It is a bit sad when lack of greedy design choices in mobile games is enough to make me root for a title and enjoy it way more. Pac-Man 256 is pretty neat for many reasons, but the way it deals with microtransactions, free to play mechanics and the like is also very interesting and didn't impact my enjoyment of the game. While simple, it's pretty competent at what it set out to do and I had a good time with it.

The core concept of the game is simple; You're pacman in a neverending maze and you need to keep on going forward because a glitchy mess is forming behind you, while moving around, you collect dots which are used to unlock power-ups, find fruits to multiply your dots collection, eat ghosts - via power pellets - and find coins and other special items. The more dots you eat in a row, the bigger your score gets and there are different type of ghosts with various patterns. The pac-man style they've added to this game - which could have been used with almost any other franchise - is pretty good.

The power-ups are a little bit dumb, because they more or less are extra power pellets, in the sense that all they do is give you the ability to kill - or weaken - ghosts. You unlock them at certain dot thresholds, and then you can equip three of them in your loadout. If you still have energy, they're added to the map and if you don't have energy, you can still play, collect dots and kill ghosts via power pellets.

This is what I enjoyed so much about Pac-Man 256, you can still play even when you're out of energy. You can use coins to upgrade your power-ups and while you do so, they're unusable. Like I said earlier, this almost makes no impact on the game since a laser that kills ghosts is the same as a power-up that turns you into a bomb to kill ghost, which is pretty similar to a power-up that makes you giant (squishing ghosts as you go), and all of that boils down to power pellets.

Pac-Man 256 is a pretty neat arcade game on iOS, the controls work fairly well and there's plenty of stuff to unlock and a really cool 'Classic 80's' style that you can buy. I had fun with it and while the power-ups were a bit iffy, this game lets itself be played and enjoyed even without spending  anything, so it's got that over many others!

AuthorJérémie Tessier