In 1980, Pac-Man took the world by storm, and hasn’t stopped munching those pellets since. Through multiple revisions, from arcade cabinets, games consoles, and various mobile phone titles, Pac-Man has been played anywhere and everywhere… Now, he returns to the Xbox One in Pac-Man 256.
Pac-Man 256 offers the classic Pac-Man gameplay we’re so used to. Guiding the yellow guy around a level, with the goal to pick up all of the pellets whilst trying to dodge those pesky ghosts. 256 takes that base, and gives it a great little twist… Each level is a never-ending run, trying to accumulate as many pellets, and points, as you can without getting caught. Mix in various power pick-ups along the way, such as lasers, tornadoes, stealth, and the ability to make yourself bigger, and things start to get even more interesting. Power ups play a big part of Pac-Man 256, and can take a sinking playthrough to a victorious one. You have the option to choose three different power ups to take into the game with you, which you can change at any point from the main menu. Each of these power ups available to you can also be upgraded with the credits you earn along the way, making them more powerful.
However, your time in Pac-Man 256 is not limited to solo play, and you can grab three other friends for some local fun too. The aim of the multiplayer side is to gain the highest score, and to last the longest. Before long, living room rivalries shall develop, and it’ll feel like you’re huddled around the old arcade cabinet once again. Unfortunately there’s no online multiplayer, which I can completely understand. However you can still vie for top spot amongst your mates with the incredibly well-hidden online leaderboard, which you can only access once you’ve finished a game. It’s also here that you can see your single and local multiplayer stats, such as how many pellets you’ve eaten, which ghosts you’ve eaten the most, and which ghosts have caught you.
The sights and sounds of Pac-Man 256 are what you’d expect from a Pac-Man game. What I did really like, though, were the various options for stage “skins”. You can change the appearance of the stage into an array of different themes, such as classic Pac-Man, the office, Crossy Road, and more. This adds a bit of variety into the visual aspect, and gives you the opportunity to find the perfect stage for you play on. The accompanying music and sounds are classic Pac-Man, from the ever familiar “wakka wakka”, to the dreaded death whine.
Overall, Pac-Man 256 is a great little game to pick up and play, whether you have five minutes or 50. The familiar style and gameplay will suit anyone whether they played the original, or are just starting out. It offers an accessible challenge, which with the right strategy can result in fantastic scores, but of course, is met with the peril of completely screwing it up within seconds. Unfortunately the lack of online multiplayer does let it down a little bit, but it’s not a massive drawback.
Pac-Man 256 is now available to download for £3.99 from the Xbox store.