Pac-Man 256 is an endless maze runner from Hipster Whale and 3 Sprockets. In this game, you’ll take control of classic hero Pac-Man as he gobbles pellets, ghosts, fruit, and power-ups while earning points for every item consumed. Gamezebo’s Pac-Man 256 Tips, Cheats and Strategies will help you stuff Pac-Man’s pizza face to the crust and beyond.
Coins vs. Credits
There are two types of currency in Pac-Man 256, and they’re used for different things. Coins have one purpose: upgrading power-ups. You’ll spend coins to make your power-ups last longer and award more points. Coins can be collected within the maze itself while playing, by completing objectives, and by watching video ads.
Credits are spent before starting a round in order to use power-ups in your next run. It costs one credit to use power-ups on a playthrough, no matter which power-ups you select. Credits are also used to continue a run if you die, although this can only be done once per run (this means if you have five credits, you can’t choose to continue five times). They have one final bonus use, as well: if you used a credit during your run, the pellets you earn towards your next power-up unlock will receive an extra “credit boost,” which is usually about 10 percent of the pellets you earned that run.
Credits are capped at 6 and are earned automatically over time, similar to an energy system, but you can play the game without power-ups and without spending a credit anytime for free. You’ll also sometimes earn credits (2) by watching a video ad.
Check the Pac-Shop
You can make permanent purchases to make Pac-Man 256 a more premium experience. The in-app purchases aren’t immediately apparent in-game, but there are two “unlocks” in relation to coins and credits. The first is the coin doubler, which doubles all coins earned. To purchase this for $4.99, enter the power-ups menu and tap the “+ coins” icon in the upper-right corner. This will open the Pac-Shop that contains the coin doubler. The other in-app purchase is a bit harder to get to. You need to run out of credits and then choose something that requires credits (either play with power-ups or continue after death). The Pac-Shop will open with the option to buy a temporary credit boost, watch an ad for credits, or purchase unlimited credits for $7.99, which removes any credit restrictions.
Eat More to Score More
Your score is based entirely on what you eat, not where you go. Unlike Crossy Road, which awards points strictly for distance, Pac-Man 256 is entirely concerned with what you are able to eat. Getting farther along the maze will help you earn a higher score by providing more pellets and ghosts to eat, but the distance itself has no bearing on your results. Because of this, feel free to explore the maze horizontally and backtrack as needed, especially to snag fruit and power-ups.
Play in Landscape Mode
Pac-Man 256 can be played in landscape or portrait mode, but just like in Crossy Road, landscape reigns supreme. In portrait mode on a phone, you won’t be able to see the entirety of the maze. Landscape will show both sides of the map, allowing you to plan out your path more easily and be aware of what’s waiting on the other side of a warp tunnel. The benefit of landscape is felt most strongly in early stages of the game: as you get farther along, the maze becomes thinner, and even in portrait mode you should be able to see from the left side to the right.
Stand Still When Necessary
In the world of endless games, it’s easy to forget that you don’t have to be moving continuously. Pac-Man will stop moving if he hits a wall without being given another directional input. Use this to your advantage in tight spots. For instance, if you’re coming up on the patrolling green ghosts, stop at the closest wall and wait for them to pass before moving on. With the “end” of the level clearly visible in the glitch that’s chasing you from behind, it’s easy to know how much time you can spend in one spot while avoiding incoming dangers.
Use Power Pellets and Power-Ups Wisely
One of the important strategies in the original PAC-MAN is knowing when to use power pellets: you don’t just want to gobble them all up at once. The same is still true in Pac-Man 256; although it’s an endless game and you’ll always come across more as you go along, you also want to use the ones you come across in the most advantageous way possible.
- First, it’s important to be aware that upon eating either a power pellet or a power-up, any others on the board will turn into white cubes. Eating these cubes will extend the life of your current power, but only slightly. If your power runs out, any white cubes remaining on the board will return to what they were originally and can be eaten and activated.
- If your current ability is from a power pellet, other power pellets will remain as such — they won’t become white cubes — and eating them will refill your power meter entirely. In the image above, Pac-Man is coming up on a power pellet refill and a power-up that has become a white cube (partial refill) is in the lane below him. If you have a mostly full power meter, it can be wise to wait before eating a second power pellet — otherwise you’ll be wasting part of it. If you wait until your first power pellet expires, however, you’ll lose any ghost multiplier currently active, so eating multiple power pellets is a balancing act.
Always Aim for Multipliers
There are numerous points multipliers in Pac-Man 256, and all of them will help you build up a decent score.
