PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 PLUS (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 06.03.2018

Review for PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 PLUS on Nintendo Switch

Before Mario, Pac-Man was the de-facto videogame icon. Namco's character was everywhere in the late '70s and early '80s and even had a cartoon show produced by Hanna-Barbara. There seems to be no end to the enduring popularity of Pac-Man. The games have a simple, yet addictive premise of navigating an overhead maze, eating every pill or pellet on the stage, while avoiding or devouring the ghosts; Pinky, Inky, Blinky, Clyde, and Sue. There has been countless of variations on the formula and now with PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 PLUS on Switch, the frenetic chomping action is more than just a portable version... it's local co-op, too!

What makes Championship Edition 2 PLUS different from the standard Pac-Man formula? Pac-Man does not keel over and die after touching a ghost. The pellet addict is now capable of bumping into enemies a couple of times before they get really fed up and chase him down like a furious bounty hunter who wants him dead. The object is still to gobble up pills, but this time Pac-Man has to fill up a power-meter before he can go nuts and eat a ghost. The ghosts also can form enormous trains or snakes, which is something that really changes how a Pac-Man veteran will approach the action, since there aren't multiple ghosts to avoid - it is one really long one. This also applies to chasing down a ghost. Since Pac-Man can just bite into any piece or segment of the train, he must strategise and aim for the head ghost. Racking up high scores and waking up baby ghosts yields much longer snakes and, to balance that out, Pac-Man can get a power-up that lets him instantly warp to a safe spot, or he can use launching pads that take him to other parts of the maze.

Screenshot for PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 PLUS on Nintendo Switch

As if all these new and exciting rules weren't enough to contend with, Championship Edition 2 PLUS is a very fast moving game that explodes with lights of colour like an epileptic slot machine. It can almost feel like sensory overload and newcomers may find the simple modes bewildering, yet after a while everything just clicks and makes sense. PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 PLUS just may be a perfect and pure videogame, except that the frame-rate takes a hit on the Switch version. This isn't exactly Bayonetta 2 levels of demanding, yet Championship Edition 2 PLUS often struggles to maintain stability when landing a combo. The frame-rate drops pretty badly and in a game like this with such high speeds and sensitive controls, responsiveness is crucial. It isn't too uncommon for a game to be badly affected by these technical hiccups since they do happen frequently enough and are very distracting. Hopefully, this issue will be patched by Bandai Namco soon.

Bandai Namco could have easily dropped PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 PLUS in the eShop and called it a day but instead it put the effort to add local co-op. This addition adds a lot of life into what is already an extremely vibrant game with so many modes. The adventure mode is something that has to be played to be believed, reaching almost WarioWare levels of intensity. The various goals and rules thrown around and the speed the game plays, it is highly recommended that all players come equipped with their favourite energy drink or caffeinated carbonated beverage. There are even boss battles now... yeah, a Pac-Man with huge bosses. This isn't mom or pop's arcade game that they grew up with, it is so much more vicious and energetic. As the timer ticks down, it can often feel like disarming a bomb in a disco.

Screenshot for PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 PLUS on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 PLUS could have been the definitive version of an already almost perfect game. The damming frame-rate drops are bad enough to affect the game's playability and oftentimes lead to unfair losses. In spite of the technical shortcomings, though, those who manage to adapt or compensate for this unyieldingly flaw will still find that this is a wonderful version of an already beloved arcade classic. The music and sound effects are all distinctively very Pac-Man, but with a techno flair to it that gives it a bit of extra synth-crunch. Anyone who loves the arcade original will love this new take on it, but be warned that it does have some pretty bad chop and would be best to wait till it gets patched.

Developer

Bandai Namco

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

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   

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