One of my favorite franchises from my youth was Pac-Man, so I was incredibly excited to see Pac-Man Museum+ show up. A follow-up to the original Pac-Man Museum (2014), it offers fans a collection of Pac-Man games from the arcade era and several more modern releases from console and PC.
While I was hoping it would feature some online multiplayer or something to that extent, I was not disappointed with the offering of classic games Bandai Namco put out. Even the mini-arcade that the games are featured in is beautiful.
What comes with the Pac-Man Museum+ collection, and is it worth having?
Pac-Man Museum+ gives fans the ability to create their own Pac-Man arcade, but friends can’t join
When players first load into the game, they’re given 500 coins and a little arcade to run around in, as Pac-Man himself. There are a variety of arcade consoles to check out and a free-to-play cabinet for the more modern console/PC Pac-Man games.
Not all of the games in the Pac-Man Museum+ collection are playable at launch, though; they have to be unlocked. Thankfully, it’s a matter of playing the other games first. For example, playing Pac-Man twice unlocks Super Pac-Man. Simply walking up to the game will show if a game is playable and, if not, how you unlock it.
For each unlockable game, they have to play another game twice first, but that’s easy and enjoyable. You don’t have to spend real money or use the gacha machine to unlock more games. Gacha machines are vending machines that people can drop money into and receive a variety of toys. They are named this way because of the “gacha gacha” sound they make.
You can also adjust this arcade any way you want. You can unlock different colored versions of arcade cabinets and place them wherever. You can add decorations, change wallpaper, music, and so much more. This ability to create a custom arcade is fantastic, but it’s a shame your friends can’t join you in it. As you meet milestones, some of the other characters, such as Ghosts, will wander the arcade, making it feel less lonely.
Speaking of the arcade, there’s a gacha machine that costs 5 coins. It also unlocks a variety of statues or figures that can be placed in the arcade. You can completely skip this if it isn’t for you; it doesn’t change any facet of gameplay.
Games included in Pac-Man Museum+
- Super Pac-Man
- Pac & Pal
- Pac-Attack (SNES, SFC Versions)
- Pac-Man Arrangement (Arcade, PSP Versions)
- Pac-Man Championship Edition
- Pac ‘n Roll Remix
- Pac-Man Battle Royale
- Pac-Man 256
It’s important to note that the Pac-Man Arrangement (2005, PSP) lacks the two-player mode the original featured.
How to play games in Pac-Man Museum+
It’s incredibly easy to play arcade games in Pac-Man Museum+. Simply walk up to the cabinet and begin playing. If you don't have unlocked access to it, it will tell you what to do first. The arcade cabinets cost 1 coin per play, and you start with a whopping 500.
You unlock more coins by playing the games, and the better you do, the more coins you get. I have spent plenty of coins on the gacha machine or buying items in the vending machine, and I have gotten nowhere near running out of coins. The console games also do not cost coins, so they will always be free to play.
I’ve received at least 1 coin every time I’ve played a game in Pac-Man Museum+, so I don’t think fans will have any worries about running out. Every game has a guide as well, so it’s easy for new players to figure out what they’re doing.
If I could ask for any one thing, though, I would absolutely adore having an online multiplayer for many of these games. A few of the games have local multiplayer, but what I want is to be able to play these classic games with my friends online. Pac-Man games are so much more fun when playing with friends. While previous collections have not had an online multiplayer, being able to compete in Pac-Man games with friends around the world would make the experience far more enjoyable.
This isn’t every single Pac-Man game, either. Pac-Man Museum+ includes a nice collection of Pac-Man games, but there are some I’m genuinely disappointed aren’t here. I understand that some of them, like Ms. Pac-Man, are not owned by Bandai Namco. That is also likely why any references to her were changed to Pac-Mom.
Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures is another game I desperately wish were in this compilation title. There’s always a chance to update it later with DLC or updates, but the list of games is solid either way.
Arcade-perfect gameplay, combined with lackluster audio
I would say that, for better or worse, the gameplay is as I remember from my days playing Pac-Man games in arcades. I say for the worse because there were several times when I would play a game, and when I went to retreat and pick up an item, it didn’t respond, and I would lose a life. However, since this happened in the arcade too, I can’t be mad about it. The console games played exactly how I remembered them.
There are negatives, though. The audio is bad in some of these games. I noticed in Pac-Man that the sound for ghosts turning blue didn’t register, as well as the pac dot sound effects. In Pac-Man Arrangement (Console ver.), the pac dots had a strange, almost raspy sound. For the most part, the audio was fine, and it just lacked in various places.
That said, the gameplay was striking, and it was so enjoyable to play a classic collection of games in one place all over again. While some of the audio of the game felt weak, all of the memorable Pac-Man music was there, and it was a real blast from the past to listen to in the various games.
Pac-Man Museum+ is an amazing collection of games with sharp gameplay, exactly how I remember them. While the audio work isn’t perfect, it sounds fine more often than not. While there are downsides, they are not outweighed by the positives.
I do wonder why there isn’t more interaction with the arcade itself, though. You can place benches and tables, but why not sit at them? Various ghosts from the classic Pac-Man games show up and wander the arcade, but why not give them some dialogue?
It is a missed opportunity when you consider that each ghost has its own personality. They could have given them some dialogue when Pac-Man approaches them. That and the online multiplayer. That’s the biggest misstep of all. Even with the negatives, Pac-Man fans and newcomers to the franchise can enjoy some incredible, classic gameplay.
Review Code Provided By: Bandai Namco
Reviewed On: PC (Steam, Game Pass)
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Developers: Bandai Namco Entertainment, Now Production
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Release Date: May 27, 2022