There have been various variants and attempted improvements of the original Pac-Man game over the years, but none have resonated as brilliantly as the original itself - until now.
Pac-Man 256 bills itself as ‘PAC-MAN perfectly reinvented for your mobile phone or tablet’, with an endless maze putting a new twist on the ‘endless runner’ genre while cleverly taking advantage of Pac-Man’s most terrifying threat - the famous GLITCH that occurred once a player passed level 255 to 256.
This glitch saw random text characters appearing on the screen and messing up the maze Pac-Man runs around in, effectively making the game unplayable.
In this endless maze version of Pac-Mac, you can travel in all four directions but ultimately you are moving up the screen as the glitch is chasing you from the bottom, while you must also evade the famous ghosts who are chasing you.
However, as this is an endless maze, there are many more than four ghosts, but the pill munching aspect of the game remains the same as you evade and outsmart each ghost.
Naturally, there are power pills that appear in the maze at various times to turn the ghosts blue, so that you can eat them. There are fruits to collect for which you get points, and there are credits you can pick up to buy extra lives.
There are also more than 20 new ‘ridiculous’ power ups, such as a Laser that destroys all ghosts in its path, a tornado to whirlwind ghosts up, up and away, a giant mode which turns your Pac-Man into a giant to crush oncoming ghosts and more.
You can also pay an in-app of US $7.99 for unlimited credits, but just as with Hipster Whale’s smash-hit Crossy Road, there is no hounding you to buy - the game can be played without spending a cent, although if you run out of credits you can play without powerups until the next credit comes through.
VentureBeat explains that "you start with six credits, and you can spend one credit to play the game with power-ups enabled (like a laser or a freeze ray). You can also spend a credit — or sometimes watch a video — to continue after you die."
VentureBeat's explanation continues: "One credit regenerates automatically every ten minutes, and you can buy more with real money (including an “unlimited credits” option). You can earn in-game coins — which boost your power-ups — through gameplay or by watching adverts, and you can also buy them with real money."
And, if you chomp on 256 consecutive dots in a row, you see a special effect which I think eliminates ghosts in your path, too.
Even with all of that, the game feels like a game of Pac-Man blended in with the endless nature (until you die) of a game such as Crossy Road, the endless runner games and the original Pac-Man gaming experience - including all of the classic sounds, including Waka-Waka, the dying sound and plenty more.
There’s even Bluetooth controller support for the ultimate in button bashing, although the on-screen touch mode is absolutely effortless and a joy all its own.
Free to download and available on Android’s Google Play since 18 August 2015 and for iOS devices on the App Store since 19 August 2015, this is one heck of a cool little game that you will absolutely love to play, especially if you were a fan of the original Pac-Man experience!
Here are two must-see videos for this must-download game.
The first is the orignal 'teaser trailer' from a few months ago, while the second video is the actual launch video. They're both great fun to watch, almost as much fun as the game is to play!
1. Below is the original teaser trailer.
2. Below is the new trailer for the game:
On a separate but related note, Bandai Namco have also released a new version of the more traditional Pac-Man game for iOS and Android, not only to celebrate Pac-Man’s 35th anniversary, but to allow more than one person to play on the same screen at the same time as someone else.
This game is completely separate to Pac-Man 256 above, being the 35th anniversary version Pac-Man release (full of other features including different maps) and can be seen here.