In 1999, Namco released the original Pac-Man World on the PlayStation 1 as part of the classic arcade game’s 20th anniversary celebrations. Pac-Man World hopes to bring Namco’s iconic mascot into the modern age in the form of a 3D platformer, largely inspired by the Crash Bandicoot series. It’s been 23 years since World of Pac-Man launched on PS1, and now the game is back as World of Pac-Man Re-Pac.
Pac-Man World Re-Pac is a full-scale remake of the original Pac-Man World game, retaining the PS1 game’s level design while significantly upgrading the graphics, for better or worse. The game opens with Pac-Man’s family and friends being kidnapped by ghosts, so the titular yellow hero sets out to rescue them. As one might have guessed, this involves navigating through various themed worlds and collecting collectibles in typical 3D platformer fashion.
Pac-Man World Re-Pac’s levels are themed around pirates, carnivals, factories, and more, and most levels are reminiscent of Crash Bandicoot’s mix of side-scrolling and 3D level designs. The main goal is to reach the end of the stage, but players can also find hidden letters that spell out P-A-C-M-A-N, collect fruit, hoard dots, and rescue kidnapped family members, provided they have the key to do so. Unfortunately, the collectathon aspect of Pac-Man World Re-Pac is one of its biggest shortcomings, as nearly every collectible requires the player to backtrack, artificially extending the game’s length and compromising its pacing.
The excessive backtracking in the Pac-Man World Re-Pac levels quickly becomes obsolete, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. Fans of 90s 3D platformers will love playing this game, even if they don’t have nostalgia for the original. There are only four levels per world, so the theme isn’t welcome, and the way the game incorporates classic Pac-Man features into 3D platformer stages is clever.
Most levels have hidden mazes for players to discover, much like the Pac-Man arcade game, requiring players to eat all the dots while avoiding ghosts. If the player is able to grab the Power Pellet, Pac-Man will grow in size and be able to turn things around. These hidden mazes are a nice diversion from the core platformer, but dots and things like Power Pellets can also be found in the 3D platforming section, giving Pac-Man the ability to take out patrolling ghosts that are otherwise invulnerable.
Die-hard Pac-Man fans will get the most out of Pac-Man World Re-Pac and its homage to the past. Those who manage to beat the game will even unlock an arcade cabinet that lets them play the original Pac-Man, so even if someone isn’t impressed with the main game, Pac-Man World Reborn at least gives players the chance to play the best arcade game ever one.
Unlocking the classic Pac-Man arcade cabinet requires the player to defeat the Pac-Man World Re-Pac, which doesn’t take long at all. Most people will be able to do it in five hours or less. Pac-Man World Re-Pac is a short game, but when it’s available at a budget $30 price point and includes classic arcade games as part of the package, it’s hard to complain.
Pac-Man World Re-Pac is not only short, it’s very simple. The game offers little challenge, with frequent checkpoints and deaths of little consequence. Pac-Man World Re-Pac offers 1-Ups players a ton of levels, some of which are rewarded at the end for good performance. Each level ends with a slot machine, which gives the player more free lives if the player is successful, but since the player already has so many 1-Ups, the slot machine can quickly become more annoying.
The final boss fight in Pac-Man World Re-Pac is also annoying, mostly because of how long it takes and hit detection issues. Without spoilers, Pac-Man World Re-Pac’s final boss requires players to hit their feet with dots, but sometimes those hits don’t register, which can lead to some frustration. The boss has three distinct stages, each with unskippable cutscenes. Dying to the final boss in Pac-Man World Re-Pac means repeating unskippable cutscenes and pretty dull gameplay, even though the game’s other bosses are fun.
Pac-Man World Re-Pac’s other boss fights are a highlight of the experience, as each encounter is at least somewhat challenging and offers a unique fight compared to the rest of the game. One boss fight is against a flying pirate ship, while another is a Mario Kart-esque race against an evil clown. There’s a lot of variation here, and it’s always interesting to see how each world’s theme will be used for boss battles.
Pac-Man World Re-Pac has fun boss fights and decent 3D platforming for the most part, but it has excessive backtracking and is short. It’s a faithful recreation of the PS1 Pac-Man World game, but in prettier packaging, and it’s affordable enough to be easily recommended to anyone nostalgic for the original. Those who never played the PS1 original may not enjoy it as much, but despite its flaws, it’s still a solid 3D platformer.
Pac-Man World Re-Pac is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X. Game Rant played the Xbox Series X version of the game for this review.