Friday, 1 July 2016

Pac-Man 256: PS4 Review

Pac-Man 256: PS4 Review


Platform: PS4
Developed by Hipster Whale
Released by Bandai Namco

The gobbling never stops.

First released on iOs and Android in 2015, Hipster Whale's take on an endless Pac-Man was nothing short of a smash. Fiendishly addictive gaming, the game thrived on the infamous 256 glitch which ate up parts of the game.

Incorporating simplicity itself, you take on the usual formula of being Pac-Man and eating the pellets, while negotiating the ghosts and avoiding death. But in this endless maze runner, there are a lot more ghosts, power-ups and an inevitable glitch that destroys the board from the bottom up with unending pathological digital gibberish spreading over in its place (which of course can kill you).

Adding in missions, such as eating a certain number of fruit, of power ups and giving you the chance to collect credits to spend on boosting those power ups, makes Pac-Man 256's simplicity and reasons to play time and time again obvious to see. It's not a difficult game or one that really changes much each time you pick it up, but it is one that remains fun and is addictive each time you end up dead.

Chaining pellet swallowing brings great rewards, and power ups around the board make a difference - from tornados to swelling Pac-Man's size, there's enough to collect here to make it worthwhile. And the multiplayer element makes Pac-Man 256 an interesting game without deviating too far from its core raison d'etre.

Graphically, it looks tight. Meshing the old school aesthetics of the arcade game and bright colours, it's a no brainer on the next-gen console even if the game's engine doesn't exactly test the grunt of the PS4. When Pac-Man's killed, he explodes into a series of blocky pixels across the screen; each minor chunk of his inner core exposed for all to see.

It's easy to see why this handheld game has made the jump to a console - 3 hours on a Friday night was lost to its simplicity of execution and its well achieved gameplay. And for something that builds from a basis of 30 years ago, that's no mean feat. A great blend of classic and new, Pac-Man 256 is a fun addition to the pantheon of pellet-gobbling games and at a low price, well worth your time.

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