Pac-Man is one of those games that is very simple to understand, but incredibly deep and complicated to master. This is why Pac-Man 256 is so addicting and fun to play. This is traditional Pac-Man gameplay at its core, but with a twist that will keep you playing for hours. Even after more than 30 years, I’m not tired of eating power pellets and ghosts over a never-ending maze of pixels and glitches.
What makes Pac-Man 256 different than previous versions of Pac-Man is the implementation of the 256th level Glitch, also known as the kill screen. You do what Pac-Man does best (eating pellets and ghosts) while the giant glitch continuously devours the endless board and everything in it.
The main goal is to reach a new high score, standard fare for Pac-Man veterans, but now you have extra power ups to defeat ghosts and multiply your overall score. The same tactics one would use in the original Pac-Man to avoid ghosts, and score more points, work in the same way here.
To say that Pac-Man 256 is addicting is a big understatement. I found myself quickly restarting each time I died, hoping that my next try would be better than my previous. Every high score I reached made me want to push myself further and further, and eventually I found myself playing for hours nonstop.
There are ten different power ups that Pac-Man can use in the game. With each run, you gain currency to upgrade the different power ups you find while roaming on the board. Upgrading the power ups makes their effects last longer, cover a wider area, and even affect a larger number of ghost that chase you.
Multiplayer is a nice addition to Pac-Man 256, though I wish this could be done online too. You can play with up to four players in one game working cooperatively together to reach a high score, but this is only possible locally and not online. Having four players in one game can definitely get a bit hectic, especially with the camera keeps zooming out to have everyone focused on screen at the same time.
When a teammate runs into a ghost, you can bring them back by eating a small Pac-Man extra life you find on the board. This is handled very well and is incredibly fun to play, but again, none of this can be done online. For a game as simply designed as Pac-Man, it’s a shame that there is no online support for multiplayer, it would have made everything perfect.
Pac-Man 256 is enjoyable for Pac-Man veterans and casual players looking for a simple game to dive into. The fun glitch twist and addicting gameplay make this a great downloadable title. The multiplayer is a lot of fun, despite the zooming camera and not being able to play with your friends online. If you enjoy any of the Pac-Man games of old, then you should pick up Pac-Man 256 right away.
This review was based on a digital review code for Pac-Man 256 for the PlayStation 4 provided by Bandai Namco.