In 1999, Pac-Man World came to life as a new 3D platformer, and in 2022, it’s back as Pac-Man World Re-Pac. While I love Pac-Man as a franchise, I never got into Pac-Man World games.
In 1999, I was far more interested in JRPGs, which has not appreciably changed. However, I sincerely appreciate what this did to bring the game back to life for a brand new audience.
While Pac-Man World Re-Pac can be incredibly short, if you’re good at it, it’s gorgeous, features tight controls and little secrets. It is a good amount of bang for your buck. This is not a full-price game, or I’d have been disappointed.
What is Pac-Man World Re-Pac?
In 1999, Pac-Man’s world changed by changing his adventures into a trilogy of 3D platformers. Unfortunately, they came at the heyday of 3D platformers like Super Mario Bros. 64 and similar titles. Bigger, more popular titles drowned it out, and while Pac-World was a serviceable game, it didn’t compete as well.
Fast forward to 2022, and Bandai Namco has brought the classic back. While I did not play the original, I am familiar with it. I was more of a traditional Pac-Man/Pac-Man Championship fan. However, I will say that this genuinely blew me away.
I’m not a 3D platforming fan, but I found myself hooked on playing Pac-Man World Re-Pac. I spent most of yesterday plowing through the stages, and while I didn’t have a hard time, I don’t think that isn’t good.
Honestly, I wish this would have been a collection of the three Pac-World games, but I enjoyed what I was given.
Pac-Man World Re-Pac’s gameplay is sharp, even if the game is short
For those unaware, Pac-Man World Re-Pac is a 3D platformer where Toc-Man, a killer robot, has kidnapped the entire Pac Family. It’s up to Pac-Man to go through a series of stages, defeat Toc-Man’s allies, and free his family.
The stages in Pac-Man World Re-Pac are 2.5/3D, where the camera occasionally changes with what the player is doing. Each area has a series of stages to go through, culminating in a boss battle, typical of the 90s-era side-scrolling platformers.
While these are primarily side-scrollers, they aren’t necessarily linear. Minor backtracking is required if players want to get all the hidden items, complete the bonus mazes, and find family members.
Throughout each stage, there are Pac Pellets to acquire, which can be used to defeat many of the enemies. I didn’t do that often. Instead, I used the butt bounce, which is done by jumping and hitting the jump button again.
It can also be used to traverse the map, bouncing off of enemies to make it to another platform. Butt bounce is also used to activate buttons, which move platforms and generally progress to the stage. I also made liberal use of Pac-Man's rolling attack to traverse the map and defeat foes.
In addition, players will see a variety of gates with item designs above them, like fruits. Fruits are used for the player’s point total and to unlock these gates. Doing this can progress the stage or find secrets like the Pac-Man letters.
Unlocking all these gives a bonus stage at the end of a level for more points and extra lives. There is also a Galaga ship players can find, and activating that gate will send players off to play a stage of more traditional Pac-Man. I loved these, but they were kind of underwhelming and frustrating at the same time. Pac-Man with obstacles? Yeah, not a fan.
I loved how varied the stages were. Even if I had played this as a teenager, I’d still have loved it. The stages have a nice variety, and each zone had its distinct flavor. I loved activating Metal Pac to dive down to the bottom of watery areas, butt bouncing on drums, a’la Sonic bound through the sky and navigating tricky jumps. It felt tight and excellent.
The boss stages are nice and challenging, without being too hard. If players find Pac-Man World Re-Pac too difficult, there’s also an “Easy Mode” that can be activated anytime. This adds more platforms to the game, known as “Easy Blocks,” to make the game a bit less challenging.
Pac-Man World Re-Pac gained some quality of life changes
In addition to his other moves, Pac-Man has a hover that he can use to get a little further after jumping. This is great for more difficult jumps in the game, but it does not allow players to get much higher on a standard jump.
In addition, the Steel Ball Power Up (Metal Dot) respawns. Sometimes, players mess up what they intend to do with it, so they can go back and try again. Several boss fights were altered, and the Clown Prix stage is now first person to have a progress bar in the HUD.
The positive changes were ones that I appreciated the more I played the game. While the game felt very easy, I didn’t think it was bad. I never had a hard time getting extra lives, either. As readers will see in the footage, I hovered around 20 lives for a long time.
Cute, bright visuals and excellent, memorable music are featured in the game
I have to say, I was humming the steel drum theme of the hub world for most of yesterday and today. It’s a delightful track. The stage music generally felt excellent, and I loved the colors used in the game. A lot of it was pretty bright and enjoyable to look at.
The visuals were sharp, and I loved the art style in Pac-Man World Re-Pac. It’s far sharper than the original PlayStation version, which I expected. I appreciated the visuals for the game a great deal, and for the asking price, this all felt very much worth it.
I would have loved more than just the first Pac-Man World title. It’s a sharp, enjoyable platformer, though it is a little on the short side. It’s a quality remaster, and I didn’t notice any real issues regarding the performance of Pac-Man World Re-Pac. I played on the PlayStation 5, and everything felt good.
Pac-World was an interesting experiment in the late 90s, and while it may not be as fondly remembered as other platformers from its day, I think it stands out as a worthwhile playthrough in 2022. Players like myself, who have never experienced the original game, I still think will get a lot out of it.
Pac-Man World Re-Pac
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5 (key provided by Bandai Namco)
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC
Developer: Now Production, Namco Hometek
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Release Date: August 25, 2022