Retrocon 2024

Game Review: Pac-man 256

Pac-man returns like never before with a fun "glitchy" new spin on the classic arcade game. Bandai Namco's new app has taken the infamous Pac-man kill screen and converted it into an endless runner format that should please both modern and retro gamers. Take a peek at the trailer...

There have been many adaptations of Pac-man over the years, but I think the new Pac-man 256 captures the heart of the original while adding fun new elements. The characters, maze, fruit, and pellets all have the classic feel. The major difference comes with the ghost's movements and Pac-man's new power-ups. 

Every ghost has a different movement depending on its color. Pink ghosts are fast, but only follow Pac-man in a straight line. Blue ghosts always run in a circular pattern. Plus there are new ghosts like the gray ghost that sleeps and only becomes awakened when Pac-man nears.

The new power-ups are a-maze-ingly fun! Pac-man now can use lasers to zap any ghost in his path, bombs to blow up any ghost within the blast radius, become enlarged to pancake any ghosts in his path, and 12 more fun new pac-weapons. Each power-up can be upgraded using coins to last longer during the game.

Two more features in Pac-man 256 give the classic game new elements. Eating a chain of pac-dots without encountering any blank spaces can be very beneficial. Not only does it boost your score, but reaching the magic 256 number destroys every ghost on the screen! And then you have Pac-man's main nemesis, "the glitch." Other than avoiding all ghosts, Pac-man must now stay on a steady ascent toward the top of the screen or the glitch will appear at the bottom to devour him and end the run. 

Like I mentioned before, Pac-man 256 uses coins for upgrades but also features credits which you'll need to have to play with the power-ups. Luckily, credits are time-based and the 6 inital credits are renewed over a period of 60 minutes. Credits and coins can also be earn through special prize boxes which can be opened by completing goals (like destroying 10 ghosts with the laser) or through watching promo videos.

I'm a huge Pac-man fan and my love for the game has rubbed off over the years particularly on my 8-year old son. We decided this morning to both download Pac-man 256 on our Android tablets and see how it measured up. Both of us were really surprised at how well we liked the game both in looks and gameplay. It's safe to say we both have a new favorite app to enjoy together.

Pac-man 256 is available now as a FREE download in iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon app stores. You'll also have the option to buy extra credits or pay a flat $8 charge for unlimited lifetime credits. For more gameplay action, check out IGN's video review below. I highly recommend Pac-man 256 for '80s kids and their kids!

Headline image courtesy Impulse Gamer

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