A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Rather than depicting Pac-Man and the ghosts as arch rivals, in this game they are treated as equals, all competing in a good-natured competition where everyone plays by the rules.
Positive Role Models
Though Pac-Man's historically basic and underdeveloped persona hardly present him as a strong role model, his storied presence in video games exudes a sense of positivity and a persistent image as a 'good guy.' In addition, in this game the ghosts are seen not as enemies but as friendly competitors. All characters promote a fair, good-natured competitive spirit.
Ease of Play
The mini-games require basic gaming skills such as button-mashing and tapping the screen in-time to various prompts. The challenge comes in doing all these actions faster and more accurately than opponents. In addition, the board game element that ties the mini-games together is a simplified version of Monopoly that requires a little strategy and is designed to be widely accessible.
Violence & Scariness
During some of the mini-games, players must perform actions such as throwing harpoons at an octopus or stomping on spiders, but these are presented in a cartoon aesthetic and come across more like arcade games than any sort of actual violence.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pac-Man 3D Party is a collection of mini-games in which players have to tap the screen, press buttons, and follow on-screen commands more quickly and with more accuracy than their opponents. The main gameplay mode is presented as a board game where players build castles on unoccupied spaces and collect points whenever another player lands on their castle -- sort of like a simplified version of Monopoly. Mini-games occur in between turns and give winning players an advantage within the board game. Some of these mini-games include violent imagery like harpooning an octopus or smashing a spider, but the majority of them have no objectionable content. It is possible for players with multiple 3DS systems to play in multiplayer mode; only one game cartridge is required.
Is It Any Good?
Pac-Man Party 3D takes a page out of the Mario Party book and ties together a board game mechanic with interspersed mini-games that give significant advantages to players who can outperform others in quick tests of reflexes and spatial recognition. The 30-year-old yellow icon does not capture the same magic as Mario Party, largely because the board game component is uninspired. The game is designed to be accessible to all players, but as a result it comes across as dry and boring. That being said, the mini-games are great and take advantage of all the 3DS's unique features including the microphone, accelerometer, and 3D visuals. The inclusion of classic arcade games (Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig Dug) is also a very nice feature. There is probably enough fun to be had from this game to make it worth a purchase, but players may need to muddle through some of the game's less inspired gameplay along the way.
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