MUSEUM (2014). In fact, it features all the same games as PAC-MAN MUSEUM, minus Ms. PAC-MAN, but adds 5 additional titles to the mix, bringing the compilation total to 14 PAC-MAN titles. Is your gaming library ready for yet another PAC-MAN compilation?
My Very Own PAC-MAN Arcade
The moment you boot up PAC-MAN MUSEUM+, you’ll appear as PAC-MAN in a pre-made arcade with a handful of PAC-MAN arcade units strewn around. This is your new arcade and you’ll be able to customize it with a variety of different decorations, figures, wallpapers and more that you’ll earn in a variety of ways such as the in-game Gashapon machine. The game features only 8 different arcade cabinets. One for each game, with the exception of the “Free Content Cabinet,” which features 7 different PAC-MAN games. It’s odd to me that they wouldn’t just make a cabinet for each game. Customizing your own PAC-MAN arcade is a nice addition, but really doesn’t add much to the overall package. The bulk of the gameplay will come from the 14 different PAC-MAN games you’ll be able to play.
PAC-MAN is best known for his iconic first game, where he’ll “waka waka” around a maze, eating pellets while being pursued by ghosts. Over the past 42 years, PAC-MAN appears in dozens and dozens of different titles spanning a whole variety of genres; some of which are represented in this collection. There are five games included here that haven’t been included in previous PAC-MAN compilations, which could be a huge factor for PAC-MAN fans looking for new means of playing older games they might have grown up playing.
While I was playing through this collection, I recognized the vast majority of these games, having either played them on original hardware or via a previous compilation. There were a few that were new to me, but none of them were particularly noteworthy. In order to play all the PAC-MAN games, some will need to be unlocked – and this is usually accomplished by playing a different PAC-MAN game a couple of times. Each locked game clearly states the unlocking criteria and it really doesn’t take too long.
PAC at His Best (and Worst)
In my opinion, the highlights of this compilation include PAC-MAN, PAC-MANIA, PAC-MAN 256, and PAC-MAN CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION. All of these are variations of the standard PAC-MAN concept, which really proves that he’s mostly a one-trick pony. With that said, I do have a soft spot for PAC-ATTACK. It’s a puzzle-like game that reminds me a bit of Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. Two games I’ve never played before, PAC-IN-TIME and PAC ‘N ROLL REMIX, both suffer from very awkward controls.
PAC-LAND, which I had played before, is a bizarre side-scroller with an aesthetic that looks as though a child drew everything. All of the included games feature Missions accessed from the in-game menu. These Missions range from how many ghosts you’ve killed to how high of a score you can achieve. They offer players some seemingly attainable challenges to really encourage replaying these games. But some missions will likely forever be beyond my grasp.
It’s worth noting that Ms. PAC-MAN was originally available as DLC for PAC-MAN MUSEUM but is not available in PAC-MAN MUSEUM+. All references to Ms. PAC-MAN were scrubbed from included titles. No reason has been given but is likely due to an ongoing legal dispute regarding Ms. PAC-MAN.
The bulk of my time with PAC-MAN MUSEUM+ was an enjoyable stroll through memory lane, mixed with an opportunity to try some PAC-MAN titles I missed over the past 40+ years. There was one glaring issue that really frustrated me. I booted the game up this morning for a quick replay prior to completing this review and all of my in-game progress was reset. All the items I unlocked from the Gashapon machine, my customized arcade, the game unlocks and all my Mission progress.
While we’re only talking about a week’s worth of progress, it’s still a massive hassle and I fear that it could happen again. There is no way to manually save this game either. It’s handled 100% via autosaves – which I’ve seen pop up numerous times over the week. Consider this a warning that it could happen to you and hopefully, Bandai Namco is working on a patch to avoid this from ruining someone else’s progress.
PAC-MAN MUSEUM+ is yet another compilation of PAC-MAN titles, most of which fans have probably played before or purchased in previous compilations. It’s not a bad mix of games, and it was a fun way to show my kids these classic PAC-MAN games. However, I still feel like this was ultimately a cash-in for PAC-MAN’s 42nd anniversary. I would hope we’ll see a better, more complete collection on his 45th or 50th anniversary. I’d love to see some PAC-MAN World Rally, the PAC-MAN World games, and PAC-MAN Vs. all included in a future compilation. For now, if you’re new to PAC-MAN, this is a great entry point. If you’re a die-hard fan, there might be a couple of PAC-MAN titles on here that you’ve been jonesing to play. For the casual fan, you’re probably better off sticking with a previous compilation you likely already own.
***PAC-MAN MUSEUM+ Xbox key provided by the publisher.***
- Some of PAC-MAN’s best games like PAC-MANIA
- Designing the PAC-MAN arcade is neat
- Beware! Game resetting glitch!
- Some games have awful controls