Pac-Man is one of the most popular video game franchises of all time. First introduced as an arcade game back in the 1980s, the game is still able to excite players and provide a nostalgic experience 38 years after the first game was released.
In this new iteration, Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus for the Nintendo Switch, offers an new and updated gameplay to the classic Pac-Man formula retaining the core concept of the franchise that made the game popular with players even to this day.
Furthermore, Championship Edition Plus 2 also retained some mechanics founded by its predecessor, Pac-Man Championship Edition, which was launched back in 2007 and revamped the classic Pac-Man gameplay by adding several modes, different challenges, and eye-popping events.
The core gameplay of Championship Edition 2 Plus is still very much like Pac-Man. Players would lead the titular character around a maze, eating dots, and dodging ghosts. However, one of the most prominent changes here is that accidentally eating a ghost won’t lead to instant death. Touching a ghost will transform it into an angry ghost, making it more aggressive. A third contact will make the ghosts chase down Pac-Man, which would kill him instantly if they were able to catch up to him.
The new iteration also features a new mechanic in the form of sleeping ghosts, who will wake up when the player gets near. Waking up multiple ghosts will let them form a line that will chase down Pac-Man. This becomes a chance for the player to achieve high scores, because when Pac-Man is able to eat the power pill that allows him to gobble up the ghosts, you will earn more points if you succeed on eating multiple ghosts at once.
Championship Edition 2 Plus adds a new gameplay mechanic in the form of boss battles. However, these boss battles are still done in a Pac-Man like manner. The player doesn’t directly attack a boss, as they are gigantic ghosts who usually hover above or below the map. Instead, Pac-Man must fight his way through several stages and collecting every piece of fruit. In the end, Pac-Man must be able to eat enough dots that will summon a power pill. As soon as Pac-Man eats the pill, a cutscene plays showing Pac-Man devouring the giant boss ghost. Although the boss battles brings a new challenge to the classic game, Bandai Namco could have made them more challenging, since they are boss battles after all.
Championship Edition 2 Plus also introduces bombs and bomb jumps. These items allow Pac-Man the ability to teleport back to his starting position, with a quick press of a button, whenever he finds himself cornered on a tight spot. This ability gives the players a chance to strategically change their course in order to successfully collect fruits, and evade ghosts to succeed in a certain level.
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 is basically the same version of the game that was previously released in other consoles. However, the “Plus” part on the Switch version introduces a new two-player mode, where two players can work together to score those big points, and devour multiple ghosts at the same time. I really enjoyed the two-player mode because it is just fun to play the game with a friend; Teamwork makes the classic Pac-Man gameplay exciting and a perfect game for small get-togethers with friends and family.
Players can also opt to play the game with a second CPU controlled Pac-Man if a second player is not an option. In this mode, players can take advantage of having a second Pac-Man to eat more ghosts and get more pellets.
All in all, Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus is a game that brings in new modes and challenges, but at the same time, retains the nostalgic core mechanics that we have loved ever since the first game came out in the 80’s. The updated visuals and soundtrack are both stunning and addictive that it brings an enhanced version and an overall amazing presentation of a classic arcade game.
Although the Boss battles could have been made to become more challenging, the overall experience of the game is uniquely fun and it definitely hits you right in the feels. Of course, due to the arcade nature of the game, you won’t usually play Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus for 10 straight hours in just one sitting. A quick game session is more than enough to keep you entertained for a very long time.
The port to the Nintendo Switch feels natural and optimized for the hybrid system. The controls are seamless and functional, and the ability to play an arcade game on the go is always rewarding as it lets you kill time while commuting to work or having a quick session before turning in for the night. Bandai Namco did a good job with Championship Edition 2 Plus as they were able to make the classic Pac-Man game a refreshingly unique and challenging experience.