Namco Museum Arcade PAC Review – Switch

There are two types of games that excel on the Nintendo Switch: multiplayer party games and retro/retro-inspired games. Namco Museum Arcade PAC provides both of these experiences, and does so with flying colors. If you’re looking for a great collection of titles that offer just the right amount of variety that don’t overstay their welcome, this is the title for you.

First, let’s begin with an overview: while PAC may not boast the largest catalog of older titles included in a single collection, the titles that are present are memorable and actually worth a bit of time investment. Too often, large retro collections end up feeling like ROM dumps filled with games that you’re never actually going to spend any meaningful time with. The titles included with PAC include…

  • Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus
  • Pac-Man
  • Pac-Man VS.
  • Dig Dug
  • Splatterhouse
  • The Tower Of Druaga
  • Tank Force
  • Sky Kid
  • Rolling Thunder
  • Rolling Thunder 2
  • Galaga
  • Galaga ’88

While the main draw here is an expanded version of CE2, the rest of the titles add value and a great bonus, especially if you have a fondness for classic titles from the past 30-40 years. While somewhat limited compared to other larger collections, this curated list of titles will keep you entertained far longer than many of those other collections.

While the Pac-Man titles may all offer variations on a theme, their content varies wildly, and each game is fun and addictive in its own right. Classic Pac-Man is a solid port of the arcade classic, Pac-Man VS. is a fun distraction, and CE2 Plus is just as incredible as it was when it was originally released several years ago, plus features a handful of minor graphical, gameplay, and audio enhancements that make it worth checking out for a second or third time.

The remaining included titles are all perfectly emulated, and while not every single one of them are essential classics, they’re enjoyable regardless. The top of the stack are titles like Dig Dug, Rolling Thunder, and Galaga. These classics fully deserve to stand beside Pac Man, and provide the most replayability. Rolling Thunder 2 and Galaga ’88 are conceptually interesting sequels that don’t fully successfully iterate on their classic predecessors, and Tank Force, Sky Kid, and The Tower Of Druaga provide perhaps the least amount of classic nostalgia, as they don’t age anywhere near as well as the others have. On a personal note, while I love the Splatterhouse series, revisiting the first one after so long revealed some of the game’s weaknesses that were perhaps better left in the past. It’s still a fun side-scrolling pixelated slasher flick, but it perhaps shows its age more than the rest of the titles.

The big draw to this collection is the new Switch 2 Plus 2-Player mode. This feature that’s built into CE2 allows for two local players to chase ghosts together in timed areas, and it’s a lot of fun. There are tons of local couch co-op titles out there, and this definitely hangs with the best of them.

Namco Museum Arcade PAC is a no-brainer, especially if you haven’t previously purchased Championship Edition 2. There’s a lot of content here, and it is certainly worth your time. Couples and friends who play together frequently will get the most out of it, but everyone who enjoys arcade titles are welcome.  

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