Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 PLUS just hit the Nintendo Switch, and it’s crazier than ever. Imagine the Pac-Man gameplay you know and love. Now, imagine that gameplay being shown in the background of a cyberpunk movie. Add some more neon and bright effects to that, and you’ve got Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 PLUS. Unlike other beloved arcade games that added several adjectives to the name of their game and called it a day after small in-game changes, this new version of the Pac-Man experience is bigger, better, and ballsier.
If you wanted to play the original Pac-Man experience, this is not the place to go. Even the normal Score-Attack mode is so full of changes that the game is practically unrecognisable. It does, however, make it a lot more fun. The original Pac-Man had you just munching away at dots while running away from several ghosts, reloading the map every time you cleared one. Meanwhile, enemies got stronger and became less and less vulnerable to the flashing power pellets at the sides of stages.
Well no more.
If you try out the Score-Attack mode, you’ll soon find yourself in a very simple-looking map, with only one ghost and a simple trail of dots to follow. Munch every dot and the fruit that spawns, too, and you jump through the map, hitting the next one and following a new trail on a different, more interesting map, with the same ghosts following you.
On these maps, the corners of the dot trail are peppered with small silhouettes of ghosts which can get alerted if you pass by them, running off and chaining onto the ghost that’s following you around each map. This leaves you with a massive chain of ghosts following you around the level. Every few fruits you chew up, the chain of ghosts turns purple, and if you munch the real ghost at the front, you’re launched into a 3D cutscene where Pac-Man eats every ghost on the chain for a ton of points. This all sounds like a relatively slow process, but believe me, it’s faster than the usual Pac-Man gameplay.
The game has an adventure mode, too, where the game provide you with various challenges, such as clearing a certain amount of maps in a short amount of time. In these modes, you have different amounts of ghosts, from one to four, each getting their own trail of ghost silhouettes behind them. These modes either involve getting to the fruit several times or getting past a few maps then clearing the final one. There are several worlds, each with ten levels and one boss level. The boss levels have you eat all the dots on a map, then grab the fruit before the giant boss behind it destroys the map. This can be easier said than done because the fruit can float away around the map. Once you’ve eaten several fruits, you get to the power pellet and can destroy the giant ghost behind the map.
If you’ve played Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 before, you might wondering why this version has a PLUS at the end of its title. The other features were part of the original version, which was previously available on other platforms, but this game has a two-player mode. The best part about this two-player mode is that it’s even playable alone, which is something that might sound oxymoronic but is actually a great idea.
When you play alone, the AI is programmed to keep munching on dots, then when all the dots are gone, to bring you the power pellet or fruit that’s in a bubble and might float away otherwise. You eat power pellets, fruit, and even ghosts, by squishing them together. If the chain of ghost silhouettes is long enough, you get an awesome 3D chomping cutscene.
Once you’ve beaten enough maps in 2P score attack mode, you approach the boss. The boss here is different than the one in Adventure mode, as you’re faced with a 2D platforming level. As a giant 3D ghost floats around, you jump around from platform to platform, sticking to the surface you jumped to and moving around in until you find the next position to jump to. If you’re using the AI, any group of dots you start eating will be eaten to completion by the AI, if you’re playing with another player, it’s all up to teamwork.
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 PLUS is the definitive Pac-Man experience. It’s a load of fun for fast games on the go, with especially the single-player adventure mode giving you very little time to reach its goals. However, it’s the two-player mode where the game really shines, jumping out of its own comfort zone and hitting you with elements you’d never expect in a Pac-Man game.
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Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 PLUS is probably the most fun I’ve ever had with Pac-Man. It plays so smoothly, looks amazing and sounds great, too. It’s the definitive Pac-Man experience as long as you’re not looking for the original game. Obviously, it can get a little repetitive, but it takes its sweet time until it does.
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