Co-Optimus - Review - Pac-Man Museum Plus Co-op Review

2022-07-30 07:49:44 By : Ms. youki liu

Over 40 years after his creation, Pac-Man remains a popular character among both gamers and mainstream audiences. The Pac’s legacy lives on in the gaming world thanks to intermittent sequels, remasters (like Pac-Man World Re-Pac), and collections. Pac-Man Museum Plus is the latest collection of Pac-Man games, a sequel to 2014’s Pac-Man Museum. The new collection boasts 14 games from Pac-Man’s history, including two co-op titles: Pac-Man Arrangement and Pac-Man 256. Throw in numerous missions for each game, a customizable arcade, a virtual Gashapon machine, and you get one super collection that Pac-fans will love.

Pac-Man Museum Plus (the real title has a plus symbol) starts players in a virtual arcade populated by a handful of arcade cabinets, only a few of which are initially available for play. Additional games can be unlocked by playing certain games twice, which doesn’t take long at all. The 7 actual arcade games show up as cabinets, whereas the 7 non-arcade titles can be played via the “free” cabinet. All 14 games can also be played from a list by pressing the Start/Menu button.

Pac-Mom is Bandai Namco's weird replacement for Ms. Pac-Man.

The overall goal in Museum Plus involves collecting and spending coins. Gamers start with a certain number of coins which can be spent on playing arcade cabinets, purchasing decoration items from the vending machine, or in the Gashapon machine. The coin mechanic might sound worrisome, but only the seven genuine arcade games cost coins to play. Players will earn coins back just by playing (and extra coins from doing well), so completely running out shouldn’t be an issue.

Decorations and Gashapon figures are fun to collect, but the actual decorating element is limited by the size of the virtual arcade. At 16 x 10 spaces, the arcade itself is a bit small for my liking. The walls can be customized with a huge variety of unlockable wallpapers, though, including some that reference the Atari 2600 Pac-Man and even Pac-Man cereal! The arcade also contains a jukebox with plenty of unlockable music from most of the games in this collection as well as the Pac-Man 40th Anniversary Album. All told, the virtual arcade here offers a decent number of things to see, hear, and do, and is a significant improvement over the original Pac-Man Museum’s dinky trophy room.

The 14 games in Museum Plus all have 12-20 optional missions to complete, such as reaching specific stages, earning high scores, or eating certain numbers of ghosts. These goals add a lot of fun and replay value to each game. Some of the missions are brutally difficult, but many of the games allow players to restart the current stage via a temporary save. Without this feature, it would be virtually impossible to complete all missions. As it stands, plan to spend 1-2 hours with each game in order to complete its missions.

All nine of the base games from the original Pac-Man Museum are included in Museum Plus. Ms. Pac-Man, which was sold as DLC for Museum, is not offered here, sadly. These games are single-player, with two also offering competitive modes:

These non-cooperative games were not included in the original Pac-Man Museum:

These cooperative games were not included in the original Pac-Man Museum:

Pac-Man Arrangement (1996): In this arcade sequel, one or two local players try to clear each round by eating all dots while avoiding the ghosts. When playing in co-op, the second player controls a green Pac-Man. A fifth ghost, Kinky, combines with other ghosts, making them more dangerous. Several new power-ups provide effects such as super speed, temporarily trapping the ghosts, a mirrored Pac-Man that eats dots and can’t be hit, and more.

Arrangement consists of 23 rounds spread across five worlds. The difficulty is quite manageable thanks to the ability to continue upon reaching a game over. The colorful 2D graphics exude a 32-bit charm, and the music is pretty catchy too. Given the appealing art, co-op support, and reasonable game length and difficulty, Arrangement is a highlight of this collection.

Pac-Man 256 (2016): Most Pac-fans probably already own Pac-Man 256, which sells for $5 on Xbox, PlayStation, and Steam. The Switch didn’t have a version of 256 before now, though. 256 also happens to be an excellent, highly replayable game, so the fresh chance to play it here is a treat.

Based on the gameplay of Crossy Road, Pac-Man 256 takes place in an endlessly scrolling maze. 1-4 local players try to earn all the points they can by eating dots and ghosts, collecting coins for upgrades, and avoiding not only ghosts but also the Glitch that relentlessly eats away at the bottom of the maze. The team unlocks a total of 21 power-ups by reaching new dots-eaten milestones. Power-ups can then be upgraded with coins, adding lots of replay value.

256 is a joyous cooperative experience. The game offers six selectable characters, so everyone doesn’t have to look the same. Even then, four characters zooming around the crowded stage while the Glitch chases after them is inherently frantic and chaotic. When a player dies, the surviving players can resurrect him or her by finding a power-up that appears after death. Racing to grab the respawn item while ghosts close in leads to some exciting “save the team” moments.

Pac-Man Museum Plus isn’t a fully comprehensive collection. It’s sadly missing Ms. Pac-Man and several other Pac titles, some developed by Namco and some by others. Still, it does offer a wide variety of titles, several of which weren’t in the previous collection. The optional missions will give completionists and Achievement hunters numerous hours of enjoyment, but even casual fans will find plenty to love here. Compared to the similar Space Invaders Invincible Collection, which sells for $60 with 11 games included, Pac-Man Museum Plus is a steal. Grab it and catch some Pac-Man Fever!

Pac-Man Museum Plus sells for $19.99 (digitally) on Xbox/Windows Store, PlayStation, Switch, and Steam. The physical versions cost $19.99 for Xbox and PlayStation, and $29.99 on Switch. The Xbox/Windows Store versions are also available on Game Pass at the time of this writing.

An Xbox review code was provided by the publisher.

The Co-Op Experience: Pac-Man Arrangement (Arcade ver.): Two players can play through the game together. While at the end of a level one player is declared the winner based on points, actual competition is limited. Pac-Man 256: Up to four players pick their characters and work together. The goal is for everyone to get as far as possible. In the end all scores are combined. If a player dies, other players can collect a power-up to revive the fallen player.

Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.