With Pac-Man 256, the tiny yellow hero has finally hopped on to the endless bandwagon. The essence of the game remains, but with all the fun of Candy Crush’s free-to-play aspects thrown in.
Pac-Man 256 places our pizza shaped friend into an endless maze. The goal is still to eat as much as possible, of course, but there are no levels. You just have to continue on through the endless maze until a ghost kills you or you get stuck. Then it’s Game Over, and try again.
Pac-Man must eat everything in his path: Pac-pellets, special fruits, and those all-important Pac-pills that make ghosts vulnerable to you for a few seconds.
There are two big twists in Pac-Man 256; the endless scrolling that see the scene fade from the bottom up - forcing you to climb higher – and the new powers and power-ups.
The powers provide a new way to escape difficult situations. For example, one of them blasts out a bolt of lightning to kill enemies, while another will freeze them. And, believe me, you will need these.
Pac-Man 256’s levels may be infinite, but your lives are not. You can store six credits, so after six deaths (which doesn’t take long) you will have to wait for them to recharge – unless you pay, of course.
The price of victory
Pac-Man 256 has intuitive controls, with swipes guiding the direction you move. Each power you collect activates the moment you pick it up, so you have to plan your route through the world carefully if you want to get the most out of them.
Collecting coins on your way through stages will increase the potency of special abilities – sometimes making the effect more far reaching, or making them last longer. At first it is easy to gain these upgrades but - as with so much of the game – the longer you play the harder it becomes, encouraging you to part with real world money.
Pac-Man 256 is a clear homage to the original arcade Pac-Man. The colors and retro graphics are clearly inspired by the era (with a little modern neon-funk applied), along with occasional graphical glitch-effect to jazz things up. The music also takes the original Pac-theme and arranges it in interesting ways.
Good work Crossy Road team
Pac-Man 256 has been developed by Hipster Whale, the minds behind the awesome Crossy Road. And it shows, with a refined control system and wonderfully retro style. It's an easy game to play, but also adds some fun intricacies to the Pac-Man formula... And yes, this game is an endless game that wants you to pay and play forever – but maybe that’s also just an homage to the game’s arcade roots.