Namco Museum (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 29.07.2017 2

Review for Namco Museum on Nintendo Switch

In an age where home consoles are not only more affordable, but more accepted as a part of home's living space, arcades have started to lose their place in the Western market. They were once ways to circumvent the luxuries of owning a personal console, but now serve as a reminder of a generation gone. While arcades still exist in the occasional shopping centres or movie theatres, they seldom get the same grand attention they used to. That said, arcade philosophies still live on through many developers. Namco, specifically, has been keeping the coin-op spirit alive for years, and Namco Museum is ready to rekindle an old-school love for a brand new generation.

A compilation's biggest drawback tends to be a lack of features, or reason to purchase it in the first place. Namco is no stranger to en masse re-releases, so its collections need to offer something new, whether that be a new selection of games or gimmicks to keep things fresh.

Namco Museum might not include any new gimmicks or killer apps to justify its existence, but the sheer amount of options available for each entry does stand out as an incredibly welcome addition. A screen rotation allows an undocked Switch to cleverly resemble an arcade cabinet, and save states circumvent any arcade fatigue, which comes in especially handy for titles like Rolling Thunder and Splatterhouse.

Screenshot for Namco Museum on Nintendo Switch

Suspended data also exists for the sake of jumping between games on the fly. It's a minor feature, but it's one that promotes variable play without the risk of losing any data.

Tower of Druaga makes hints readily available, negating its often cryptic nature without compromising the original design, and both Galaga titles, along with Sky Kid, allow for auto fire, making play-throughs much smoother.

Every game has its own unique challenge added to it for replayability purposes. Most only revolve around completing a specific task under a time limit, but their inclusion is a nice bonus for anyone seeking focused variations of old classics.

Screenshot for Namco Museum on Nintendo Switch

Leaderboards are also present, ensuring that Namco Museum covers all the arcade basics and inspiring some friendly sportsmanship.

Credits can be added mid-game, which stands out as perhaps the best feature available. Each title retains its original difficulty, but safety nets can be added with the press of a button, giving the whole collection a deeper connection to the original arcade experience.

Despite all the quality of life features Namco has managed pack into Namco Museum, a lack of online multiplayer for Pac-Man Vs. feels like a massive oversight. It's worth noting that the original GameCube release of Vs. lacked online, as well (relying instead on Game Boy Advance systems hooked up to a GameCube), but since Namco managed to make additions to each title in the collection, that hardly feels like an excuse.

Screenshot for Namco Museum on Nintendo Switch

The absence of online multiplayer is especially disappointing because Pac-Man Vs. is perhaps the most interesting and unique entry in the entire collection, pitting Pac-Man against playable ghosts. Local multiplayer is still available through a downloadable app that can be grabbed off the eShop specifically for this, but it hardly feels worth it. Thankfully, Dig Dug and Tank Force both allow local multiplayer and make up for online's sore spot.

Pac-Man Vs.'s treatment is really the only mis-step in the collection, as just about everything else plays perfectly and accurately replicates that old-school arcade atmosphere. Most compilations are higher resolution remasters at best, and superficial ports at worst, but Namco Museum goes above and beyond to bring the arcade home.

Screenshot for Namco Museum on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Namco Museum doesn't have a new hidden gem to offer or gimmicks to reinvent classic titles, but what it does offer is an experience that brings the arcade home. Quality of life features like save states and hints have been added to negate archaic design frustrations, and an option to rotate the screen to look like an arcade cabinet is an ingenious addition bursting with charm. Pac-Man Vs.'s lack of online does stand out as a disappointment, but the collection's roster is strong enough to make up for it. With so many unique ways to interact with the Nintendo Switch, the arcade hasn't felt this alive in years.

Developer

Bandai Namco

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Action

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I wonder if that will be patched down the line. The requirement of two people with Switch systems meeting up at the moment is too restrictive and puts me off. I'd love to play Pac-Man Vs. online, definitely.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

To be honest I do worry about Nintendo's online service. It's normally relatively barren (in previous gens) when it's free I can only imagine what it'll be like once people have to pay for it.

I think Namco didn't think it was worth the added effort to add in Online when maybe they know that not too many people will be taking advantage of it.

Still would have been a really nice addition though.

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