If you’re a Pac-Man fan, consider Pac-Man Museum+ an absolute must buy.
Packing in 14 games starring everyone’s favourite dot-eating face, Pac-Man Museum+ is a joyous, noisy delight. Rather than giving you a boring menu, the games within the collection are presented as arcade cabinets. With your own little Pac-Man arcade to walk around, you can decorate it, add new machines, and re-arrange it to your heart’s content. That’s almost a game in itself.
Though of course, it’s not the reason anyone will be jumping into Pac-Man Museum+; that would be the games themselves. As you’ll likely expect, there’s a mixed bag here. There’s of course the original Pac-Man, a classic that never gets old. The collection then spans all the way up to 2015’s Pac-Man 256, perhaps one of the most perfect reimaginings of an original game we’ve ever played. In between there are some real hits, some forgotten curios, and some games that would probably have been better staying lost in time.
What’s surprising is just how much variety there is in the games included. Not every one is simply a re-hash of the original Pac-Man formula (although there are plenty of those). There’s an endless runner of sorts in Pac-Land, a Puyo-type block puzzle in Pac-Attack, a platformer in Pac-in-Time, and even a multiplayer versus spin on things in Pac-Man Battle Royale.
Not every game is made equally, of course. You’ll likely have your favourites, and a handful that you’ll perhaps never want to dive into again. We say ‘again’ because unlike other retro collections, not all of Pac-Man Museum+‘s games are unlocked from the start. A handful are, but to access more you’ll need to meet their unlock requirements. Thankfully, those requirements are never more than playing another game twice. But it’s still a hoop to jump through that may prevent you from diving straight into the game you really want to play.
Not every title has its own arcade cabinet, either. A chunk of titles are grouped together on one “free play” cabinet – presumably the ones that never had a real-world arcade release. It adds a nice touch of authenticity, but for the sake of the collection it would have been nice for each one to have its own physical presence in your arcade.
Pac-Man Museum+ really does take its arcade role seriously, too: it’ll cost you coins to play each of the cabinets (apart from the free-play machine). But don’t worry: you’ll have plenty of coins to start out with and you’ll earn more than you spend – as long as you don’t spend them all on the Gashapon machine, which doles out random statues you can decorate your arcade with. If you do run out of coins – as difficult as it would be – playing a free game or two will soon build them back up.
It doesn’t contain every Pac-Man game ever made, but Pac-Man Museum+ is the most complete collection yet, for better or for worse. We love its arcade presentation – jarring sound effects and all – and even outside of the games, there’s fun to be had trying to collect everything and decorating your arcade as you see fit. There are some duff games here of course, but you’ll likely find a gem that you never even knew existed – for us it was block puzzle Pac-Attack. Either way, this is a very nice little trip through Pac-Man’s history, and one we’ll keep jumping back into time and again.
Pac-Man Museum+ Review: GameSpew’s Score