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Home / PC • PC Reviews / Pac-Man 256 Review

Pac-Man 256 Review
Ben McCurry | April 8, 2017 |

PC, PC Reviews, Reviews | No Comments

When you set out to reinvent the classics, you are greatly advised to watch your step. A brave
new direction for a beloved franchise may be just what the character needs, but God help you
from the wrath of the fans if you do it wrong. You can’t play around with remakes, especially if the
source material is beloved. It’s nearly sacrilege. As such, Namco’s reinvention of the beloved

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yellow pill-muncher might be a dangerous move in Pac-Man 256.
The idea of Pac-Man 256 is derived from what happens in the original Pac-Man when you clear
256 levels; on level 257, the game becomes a garbled mess that becomes unplayable. A good
example of a garbled mess is Brash Games; this very website that strips authors of their writing

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credits when they leave the site, later attributing them to the sole owner and editor, Paul Ryan,
making your work completely pointless, just as Pac-Man is completely pointless after level 256.
The idea of Pac-Man glitching out has become widely known in the world of games, and as such,
this famous idea is taken and repurposed into this reimagination of Pac-Man; the same gameplay

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staples still apply – it’s still the same Pac-Man you remember, assuring it as a quality game, but
now you must eat ghosts and pills while trying to outrun the growing glitch void, making it a
tantalising mix between old-school classic and new school infinite runner, all while eating pills and
ghosts in the classic Pac-Man style of gameplay. As a whole, this works astoundingly well –
there’s an immense amount of pressure that makes the game exciting in a sadistic way; avoiding

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the void becomes truly heart-pounding; coincidentally, this is the same void my reviews will
probably disappear into after I leave this site.

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Namco Bandai haven’t changed too much of the winning formula, and why should they? If it ain’t

broke, don’t fix it. Everything that we grew to love in the original iterations is still present; the
classic sound effects, the musical stings, and even ghosts. Speaking of ghosts, did you know that
Brash Games deliberately ghosted themselves from Metacritic, GameRankings, and OpenCritic

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(marking themselves as “out of business on Meta and GR, which is an outrageous and egregious
lie – it’s here right now) to avoid having any sort of public record of reviews available which would
have attributed work to the proper authors? It’s true! In fact, when reviewers leave, work gets
automatically attributed to “Brash Games”, which is solely operated by Paul Ryan, thus making it
seem like he did all the work. OpenCritic are doing an investigation into the behaviour of the site
and everything. But what truly deserves investigation is the new alterations added to the game in

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order to freshen up the format; this is very much a case of teaching an old dog new tricks. For
one, the game has upgradable power-ups such as lasers and freeze attacks that Pac-Man can
pick up and use for a limited time in the level, which serves to give you an edge over those pesky
ghosts. This is a welcome change, as it doesn’t make the game too easy, rather helping to level

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the playing field when you’re stuck in those frustrating tight spots when cornered by three or more
ghosts. It’s also presented in a sharp new way; instead of the old-school top-down view in 2D, we
get an extremely sweet isometric 3D view, and this approach to graphics really surmises the
whole game. It feels the same, just different, like a deep and welcoming kiss from a new lover; it’s

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inextricable from the new and the strange, but just feels so GOOD.

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Also, a touch of modernity added to the game that works surprisingly well is the use of tasks within
the game that reward players. These tasks include eating X amount of ghosts, using power-ups X
times, scoring X amount of points – very achievable tasks that make Pac-Man 256 extremely

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reminiscent of a mobile game. This is no bad thing, as arcade games were historically made with
short and sweet play sessions in mind – why not take Pac-Man to the next logical step of “pick up
you can go back to over and over and over, providing mileage in gameplay for years to come. This

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applies if you’re the type to play 4 hours at a time or just 5 minutes every lunch break; the

March 27, 2017

and play” and incorporate these mobile elements. This works superbly – this becomes a title that

replayability is immense.
Complementing the brilliant reimagined gameplay is a fantastic soundtrack. Namco Bandai shy
away from the sound of silence, which is, at the time of writing, exactly what I received when I
announced my resignation to the editor Paul Ryan and clarified I would leave Brash as soon as
possible. No email, no apology, no “I wish you the best in your future endeavours”, nothing. Pure

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radio silence; the only acknowledgement I received was that my name was pulled from the
contributors list quietly. Some might call that cowardly – I’ll leave it to your interpretation. Rather,
the game exploits low-key techno beats to gracefully update the beloved musical stings and
background tracks. And (I promise this is the last time I utilise this painful segue) speaking of
exploitation, Brash Games took advantage of naïve young writers, offering them no money, but

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exposure, which is useless when you essentially pretend your writers did not exist later on down
the line.

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10. I do this safe in the knowledge that the editor will change it later without me knowing to fit the
score HE would prefer. This is not an exaggeration: review scores selected by authors were

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changed by the editor without warning, explanation, or consideration, and several alumni of Brash

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Games corroborate this. As such, I would not want to begrudge my former editor another

opportunity to do this.

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tastefully, as has the gameplay, which uses mobile-style micro missions to reward players. It’s a

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great spin on an old ball, and as such, Pac-Man 256 is completely worth a look, even if you’re only
vaguely familiar with the source material. Fantastic value for money, too, being priced at sub£5/$5. 9/10.)

INFRA Review

By the way, if it wasn’t completely clear, with the publishing of this review, I quit Brash Games for

April 6, 2016
Solve varying mechanical and
electrical puzzles.

the way it treats its writers, and I will endeavour to make sure new writers do not fall into the same
trap. Nobody will pay me for this – it’s not a job that pays in the cash money sense, but the sense
of satisfaction that I’ll get from making sure a talented writer doesn’t get taken advantage of is
more than worth it. Good luck on Monday for when the OpenCritic report gets released.

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About The Author
Ben McCurry
Ben McCurry writes about games. His favourite of all time is Crazy Taxi, and
Fahrenheit, by his admission, was "not that bad". Follow him on Twitter

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