Published on August 31st, 2022 | by Paul Stuart
Pac-Man World: Re-Pac PS5 Review
Summary: A nostalgia grab that's meant for kids at best, even as a budget title it's hard to recommend this clearly outdated platformer.
(Don't) Party Like It's 1999
A massive hit on the original PlayStation, Pac-Man World was a fun 1999 reimagination of our favorite yellow ghost gobbler in a 3D platformer space. Almost a quarter century later, the original Pac-Man World is back with some polished visuals, upgrades to user interface and minor tweaks.
Well, Pepperidge Farm may remember the good ol’ days of platformers…because this one didn’t age all that well. Or…perhaps it was always meant for kids to begin with, and we all just grew up…?! Either way, Pac-Man World: Re Pac sadly still looks and plays like a 1999 platformer, one that has its cute moments, but is simply too thin and flawed for anyone but younger audiences or Pac obsessives to find joy in. Crash Bandicoot, this is not.
The plot is very simple, in that Pac-Man must traverse six progressively unlockable worlds to rescue his Pac family. Along the path he’ll encounter a diverse set of baddies who can be defeated by butt jumps, throwing pellets and/or speed charges. Collecting fruit along the way will both unlock hidden doors and produce end-of-level bonuses, as will gathered tokens to try Pac-Man’s hand at a nearly impossible slot machines. Careful exploration of each level will produce even higher scores and hidden chests/keys/Pac-Man letters, somewhat of an incentive to return to previous places.
Easily the best part of Pac-Man World Re: Pac are the playable mazes, wonderful isometric challenges resembling traditional Pac-Man environments.
Pac-Man World Re: Pac is quite cute – how can you not love Pac-Man in 3D? – albeit simple, with basic enemies possessing limited attack AI. Level design is likewise simplified, with hidden areas behind side platforms, unlockable numbered platforms (needing to hit in sequence) and/or underwater (where iron pellets allow Pac-Man to sink and open chests).
Sadly, Pac-Man World: Re-Pac suffers from sins of platformers past in certain areas untraversable if an enemy intended to chain jump off of is wiped out sans successful second leap. This requires (sigh) exiting the level to start anew. Similar struggles exist in gauging landing spots also depth of items within a space, once more common appearances in faulty 1999-era 3D platformers. Finally, Pac-Man tends to butt jump out of control far too often, also won’t naturally grab ledges as needed.
Presentation-wise, Pac-Man World: Re-Pac looks and feels – at best – like a Switch title. Thus, playing it on a PS5 (in exception to a better controller) feels silly. Audio, while borrowing from Pac-Man classic tunes, is average. There are so many checkpoints as to be almost insulting.
Combined, the lack of a true challenge, outdated graphics and audio, generic level design, and flawed platformer elements make Pac-Man World: Re-Pac an OK buy for kids…but that may be where the allure ends. I really wish Bandai Namco would’ve literally gone back to the old drawing board and given this beloved title a true facelift and reinvention, ala’ Rayman Legends (instead reimagined in a hand drawn, side scroller space). Yes, this technically a ‘budget title’ but it could – and arguably should – be so much more even at this price.
Pac-Man World: Re-Pac is pretty much the same experience as it was in 1999, albeit with a minimal and barely noticeable facelift. But 1999 is not 2022…and this game didn’t age well. Its simplified difficulty and presentation is best suited for kids, and – even then – is pretty generic in execution.