Pac-man Party Review
Pac-man Party Box Art
System: Wii
Dev: Namco Bandai Games
Pub: Namco Bandai Games
Release: November 16, 2010
Players: 1-4
Screen Resolution: 480p Mild Cartoon Violence
I Ain't 'Fraid of No Ghosts!
by Tony Capri

Every once in a great while a game comes along so completely unexpected, so gloriously surprising and enjoyable – lightning strikes and inspiration is born. Pac-man Party is not such a game, however. It's a game for the sake of being a game, and even those who carry with them fond memories of pellet-eating bliss from decades past will do well to steer clear of this holiday abomination.

Following in the footsteps of the Mario Party series, Pac-man Party offers a mini-game compilation for up to four players. You can take on the game solo in Story, or against friends and/or CPU opponents in Party Mode. The Mini Game mode allows you to handpick specific mini-games, and the Rewards section is where you can admire achievements you've unlocked. Lastly, you'll get the Classic Games area, which we'll get to in just a moment.

Pac-man Party Screenshot

The Story mode is straightforward, and to be honest, there are a handful of decent ideas tossed into the mix. Unbeknownst to me and likely the rest of the gaming population, those little white pellets Pac-man's been nibbling away at all these years are cookies, and it's up to him to retrieve a special recipe and return it to its rightful owner. There's a ridiculous plot at play here, and the dialogue between Pac-man and the infamous Pac-man ghosts is boring and unnecessary. To be sure you don't accidentally slip into a comatose state, however, the developers have graciously added the option to skip past the game's cutscenes.

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Similar to Mario Party games, you'll move around virtual spaces on a gameboard, and for each space you land on, you'll erect or battle to secure a castle with your icon on it. Castles earn you extra cookies each time you completely circle the map, and successfully winning mini-games turns an opponent's castle into one of your own. It's an interesting concept, one that works quite well, but once you've played through a single board, you've seen pretty much everything that Pac-man Party's Story mode has to offer. There are five board types to choose from, but the changes are cosmetic.

Pac-man Party Screenshot

Surprisingly, one of the more entertaining elements of the actual board gameplay is determining how many spaces you'll move during a specific turn. Rather than simply have you roll virtual dice with a simple button press, Pac-man Party has you shooting darts, popping balloons, and playing through a quick game of pachinko. There are a few other neat features as well, and gameplay in Pac-man Party's Story mode seems to focus more on the actual board game than mini-game gameplay.

That's probably for the best, too. Though there are over fifty mini-games to rip through, none are standout gems and a few of them are downright broken. Take for instance Spaghetti Rollup, which has you making circling motions with the Wii Remote to roll up spaghetti on a giant fork; the player with the biggest ball of spaghetti on their fork at the end of the mini-game wins. The control in this particular mini-game feels fine, and the Wii Remote reads your motions accurately. The mini-game itself, however, simply isn't satisfying to play through.

Pac-man Party Screenshot

Showdown with Arachne, on the other hand, is just plain broken – end of story. In this mini-game, the object is to save butterflies by running over them with your character. To control your character, you'll have to hold the Wii Remote sideways and steer like a car. My character continued to get locked in corners of the platform, and regardless of which way I moved the controller, my character would move in the opposite direction.

Screenshots / Images
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