App of the Week: Outrun ghosts and a glitch in this endlessly scrolling Pac-Man update

pac man 256 heroThose of you who were really great at Pac-Man may know of the level 256 glitch. Due to limitations in the game’s coding, when players got to level 256 of the original Pac-Man, they would be met with half-a-screen of scrambled alphanumeric characters and an unbeatable level. That bug is the new enemy in Pac-Man 256, an endless version of the classic arcade game for iOS and Android.

In Pac-Man 256, you still have to deal with ghosts trying to catch you while you munch on Pac-dots, eat fruit, and use Power Pellets to turn the tables on the ghosts. But players can also activate a wealth of other power-ups including stealth (making Pac-Man invisible to ghosts) and a laser (which vaporizes any ghost it touches). The power-ups appear just like Power Pellets around the board, and new ones are unlocked as player progress through the game.

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Players are also navigating an endless, 3D board to escape the glitch, which starts eating away at the bottom of the board. Pac-Man must navigate ever upwards, dodging ghosts, collecting pellets and staying alive. If a player does die, they can activate a one-time life saver, but it costs a credit, bring us to the bane of mobile gaming: the in-app purchase.

geekwireapp2As a freemium game, there are some annoying aspects to gameplay. To emulate the arcade play that inspired the game, players have just six credits when they open the game, with each restart and life saver costing one credit. They can get unlimited credits for $7.99 or wait anywhere from five to 10 minutes for a single credit to regenerate.

There are also coins in the game, which let users upgrade the power-ups, making them last longer or increasing their power. Users can buy a coin doubler for $4.99 to get more in-game currency.

Pac-Man rights holder Bandai Namco Entertainment hired game studio Hipster Whale, the creator of Crossy Road, to build the game. The styles of the two games are similar, with players having to constantly navigate up and to the right on a blocky 3D landscape. However, with the collecting the entertaining power-ups and the nostalgia surrounding Pac-Man, this glitch-based game is much more addictive and approachable.

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