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Game review roundup: Charming retro roundup 'Pac-Man Museum+' leads slate of recent releases

"Pac-Man Museum+" rounds up several classic titles. Photo courtesy Bandai Namco.
Posted at 1:40 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 16:40:49-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Here's a look at the slate of recent game releases:

PAC-MAN MUSEUM+

Part retro anthology, part Pac-Man-themed dollhouse experience, the collection rounds up 14 Pac-Man titles from decades past, chasing you through the highs and lows that came throughout the years of one of gaming's most recognizable icons.

Most games are locked at the outset, with each title bearing challenge missions that let you unlock the others. The game provides a steady drip of new Pac-experiences, forcing you to play through the good, bad and ugly of the Pac-verse in order to unleash the full experience.

As you chip away at the requirements to unlock all the games, you also get music, wallpaper, statues and other trinkets that you can place around the virtual arcade at your whim. Throughout my thousands of hours of playing Pac-Man games through my life, I'd never had the urge to build my own Pac-Man arcade, but there's a Zen garden-style feeling to the experience. The need to unlock a just-out-of reach ghost or Pac-Man statue can be quite a compelling reason to make you slog through the dreary "Pac-Land" one more time.

At its core, the best Pac-Man games nail the very essence of what it takes to get gamers to overcome untold frustrations to resume the cat-and-mouse essence of fleeting thrills and decisive setbacks. "Pac-Man Msuseum+" is probably the best way to capture the best of what the character has to offer in a one-stop shop.

PINKU CULT: HEX MORTIS

Part visual novel, part RPG lite, "Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis" takes many cues from the "Persona" franchise.

As you investigate mysterious disappearances that plague your town and social life, you chase after an elusive girl wearing a fox mask who seems to be tugging at the strings.

Obeying orders from the Shokan Corp, you follow leads, find new stomping grounds, and — maybe too often — are asked to backtrack and retrace your steps to unearth a missed item or person to speak to.

The dev team at Valorware clearly marches to its own oddball beat, and there's something to appreciate about the unadulterated vision. On the other hand, several bottlenecks tend to stifle your progress. If you're the type of player who needs hand-holding to make it through a game like this, you will likely find yourself relying on walkthroughs to get by.

REMOTE LIFE

A 2D shoot-em-up space combat adventure, "Remote Life" sets you against swarming drones, massive bosses and frantic chases that put your reflexes and nerves to the test.

A joyfully bizarre, wily art style colors the experience. The art style subtly comments and enhances the storytelling.

Developer Next Game Level draws liberally from influences such as "Gradius," "R-Type" and "Life Force."

While there's not a whole lot of new ground treaded here, the game is a welcome flashback for those who used to pop quarters into arcades to put their space shooter skills to the test.

THIS WAR OF MINE: FINAL CUT

A remastered version of the 2014 indie sensation is taking a victory lap with added content.

The game takes on all the more resonance amid the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

Playing as everyday people trying to survive a massive bombardment, you scrape together resources and work to protect your life from soldiers and vicious scavengers.

The survival strategy game throws one difficult choice after another at you, forcing you to make grim, lose-lose decisions as you attempt to scrape by. Themes of sacrifice, moral equivocation and exploitation in the name of the greater good spring forth.

Including all the updates and expansions that developer 11 Bit Studios has cranked out over the years, the grim, punishing experience has aged well.

Publishers provided review codes.

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Phil Villarreal is the senior real-time editor for KGUN 9. He is also a digital producer and host of "Phil on Film" seen weekly on Good Morning Tucson, Phil moved to KGUN after 17 years with the Arizona Daily Star. He is married and has four children. Share your story ideas and important issues with Phil by emailing phil.villarreal@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.