Zany Pac-Man 256 Lets You Toast the Ghosts With Lasers

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I haven’t played a Pac-Man knockoff with anything handling vigor in years. Pac-Man Party? Snore. Pac-Man World Rally? Come on, really? Just how lots of ways could you retool/exploit the maze-running escapades of a pellet-gobbling electric-lemon pizza?

Alright, so Pac-Man and an unlimited jogger stroll into a bar, as well as yeah, I would certainly be guffawing as well, until I downloaded Pac-Man 256 for my iPhone (additionally for iPad) as well as did the entire light-bulb-eureka thing. Due to the fact that, god knows why, it works.

Maybe due to the fact that it’s by Hipster Whale, the studio that re-spun Frogger as an endless runner covered in pixel art inside a vortex of in-app acquisitions and also cheekily called it Crossy Road. With Pac-Man 256, Hipster Whale has actually generally taken that retro-futura shtick as well as glossed it into Toru Iwatani’s 1980 gallery masterpiece.

Everyone knows how Pac-Man works, right?

Visualize Iwatani’s geometrically simplified dot-choked labyrinth getting to past the top of the display times infinity-that’s the basic direction you have to hotfoot it. Rather than a standard 2-D play-space, you’re floating over a vaguely 3-D one that’s angled to the right, like a leaning tower of Pac-Land.

And then it gets weird.

Ghosts put in from the leading as you scroll the screen upwards, and not simply the common four shades but an army’s worth poised to obstruct your progression (though snarfing power pellets still transforms them into sulky blue treats). At the same time, forcing you to relocate ahead is a passionate tribute to Pac-Man‘s legendary 256th degree kill screen: a swirling, multicolored ASCII tornado that gives off an eerie digital susurrus as it gradually feasts on the puzzle in your wake.

Simple enough, and worth a view those points alone. Yet after that you start unlocking the game’s deceptively simple power-ups, whereupon Pac Man 256 loses the clutch and also upshifts from ‘kind of fascinating experiment’ to something that’s both gonzo and sublime.


What if Pac-Man could fire a constant, long range, ghost-toasting laser beam of light for a few secs while relocating? He could now. Another power-up slows ghost motion to a humorous snow-blanketed crawl. A 3rd makes you a non-suicidal bomber, efficient in eliminating groups of nearby ghosts at the same time. You unlock all this things by noshing pac-dots as well as choosing three beforehand, which then show up arbitrarily in the maze.

And you’ll require them, considering that your challengers are method smarter here. Pinky currently waits till you’re line of vision, then asks for at (and also relocates faster than) you. Spunky, one of the newcomers, floats in place, snoozing until you’re compelled to obtain close. Blinky will provide chase after throughout the breadth of the map, as well as do so with Terminator effectiveness. Glitchy, another beginner, appears like a ghostly variation of the kill display bug, yet ultimately ‘un-glitches’ and also arbitrarily takes on the actions of one more ghost. The video game is you sandwiched in between that and also the inexorable kill display wave, in perpetuity.

Some of it’s merely the light touches, like the way the display quick-zooms when you consume a ghost. Or that chaining 256 dots promptly takes out all currently visible ghosts. Or the comic audio flourishes, like sleigh bells that jangle throughout of the freeze power-up. Or that eating pac-dots uninterrupted makes you go faster, incentivizing (or, you could suggest, tempting) you to take more dangerous routes.

The designers let you peek at all kinds of metrics, also. There’s your high rating, yet additionally your longest ghost as well as pac-dot chains, coins gathered, power pellets consumed, highest fruit multiplier, and also which of each ghost kind you consumed. And the studio’s taken care to appreciate your battery life, so while the game performs at 60 frames each second by default, you could lose that to 30 and eject a bit a lot more play time by clicking ‘save battery’ in settings.

256 is a pay-to-play video game, providing ‘credit ratings’ that may as well be quarters, which is neither lovely nor homage-y. Each video game costs one credit, as does each continue. If you’re not competent, you’ll blow via your allocated 6 in a couple of minutes, at which factor you could (a) watch ridiculous, inescapable video clip advertisements to replenish your stock, (b) get a pack of 12-credits for $0.99, or (c) await the credit ratings to fill up at a stultifying rate of one every 10 minutes.

Were those Pac-Man 256‘s only three play choices, I could not recommend it.

But there’s a fourth that saves the day: you can spend $7.99 outright as well as unlock unrestricted credit reports. There’s a $4.99 in-app coin doubler, and I imagine we’ll see various other optional boosters later on, yet if you just really want to play the game on its very own terms, 8 bucks obtains the task done.

A fifth ‘cost-free play’ choice allows you example Hipster Whale’s items token-free and also sans power-ups, yet after that you’re just playing Pac-Man on a road-style board that’s falling down behind you. Which is perhaps a proper allegory for our falling apart domestic facilities, yet missing the zest of laying apocalyptic waste to Pac-Landia with all those madcap bombs, lasers and also tornadoes.