Pac-Man World Re-Pac Review (PS5) – Retro Platformer Brings Pac Back to Basics in Awesome Style

ByDonald L. Leech

Sep 2, 2022

Pac-Man World Re-Pac PS5 Review. Pac-Man returns with a blast from the past. Can this remake of a PSOne-era gem do the job decades later?

Pac-Man ventures outside of the usual maze-a-thons have seen pretty decent returns. Pac-Man World was a particularly solid and enjoyable addition to PlayStation’s original roster of 2.5D platformers, and stands the test of time as some of the best entertainment in the big yellow circle. So this remake of that game has some pretty solid, if slightly dated, foundations to build on.

Pac-Man World Re-Pac PS5 Review – Retro Platformer Gets Pac To The Basics In Awesome Style

Soothe your troubles

Pac-Man World takes place in a style similar to post-3D platformers of the 90s with Pac-Man traversing a 3D hub world that connects a series of 2.5D levels that feature collectibles, platforming tricks, form and boss fights. Pac-Man’s family is kidnapped by misinformed goons and it’s up to the PM to embark on a kid-friendly killing spree to save them all.

It’s a warmly familiar setup for anyone nostalgic for the era of the PSOne platform, but there have been plenty of occasions with retro remasters/remakes where revisiting that sentiment leads to the kind of misery that years of gaming experience bring. Finding the right balance of faithful recreation and easy-to-use modernization is key, and for the most part, Pac-Man World: Re-Pac handles that juggling act.

Even though the original release arrived just as Mario and Banjo Kazooie were strutting around in their revealing 3D stuff, Pac-Man World had a confident swagger that brushed aside this ambitious advancement in the platforming genre. He focused on what did the trick in the more established spaces, including Pac-Man’s own historical past.

Not everyone was ready, nor exposed to the brand new bag of innovation that 3D had on the table, so those comfortable compromises such as Pac-Man World were real money, and pop that truth pill, this game was all about money, and its relative simplicity is a big part of why it can still show you its main appeal.

Pac-Man is more mobile than you remember

Pac-Man is a bit more mobile here than it was in the days of arcade games. It has legs, feet, arms, hands, and the almost obligatory set of boots and gloves to put on. He can jump, dash, stomp (he doesn’t have an ass, but I don’t know what else to call him), and… well that’s really it, but it’s accentuated by a selection of mics that add a bit of gradual variety to proceedings.

I was rather seduced by the sustained pace of Pac-Man World: Re-Pac. It’s still in a busy state without being relentless. As a result, there’s a pleasant bounce to the way things play out, where frustration is tempered by the general pleasantness displayed.

Still, he’s very much rooted in his time, and that brings some unresolved issues from his 2.5D game. Judging some jumps, for example, can be a little off, and the moveset doesn’t always feel intuitive for the situations the game provides. It’s the sort of thing that annoyed younger gamers across a number of platforms, but with the ability to update a decades-old game as much as it visually has, it’s a shame less attention has gotten. given to fine-tune it mechanically.

I guess I understand why. Preserving the way the game was played would make it more faithful, but the group of people who played the original and keep coming back to it is pretty shallow, even with the relative level of success of the original.

A vibrant, slick, clean Pac-Man adventure with plenty of nostalgic value

Where it shines is in the aforementioned visuals. Pac-Man World: Re-Pac does this wonderful trick of creating something like what you remember from fading memories rather than hitting you with the brutal truth. See this side-by-side comparison in the recent trailer and it’s truly an impressive glow for the veteran gaming icon.

It’s vibrant, smooth and clear to understand without betraying the charm and nostalgia of the original. There’s a sharpness that puts some modern throwback efforts to shame. Of course, it helps when your cast of characters is largely made up of simple shapes!

Something that remains a treat from the original release until now are the various mini-games that pop up in Pac-Man World. Chief among these are updated versions of classic Pac-Man mazes, with limited lifespans. It’s the crown jewel of the secondary game, as it perfectly captures the growing intensity of the arcade classic and makes some interesting tweaks to the formula.

Elsewhere there are sections with shoot ’em up battles, races and a fruit machine mini-game which is probably the weakest of the lot. None of these diversions are particularly exciting on their own, but they do at least break up the platform a bit.

This is a pretty strong remake of a game that, while not a classic, had enough to gain a healthy fanbase in a very different era. As a potential benchmark for an all-new Pac-Man platformer, Bandai Namco couldn’t do better than this.

Pac-Man World Re-Pac is now available on PS5, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One.

Review code courtesy of the publisher.