Pac-Man 256 has easily become one of my favorite mobile games over the past year, taking the concept of the classic dot chomping game and turning it into an endless runner of sorts, as you gobble up ghosts, power-ups and fruit while avoiding the perilous kill screen creeping up behind you. Good on Hipster Whale to create a unique concept around the game, instead of, well, you know, Crossy Road-ing it.
Now that same game has come to consoles, and some people might fear an Angry Birds-style backlash. Well, you can relax. Unlike that overpriced series, Pac-Man 256 comes in at just the right price — $5 – and also adds a little something that bumps up the value a little bit.
The concept is still the same – run like hell while you bump up your score and try to stay alive – but there’s something about using a controller instead of swipe commands that makes Pac-Man 256 just a little bit better. It adds a little more responsiveness that allows you to survive a while longer – unless, of course, you screw up big time. Then it’s your own fault.
The power-ups included here are excellent, including everything from bombs to lasers to wipe out the ghostly opposition. And you don’t have to worry about being nickeled and dimed, as you can earn coins through various missions and unlock new goods, as well as upgrading them to become more efficient, just where they need to be. You get a good amount of money’s worth here.
Graphics for Pac-Man 256 don’t really go above and beyond, but I enjoyed the simple design of the original game, and this port stays par for the course, with a nearly never-ending grid of dot-chomping madness. It still looks very good, and the sound effects are about what you’d expect from an arcade classic of this nature.
So where’s the big addition? With multiplayer, of course. While it’s certainly no Pac-Man Battle Royale – the mother of all competitive Pac-Man games – 256 does include a four-player mode where players try to achieve the highest score possible while avoiding getting defeated. It can be a little confusing at times with so many Pac-Men (and Women?) wandering around, but it’s fun for a couch session or two, especially with those that have played the game so feverishly on mobile devices.
While Pac-Man 256 is hardly award-winning fare, it’s a mobile-to-home port done right, with just the right amount of content (without necessary in-game purchases) and some cool multiplayer to go along with the endless running. You’ll more than likely play it in spurts, but that’s just how Hipster Whale designed it anyway, so no biggie. It’s an enjoyable twist on a classic game that brings it into the here and now – and, at the very least, gives us something to do until the next Pac-Man Championship Edition rolls around.