Preview: Pac-Man Party

Did you know that, before the driving force of Pac-Man was named "pellets," the items were called "cookies?" I didn't either, but that's exactly what a Namco rep told me while showing off upcoming Wii minigame collection Pac-Man Party. She did this, you see, because that's what Pac-Man (and his nebulous cohorts) spend a lot of time chasing. Cookies. Also, not a single "power cookie" in sight. Madness!

Unfortunately, Pac-Man Party isn't quite as exciting as that tidbit of trivia. In fact, it's downright awful (at least the bit I played of it was). At a recent press event in NYC, I played through some of the game's party mode with the aforementioned Namco rep. We were first asked which character from the Pac-Man universe we'd like to choose.

Wait, there's a Pac-Man "universe?" Isn't it just ghosts and Mr./Ms. Pac-Man?%Gallery-97630% We were then ushered to a virtual game board where everything is determined by minigames. Rolling the dice? Instead you play various minigames to see how many places your character moves. Land on the same space as an opponent? Minigames to figure out who takes the spot. Decide not to play the game's main mode? Your other option is ... minigames -- the same minigames interwoven in the story mode, actually.

Here's the major issue with Pac-Man Party's minigames: every single one I played was one of two types. Sure, aesthetically they looked a bit different from each other, but I was either playing "shake the Wiimote until something happens" or the always exciting "point and shoot and stuff." The game boasts "more than 45 minigames," but I'm wary to believe it's anything more than reskinned versions of the same thing.

Perhaps most enticing about PMP is the fact that it comes packed in with Galaga, Pac-Man, and Dig-Dug. That's right -- the most exciting part of a new Pac-Man title is the fact that it comes with three other games. Poor, poor Pac-Man. You deserve better, old friend!

This article was originally published on Joystiq.