|Dev: Namco Bandai Games|
|Pub: Namco Bandai Games|
|Release: November 16, 2010|
|Screen Resolution: 480p||Mild Cartoon Violence|
Among the mini-games on offer in Pac-man Party, there seem to be an equal number of successes as there are failures. What truly brings down the experience, however, is that nothing about this package is relevant or particularly fun. Each little element of the game is plodding and forced, making the experience feel more like more work than play.
The only real saving grace in Pac-man Party is the Classic Games mode, which offers three arcade favorites older gamers will likely appreciate. The package includes original arcade versions of Pac-man, Galaga, and Dig Dug. If you haven't played these classics before, this might actually be the only viable reason to invest in Pac-man Party. Each game still holds up incredibly well today, with Dig Dug perhaps offering the least entertainment value of the three.
With regards to the main portions of Pac-man Party's gameplay, the presentation is perfectly solid, but it's also fairly lackluster. Everything has a bright, clean look to it, but low-poly textures and uninspired art design make the game a sad legacy to this once-great arcade gobbler. New characters make cute additions to the franchise, but when it's "lights, camera, action," Pac-man Party hits the ground limping. The visuals "get by," and that's about it. Impressive lighting and reflection effects are undermined by a pervading feeling of by-the-numbers craftsmanship.
The aural elements are something of a joke as well, and gosh darn it, if the theme playing during the mini-game intros wasn't lifted lock, stock, and barrel from Mario Party 7. It's no crime to want to emulate a financial success, but some of what's here is less homage to a more prominent franchise than it is a poor copy-and-paste job. The squeaks and gibberish spoken by the characters sound terrible, and the lack of originality as a whole is unequivocally offensive.
Don't yet own any or all of the three Namco classics previously mentioned in this review? Now's your chance to give those games a whirl. If, for any other reason, you're considering putting Pac-man Party under the tree this holiday season, I strongly urge you to consider the mistletoe; for the loved one who receives this coal in their stocking will surely be sore. There's no nostalgia here outside of the great games contained within the Classic Games mode, and though at least half of the mini-games are functional, nothing about this endeavor feels necessary or relevant to gaming. Pac-man Party is a shameless attempt at ringing one last bit of change out of a destitute franchise, and if you value good taste, you'll waste no time on this uninspired holiday offering.
CCC Freelance Writer