We previously met Pac-Man 256 (our review) with a hefty dose of praise when it first debuted last year, complete with us honoring the Namco/Hipster Whale team-up via inclusion in our 2015 Best Games list! Although many cosmetic options have been released since then — which let you modify the entire experience to look like other games, including even Crossy Road itself (our review) — one problem has long remained intact. The chief-most dilemma suffered by Pac-Man 256 on launch was that you couldn’t easily play the game for however long you preferred, at least not without forking over a somewhat hefty $7.99 unlock-fee.
Now some of you might point out it was always free to endlessly play Pac-Man 256 to your heart’s content, but that was only so long as you were willing to do so with all of your power-ups disabled. Yet playing through Pac-Man 256 with your power-ups disabled is admittedly a lot like trying to eat cake containing no frosting whatsoever: it’s technically doable, but it utterly sucks all the enjoyment from the process. This was further not aided by the fact most of the randomly assigned in-game missions weren’t even finishable without power-ups, further deprecating this frosting-lacking alternative.
However — fear no further — for those unsavory credits have been permanently banished from Pac-Man 256’s realm, and with this comes the ability to indefinitely play with power-ups enabled! Since the accursed credits are finally no more, optionally continuing can now be executed either via advertisements or the expenditure of coins (which were always a different thing from the previously vexsome credits). While this already would be more than enough cause for some serious celebration, there’s actually more helpful changes onboard than just the utter elimination of Pac-Man 256’s credit-system.
It also used to be that whenever you upgraded a power-up it would then become unusable until the process was completed, with each successive upgrade taking longer than the one before it. Now all upgrades in Pac-Man 256 are carried out instantaneously, and furthermore cost less to boot, meaning you’ll never again find yourself waiting around to use a new power-up until after you’ve first upgraded it four or five times. Speaking of which: power-ups are now unlocked in relation to how long you’ve spent playing the game, rather than in relation to how many dots you’ve successfully munched through.
Ergo — whether you’ve been playing all along, never bothered to start, or even if you took an extended break at some point — there’s never been a better point in time to take another trip round that endless glitch-filled block known as Pac-Man 256.