PAC-MAN WORLD REPAC REVIEW

Pac-Man World RePac Review – A Platforming Relic

The classic platformer is back.

It’s been a long time since mascot platformers dominated the gaming landscape. 20 years ago when the original Pac-Man World was released platform games were king of home consoles, and the king of arcades wanted in on that action. For better and for worse, playing Pac-Man World RePac took me right back to my weekends playing random platformers I rented from the video shop on my PlayStation back then. I

t feels dated in level design and general gameplay but as someone who enjoyed games like these growing up I definitely developed a soft spot for the way it so faithfully recreated a style of game that isn’t much in fashion anymore.

PAC-MAN WORLD REPAC

RePac opens with Pac Man returning home to a party in his honour, only to find that his entire cast of family and friends have gone missing. So begins our spherical hero’s quest across a bunch of themed platforming worlds to collect letters, waka-waka some pellets and defeat the forces of Toc-Man to save his friends. It’s not exactly an inventive story, but it only really ever intends to be set dressing for the main focus of the kid-friendly platforming so I won’t hold it to too high a standard.

PAC-MAN WORLD REPAC

The platform gameplay on offer feels pretty ancient, which makes perfect sense when you consider the original game that forms the mechanical basis for this one is over 20 years old. The platform game was on top of the world, but was still very much designed the way it had been in the 2D age – just with some extra depth to play with.

Pac-Man World RePac faithfully recreates these old worlds with a layer of modern paint, without changing the way it plays in any significant way. You’ll need to play through a series of mostly side scrolling levels, maneuvering your way to the end of the level using Pac-Man’s jumps, butt bounces and charge moves, dodging or dispatching of enemies to progress. A range of optional collectibles add a fun and necessary twist to the otherwise pretty dull A to B.

PAC-MAN WORLD REPAC

Collecting fruit adds to your score and can unlock some doors, finding floating letters to spell P-A-C-M-A-N unlocks a bonus round after the level, and you can even find special classic style Pac-Man mazes which give some extra variety to play. Collecting all of these things will require some back tracking to doors that are now unlocked. None of it feels particularly interesting, but I will admit that it tickled the collector in me. Knowing there’s an A sitting somewhere in the level that I’ve missed was enough to make me want to explore every crevice of the levels to find it even if it felt like a cheap way to extend your time in a level sometimes.

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Boss levels add some welcome variety to proceedings, as well. It’s a relic of the past where games seemed to pack in seemingly random gameplay one-offs but much appreciated here. Cute touches like a Galaxian-esque shooter boss and a grand prix kart race against a line-up of circus clowns are surprisingly fun. Fleshed out just enough to be fun for their quick one-time levels, they make for a nice break from the regular platforming levels.

PAC-MAN WORLD REPAC

While the game plays very much like the PlayStation original did, the presentational overhaul makes a huge difference for the game and brings it much closer to modern expectations. Everything is presented in lovely high resolution graphics, environment and character models completely overhauled while staying mostly faithful to the original game. Visual design stays pretty similar as well and as a result looks really nice at times (the beach area comes to mind) but can be horribly garish at others like the Funhouse area. I found the funhouse maze levels particularly bad, the garish colours and unclear design made it difficult to see what was a maze wall and what wasn’t.

Music too has been fully re-created and for better and worse is fully based on the original compositions. Expect some very short repetitive loops that will, if you’re anything like me, slowly drive you batty.


The PS5 version if this game was played for the purpose of this review.

PAC-MAN WORLD REPAC REVIEW
Conclusion
I suspect that people with fondness for the original Pac-Man World, or even just this specific era of platforming games will be the ones who get the most from RePac. It's a style of game that has been out of fashion for a while, but it's simplicity could still hold some appeal. When you can get lovingly re-created versions of the standard-setting Crash Bandicoot series for the price of this though, the value proposition for a remaster of one fairly short and unremarkable game is hard to swallow. One for the fans.
Positives
Sharp new visuals
Fun to explore levels
Nice variety of game styles
Negatives
Level designs sometimes garish
Expensive compared to remaster collections
Uninspired level designs
Dated design
6