June 25, 2016

Pac-Man 256 Review

Last year Bandai Namco gave Pac-Man a boost with the new game Pac-Man 256 for mobile devices and it proved to be quite popular. Almost a year later the game has made the jump from mobile to consoles and PC, but does it keep the fun alive.

In this version of Pac-Man, you must make your way up an ever growing board, while avoiding all the ghosts, some you know and some new and at the same time, you must avoid the infamous level 256 glitch from the original arcade game, which is moving up the board behind you. The idea is simple, but there are a few ways you can play it and given that it is now on consoles, they have also added a new multiplayer mode, to up the challenge if you have friends around.

Moving about the board is easy enough, just change directions with the stick or dpad and Pac-Man will change course, as you move about though, you can eat the dots that line the board, with the goal of eat 256 in a row, which will give you a bonus. There are breaks in the dots though, which if you hit, your counter resets and you need to start again and while you can generally see the breaks easy enough, you need to avoid the ghosts as well, which can mix things up a lot.

Each of the ghosts have a unique ability, blue ghosts will just keep going around on the same path, orange ghosts will move down the board, taking turns as they want, whereas pink ghosts will not move until you cross their line of sight and even then they will move in a straight line. There are also Green, Purple, Red and Grey ghosts, all of whom have different actions, so learning which colour corresponds with which action is crucial to helping you keep ahead of them. The game does offer up the traditional Pac-Man power up, which turns all the ghosts dark blue and allows you to eat them, giving you a nice score boost, but 256 mixes things up with new ones, like Laser, Tornado and more. These power-ups are all unlocked as you eat more of the dots, with the latter power ups like Stealth needing significant dots to unlock. As you play the game, you can also collect coins, which you can use to upgrade the power-ups, giving them a longer duration and more.

Nothing that the game offers is any different from the mobile release last year, even the themes are the same, what it does offer is a new multiplayer mode, where you have two to four people playing on the same board, attempting to earn the best score. The mode can get chaotic with four people playing, all with power-ups going and such, but it is still fun. Perhaps the game’s biggest issues is that is does nothing new, sure multiplayer is different, but only those that can convince friends to play along with enjoy it. Even the menu navigation is still the same as it is on mobile, the gifting of free coins returns as well, don’t mistake this for anything bag about the game, just if you have it on mobile, getting the console or PC version will not deliver you anything different.

Pac-Man 256 on consoles does not offering anything different to the experience to the mobile versions, the multiplayer mode is fun, but you need to have friends around to play it. The game is enjoyable, but because of its roots in mobile game design, the feeling of playing on console is strange to say the least.

Thanks to Bandai Namco for supplying the game for review

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