Namco Museum – Nintendo Switch Review

Namco were kings of the arcade. Their games are so iconic, fun, well designed, and simple that they have lasted well over decades. A game like Pac-Man seems to have been the only game in its franchise when you only see people playing the first game your entire life. They are so good, people are willing to buy the same games in a package for every new console. It’s become a staple in the industry. With a new video game console comes another package of Namco’s classic arcade hits. However, is this latest collection worth the price?*

*Please note, I’m reviewing the collection as a whole. Not the individual games. So in this review I’m focusing on the content and features included.

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Why Bother?

One might look at this collection and scoff at it when compared to the Xbox 360’s Namco Museum Virtual Arcade or Namco Museum Megamix but there is more than meets the eye. Yes the collection is a hell of a lot smaller, but even for a small collection it packs a punch. How? Games never before released in a Namco arcade collection. One not even released in America before. You have the expected games such as Pac-Man, Dig-dug, and Galaga. Who can say anything about those? The names speak for themselves. But the more interesting titles here are Tank Force, Rolling Thunder 2, and Splatterhouse.

Those are some heavy hitters right there. Tank Force has remained a Japan exclusive, t’ill now. All three of those games are new to the Namco Museum series with Rolling Thunder 2 and Splatterhouse, in my opinion, being the main course. Interestingly enough, including Splatterhouse in this collection makes it the first Teen rated Namco Museum collection ever released. Another interesting inclusion with this collection is Pac-Man Vs, making it the first GameCube title to make it onto Switch. This game requires two Switch game consoles but you can play with up to two other players on a single console. You don’t need two copies of the game to use another Switch either, as a free Pac-Man Vs only option is available as well on eshop. This only feeds into my need of GamCube VC games honestly. Nonetheless, it’s the first time Pac-Man Vs. has been ported to a home console since its original release. Namco Museum for the Switch is still a hefty price-tag of $30 but I feel with the inclusion of titles never seen before in these collections, it helps in making the value feel worth it.

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Lacking in Features

This game is kind of mixed in regards to its features. It has an online leaderboards, which is wonderful, and every game has a challenge mode where you can obviously you complete challenges to the best of your abilities. Option wise you can change aspect ratio, turn the screen 90 degrees in portable mode for a more authentic arcade experience, add scan lines, and zoom in on the screen for a bigger picture. When it comes to resizing the game screen, it can be a little lackluster. Other than a few games allowing a test menu to pop up, there really isn’t much else here.

Changing screen options kinda sucks. You have it at its default, which is the smallest screen in the world, or have it too big and it doesn’t fit. The only graphical option I found that was any use was the Zoom option which could enhance the screen by a pixel at a time. The leaderboards, while a nice addition, got annoying as hell. Anytime you complete a game a popup asks if you want to post the highscore. That’s fine but I wish there were some option to turn it off or an option to automatically upload high scores. The constant menu appearing up became a quick annoyance. Challenge mode is a welcomed option. It puts some extra spin on the games. Pac-Man, for an example, focuses on how many ghosts you rather than pellets. In this way it feels kinda like NES Remix. Some are lazy however. “Get a high score!” In classic arcade games, wouldn’t you do that already? Turning the screen 90’s degrees is, once again, neat but how are you to keep it in that angle? In a certain situation like this, you’d have to have a unique stand but if you don’t, like me, its a feature you wont be using much. The collection claims to be using HD rumble. It uses rumble definitely, but HD rumble? I doubt it. None of the rumbles felt refined enough to resemble a certain feel.  At the moment, 1, 2 Switch is still the best game that utilizes this feature. I hope more companies focus on a better inclusion in future games.

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Verdict

This has been a short review, but what can you say? It’s a collection of games from decades ago. Whats been said about them has been said. I can’t really add anymore to that. However, I can talk about the collection as a whole and tell you if it’s worth any value at all. With that in mind, it’s a really good collection of classic Namco titles with little features outside of that. We’ve seen Namco Museum for over a decade now, with the same titles being released over and over but this title managed to put in some games that we haven’t previously seen in a collection before. That’s what gives this collection some meat behind it. I can’t tell you how happy I am that Splatterhouse has finally been included even despite the collection having to get a higher ESRB rating. The best part of all that is I can take this on the go. Smartphones can already do that but without button controls, it’s not nearly as fun as a Switch.  The biggest problem with the collection is the price-tag. It’s $30 on eshop. I don’t quite feel it’s worth that much. If it ever goes on sale, I’d highly recommend. For people who love retro arcade games, you’ll enjoy this pack a lot. Now all we have to wait for is the Virtual Console.

Score: 7/10

 

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