Pac-Man Museum+, which is out now for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, is the biggest collection to date of Pac-Man titles. Is it an essential purchase though? We checked out the PS4 version to find out.
Videogame compilations and Pac-Man go together very well – the iconic character has appeared in many collections and bundles over the years, and we’ve even had a Pac-Man Museum release already. Launched back in 2014 for the X360/PS3 generation, this new “plus” is an expanded release of that collection that features nearly all of the same content – though without Ms.Pac-Man in any of the games, and with a few additional games and versions for a total of 14 Pac-Man games.
What’s also nice is that Bandai Namco added an interactive arcade/museum to help you navigate between the games, which are represented as arcade cabinets (even though some of the games are actually console/handheld titles instead). Having your own little arcade is a fun retro touch though, especially because you can reconfigure how it looks by swapping machines around, decorating the environment and walk around in it. You’ll probably eventually stick with a set look, but it’s way more fun to play around with than a standard menu.
The games themselves span many decades of Pac-Man titles, starting of course with the arcade original and with Pac-Man 256 as the most recent addition – a favorite of ours on the PlayStation 4 that has lost none of its charm, especially in local multiplayer. And with 14 games in total, there’s a wide selection here, with some bizarre choices as well as a few real gems – spread across a good amount of different videogame genres.
Pac-Land and Pac-in-Time were early attempts at applying platformer mechanics to Pac-Man, but they’re certainly not among the best examples of their genre and it’s a shame that more recent games like the two Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures titles weren’t included – both of which are decent platformers and hard to access on today’s consoles. Other games in the collection, like arcade puzzler Pac-Attack and Pac-Man Battle Royale, have aged much better thanks to some timeless design, so there’s still plenty to choose from.
There’s a catch to being able to choose what you want to play though, as not all games are immediately unlocked. You start out with a couple of them, and playing them gradually unlocks the rest – which seems like a baffling choice because of the different gameplay styles on offer here, as some players will be forced to play games they have little interest in to get to their favorites. On the plus side, you don’t have to reach some kind of insane high score to get there as simply playing will suffice, but it would have been better to include other kinds of extras behind a wall than the games themselves.
Not to say that that isn’t an option here either – playing earns you coins, and you can use those to decorate your arcade (or simply to play more games). Coins are generously awarded too, so you won’t find yourself wandering around your arcade wishing you had a quarter to spend.
With a charming presentation and a wide selection of games to play, this is easily the best Pac-Man collection yet – even though it’s not a selection of the 14 best games out there. Some of the better ones are included though, as are a lot of the classics, so unless you already own the bulk of them, this is well worth checking out for Pac-Man fans.
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