If you, like me, are the sort of person that instantly begins to worry when the first image you see of a new Pac-Man game is not a dot-filled maze, then... yeah. Coming this fall from Namco Bandai, it's Pac-Man and Ghostly Adventures.\
Based the animated series of the same name, in which Pac-Man is a high school student and has a really cute pink-haired punk-girl friend. It's essentially Pac-Man's version of Smallville, and I say that without every having seen even one clip of animation. I have seen the toys, however, and I must say I am intrigued by the idea of transforming fruit vehicles.
Here's the official summary, direct from the press release: "The game revolves around the vibrant universe of Pac-World, where Pacworlders lived in peace until the mischievous Netherworld ghosts, led by their wicked leader Betrayus, escaped from their ghoulish domain to forcibly take control of Pac-World. Pac-World’s only hope lies in the last surviving yellow Pacworlder, our hero with a voracious appetite."
Betrayus. Now there's a name you can trust.
As for the video game tie-in, yeah — it's not the Pac-Man I grew up with, but it's not supposed to be. Where games like the Championship Edition titles were built to appease nostalgic fans, this revamp is meant to introduce the iconic character to a whole new generation — a generation that won't be entertained by endless maze-running.
Instead, the get an action-adventure game with distinct Kirby overtones (especially the 2D version exclusive to the 3DS), as seen in the video above. Pac-Man can use the things he ingests to change form, apparently, which is exactly what Nintendo's pink puffball Kirby does, only with much shorter limbs and no nose.
While the aging gamer in me is screaming, I do appreciate the crisp lines and colorful setting. I'll give Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures a fair shake when it arrives this fall for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and 3DS.