Pac-Man Party 3D
As Pac-Man Party's story mode tells us, "stories are like cookies. Some
are sweet, or hard to swallow, and everyone has a favourite." If we
extend this analogy to games, however, Pac-Man Party 3D would be a
stale pack of Jatz with a best before date that expired in the late
As you can expect by the name, Pac-Man Party is Namco Bandai's
attempt as stuffin its yellow pill-muncher into a mini-game collection.
Well, I say 'pill muncher', but Pac-Man Party is adamant that those
yellow things Pac-Man eats are biscuits; not pills. Okay Namco, I'll play
There are more than 50 mini-games in total, but very few will impress you.
To its credit, the game does at least try to inject some sort of
originality into Mario Party's board game format. Land on a square
and you'll own it (sort of like Monopoly) and any time an opponent
lands on one of your squares, it will trigger a mini-game where the
winner gains possession of it. At times, you'll also trigger a boss
battle where the competitors pool their resources together and unite,
in order to take out a larger enemy.
Ultimately, however, the board game element in a party game will
always simply be a shell for the minigames themselves and that's
sadly where Pac-Man Party falls flat. Each game is introduced with a
screen of badly-written and confusing text-only instructions with no
images or animations to illustrate what to expect.
It's only when you're flung into the minigame itself that you get to
start piecing together what it is that you have to do, by which point
it's already too late. Even once you get the hand of a specific
mini-game, the vast majority of them are the same sort of generic,
samey stuff you've seen countless times over since the Nintendo 64
days and will present no fresh challenge to anyone vaguely familiar
with Nintendo games.
So here, you have to... uh... well, isn't it obvious? I mean, it's pretty straightforward.
In fact, Pac-Man Party as a whole feels like a Nintendo 64 game
trapped in a Nintendo 3DS game's body. There are only a few boards,
each with a similar style and layout, the story mode is packed with
terrible dialogue, and the character's facial expressions never change,
so even when Pac-Man or whatever kind of abomination you're
controlling loses a game, their face will stay locked into a ridiculous
open-mouthed smile, the fool.
Look! You have a crown now! Crowns are fun, right? ...Right?
With all these unfamiliar, random 'characters' (I use that term loosely)
and lackluster minigames, you begin to question why Pac-Man was a
hit in the first place. Then Namco shows it to you-- rather, they shove
it down your throat. Because, being a Namco title, the package is
rounded off with the usual bunch of retro arcade titles (Pac-Man,
Galaga and Dig-Dug) jammed in there for the umpteenth time to add
extra content. All it does is remind players that the original 1980s
Pac-Man -pills and all- is still far more enjoyable than a party game
released 32 years later. Once you realise this, the party crashes to a halt.