PAC-MAN 256... Reviewed!

This game is simple... challenging... fun... and super affordable!

PAC-MAN 256 delivers that blast from the past in a new way. Granted I've played some nifty PAC-MAN games in the arcade that do new things with the old concept, but... what this one does is open up that top bounding box so you can go on an endless pellet chomping adventure (for as long as you can).

PAC-MAN 256 is brought to you by the same team that delivered Crossy Road (remember that?). Chomping down pellets (Pac Dots), power pellets, ghosts, and fruit are not lost in this game... but the do something cool to freshen up the IP. So why is it called... PAC-MAN 256? I was curious about that myself, until I found out through gameplay. Instead of just chomping the regular pellets... and gaining points off of them, you will see a number tally with each consecutive chomp. 

If your consecutive pellet feeding frenzy ends before 256... nothing happens, you see that number appear (i.e. 116) and that's it... you start over at 1. On the flip side, if you can avoid ghosts and prevent yourself from running into those blank spaces (with no pellets around) long enough to get 256... BOOM!!! You kill every ghost on the board in that area. I don't know about you, but... that's a pretty big, especially when ghosts are on your digital butt. Another addition delivered in this game... are the... power ups. 

You get over 20 power ups in this game like the Laser... which is very effective as long as you're aiming straight at them. You can cut down all ghosts in that line. Thumbs up.

The Tornado power up... is... okay, it will go after a few ghosts. Nothing to really write home about.

Freeze... which is one of the ones I like to use, will show the movement of all the ghosts. This goes a long way in terms of getting through some areas. These areas are the con of this game.

Bomb... I haven't found to be as effective. It works to get ghosts in an area, but... its a one and done, its not something you can use again and again in a specific time span.

Giant can be fun. This power up is self explanatory. You eat the power up... PAC-MAN grows and can squish ghosts. I am not a gigantic fan of this one because if you're on a squishing spree and there are multiple ghosts around, you're done if you don't clear them out and you don't have an escape route. Squish some, but get out before your timer goes away... don't try to squish it up until the end... or it will be your end.

Stealth... can be very useful, ghosts can't see or harm you. I haven't used this one as much, but I've thought about adding it to my arsenal.

Fire... is cool (although technically its hot). You leave a fiery trail, which is great for those ghosts that like to pursue, but if they come from the other way... just cut back into your own inferno to avoid being taken out.

Trap... lays traps around the area to catch ghosts. This is an okay power up, but I don't use it because its not covering me completely. They're around, but they're not something that i'm setting for ghosts coming after me... they just get dropped in. From my experience... the traps haven't been dropped in useful areas, which sucks, so I haven't used it much at all. If you do, good luck.

Magnet... basically attracts nearby items to PAC-MAN, including the power up time extenders. Other power ups turn into time extenders which can help you increase this power up. You can take down ghosts if you obtain 256 pellets with the magnet, but other than that... you have nothing to take them out because its only a magnet.

PAC-MEN give you the ability to summon clones of yourself to gobble up ghosts, but they are not continuous. If a ghosts catches you in between the time they deploy... you're a goner.

Shatter... is a power up that allows you to summon stalacmites and smash them for points. If you're after a higher school, this could work... but I don't see a point in using this one.

Pyro... is a recommended power up that spreads fire in all directions. So if ghosts are after you, it doesn't matter where they're coming from... they're toast (unless the time runs out).

Twinado... summons two tornadoes that chase ghosts, but don't expect to be able to control them.

Optics... is a power up similar to the laser, except it bends around corners.

Boom... is like the bomb, but you can trigger multiple mini-explosions based on the number of ghosts you touch. I've used this a few times... its okay.

Regan... makes pac-dots/pellets will regenerate, which help with your score and increasing your chances of hitting 256.

Radar... is a power up that projects a rotating beam that kills ghosts, but if they move into an area where the beam just was, its no use. You don't control it... so its not as good as the laser.

Cherries... is a pretty cool power up that allows PAC-MAN to turn nearby ghosts into cherries if they go into the ring around you. This is a plus to up your score, but if the glitch is too close for comfort... all this is good for is getting rid of ghosts because you won't have time to actually collect the fruit. It can be a good multipurpose power up... so if anything, keep that it mind.

Sonar... emits a pulse that scares away ghosts, just remember that it won't send them running in all directions. They'll move back, but if you need to get around that corner... forget about it.

The Electric power up electrifies PAC-MAN and zaps nearby ghosts... I was shocked when I first saw this one. It has a nice reach, but the reason I don't use this one regularly is because it doesn't shock every ghost. It will zap a ghost like... (hmmm) every 2 or 3 seconds. That may be perfectly fine for you, but i'm good.

Beam... creates a vertical beam that clears ghosts above and below. This is one of my favorites, because you can do a lot of damage and clear an area by merely going from left to right or vice versa. The laser beam is hitting everything above or below you, its not blocked by any barriers... so when you unlock this one, don't shy away from using it.

These power ups don't initially run as long as you'd like, but they make do until you build up enough coin to upgrade them to run for a longer duration. So not only does the endless runner aspect add to the replay value, but... so does the ability to build your power ups, and... did I forget to mention the multiplayer?

PAC-MAN 256 has a 4-Player multiplayer option in this game... even if its offline multiplayer. That should add to the fun factor of this game, which is simple enough for even a super casual player to pick up. Bandai Namco missed out on an opportunity to make this an online multiplayer.

Visuals deliver different strokes for different folks... from that classic 80's PAC-MAN in 2D, 2.5D, and 3D as seen below. I'm not a super fan of all themes, but... I appreciate the options (the CEDX theme rocks). Crossy Road is also a nice vibrant change of pace, so you aren't just playing with one theme... switch it up.

Price wise... this game is affordable fun at $4.99 that both adults and children can gather around and play to your hearts content. It's offline... so family time and parties come to mind.

I can't forget about the con. The con is the fact that you're going to lose at times because every pathway is blocked. I'm not talking about routes that seem blocked that you can slip through by the skin of your teeth... no no. I'm talking about all paths being blocked... with ghosts and a glitches on your behind. That can be frustrating at times, but... being able to rack up a serious score after some fine evading... feels rewarding... especially when they visually show your old score being crushed by your new one.

Overall, PAC-MAN 256 is just one of those simple games with fun factor... replay value... and affordability that you can pick up and put down. Adding simple... fun games to the mix definitely helps with variety versus burn out from any one genre.

Fun factor: 5

Visuals: 5

Replay value: 5

Price: 5

"5 / 5 Cool Points"

Brought to you by the... Baby Fu Clothing Co!