What is the point of the Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures series? That was the main prevailing thought as I traipsed through the clean yet ugly world of its videogame tie-in. I don’t know whether those behind this abominable creation are comforting themselves with white lies or not, but the truth of the matter is that this game – and indeed the television show that birthed this unholy creature – is something that need not exist.
This sentiment is one keenly felt almost from the off, but truly understand, the further into the Ghostly Adventures game you need to go. The game has the kind of definitive shine you’d expect from something packaged as a modern ‘family entertainment’ cartoon, yet the polish is surface-layer and not long-lasting. To put it bluntly, taking control of Pac-Man in Ghostly Adventures is like trying to play football with no shoes on: perfectly doable but the longer you play, the more it hurts.
Pac-World is under siege by ghosts, would you believe and your job as the cocksure gobbler Pac-Man is to, surprise surprise, gobble them up. Instead of gliding around small mazes, you dash around in red shoes through a whole bunch of copy-paste places jumping over obstacles, eating ghosts and food, and transforming into different superpowered variations of Pac-Man that become increasingly harder to control.
Your powers start off as being fairly basic expansions of standard Pac-Man, with each power introduced inevitably becoming critical to progressing through levels. You start by being able to shoot fireballs and icicles at enemies, before progressing towards transforming into the likes of a giant, awkward boulder and a balloon version of Pac-Man that is an immensely frustrating power to master.
Finishing levels rewards you with big pieces of fruit which can be collected to play arcade machines in the level select ‘menu’ that house boring minigames. If you want to collect everything available in the game, you’ll have to play through most levels twice to earn the tokens at the end the second time through. The ‘menu’ is Pac-Man’s school in the show, where you can explore a handful of rooms and interact with characters that have little or nothing of note to say or do.
Leave The Pac Behind
Awful voice acting and irritating characters perpetually spouting the same cheesy lines relentlessly make up the bulk of the storytelling. Any character relationships involved are a mute point, in fact ‘mute’ is the best option if you’ve the willpower to persevere. Sadly, the overarching story is flimsy, with no salvation to be found in any semblance of an engaging narrative. Pac-Man’s backstory in the show sounds on paper at least to be slightly more interesting than the non-existent one presented to you in the game…
The one saving grace in Ghostly Adventures is ironically to be found in its otherwise barren multiplayer content. The ability to play as the ghosts chasing Pac-Man is an intermittently fun refrain from the overwhelming levels of tedium the ‘campaign’ proffers. The game couldn’t be recommended for this aspect alone, but I suppose if you were to find yourself strapped to a chair and forced to play this game, playing multiplayer with your captives would be the lesser of two evils.
Pac-Man and The Ghostly Adventures is a torturous affair which persists in providing zero merit to videogaming. The game’s styled for children and marketed as something for the whole family to enjoy, yet it seems unlikely that many families could sit down and collectively enjoy what Ghostly Adventures has to offer. This game is all but pointless, bordering on offensive to platforming fans.