- Ghosts: Eating a single ghost in power pellet mode awards 10 points. Ghosts’ point values increase by 10 for each one you eat on a single pellet. So the second ghost you eat awards 20 points, third is 30 points, tenth is 100 points, etc.
- Pellets: The normal, small pellets that line the entire maze are worth one point each. When you reach a chain of 16 pellets, you’ll bank 16 extra points. This bonus set of points occurs at every double of the chain from that point on. So, at 32 points, you earn 32 points. At 64, 64. At 128, 128.The largest chain possible is 256: when you reach 256, the board flashes and all visible ghosts will be destroyed. Once you hit 256, the chain automatically resets to one.When eating pellets, your current chain is visible as a small, white number alongside Pac-Man. When you hit the milestones mentioned above, they’ll appear as larger blue numbers. If you break your chain by missing a pellet, the point you were at in your last chain will appear as a yellow number where it was broken. In the image above, you can see we broke a chain at 20 pellets on the left side of the screen, and we just reached the milestone of 16 with our current chain.
- Fruit: Fruit is an overall multiplier that applies to everything you do while the fruit is active. Eating a piece of fruit will cause its icon and multiplier to appear underneath your overall score; when this flashes and then fades away, the multiplier is no longer active. Different fruits award different multipliers:
- Cherry: x2
- Apple: x3
- Strawberry: x4
- Orange: x5
- Green Melon: x6
This means if you eat a cherry and have its multiplier active, everything else you eat will award 2x its normal amount of points. Pellets will be worth two points instead of one. Ghosts are worth 20 instead of 10, etc.
Note that fruits replace each other, so if you have a fruit multiplier still active and eat another fruit — even if it has a lower multiplier — the new fruit and multiplier will immediately take effect. Due to fruits’ spacing on the board, however, this rarely happens.
Always Eat Your Fruit
The most important of the multipliers mentioned above comes from fruit. When you eat a piece of fruit, it assigns a certain multiplier to everything you do, and larger multipliers will add up quickly. Think about it this way: if you ate three ghosts with a standard power pellet, you’d earn a total of 60 points. If you ate three ghosts while a melon multiplier (x6) was active, you’d earn 360 points. That’s a huge jump for just one fruit. Besides the lingering and oh-so-critical multiplier, fruits also award points just for eating them. Fruits’ base point reward is their multiplier x30:
- Cherry: 60 points
- Apple: 90 points
- Strawberry: 120 points
- Orange: 150 points
- Green melon: 180 points
The main lesson is: always eat your fruit. Even better, eat it right before or after a power pellet for best results.
Know Your Ghosts
There are eight different types of ghosts in Pac-Man 256, recognizable by both color and movement style. You’ll get to know them well as you play, but it’s nice to be aware of their patterns ahead of time.
- Blinky: Single red ghost. Blinky is one of the smartest ghosts and the most vengeful. He’s much more focused on nabbing Pac-Man than Inky or Clyde, who will often stroll right past you. Blinky will cross the entire maze to reach Pac-Man, and he takes all the most logical turns to get there. He basically finds the shortest path to Pac-Man and follows it. Blinky is the same speed as Pac-Man, so you can outrun him, but you won’t get far. You’ll have to take a lot of sudden turns and roundabout ways to avoid Blinky.
- Pinky: Single pink ghost. Pinky stands in place until she sees you, then will race at you in a straight line. She can only see Pac-Man if he enters her line of sight — so not around corners or through walls. She’s faster than Pac-Man and will catch him if you continue on the same straightaway long enough. To avoid, turn a corner when she’s giving chase. If the corner is at the end of her trajectory, she’ll turn and follow you upon seeing you again. Keep turning until you’re no longer within her line of sight.
- Spunky: Single gray ghost. Spunky stands in one spot and sleeps until Pac-Man comes near. Once you’re within a few steps of Spunky —f rom any direction, even behind a wall — he will wake up, flash white, and come after you. Spunky will give dedicated chase for about five seconds before falling asleep again. Even if he’s about to capture Pac-Man, if enough time has passed, he’ll automatically fall asleep. The same Spunky can be awoken more than once if you stay in his proximity for too long or cross it again. Spunky is the same speed as Pac-Man, so you can outrun him, but just barely.
- Clyde: Single orange ghost. Clyde and Inky (blue ghost) have similar strategies and you’ll often see them near one another. Clyde likes to travel vertically: he’ll often move from the top of the screen to the bottom as Pac-Man makes his way in the opposite direction. Given the choice between going straight down and turning, Clyde will typically choose to continue going straight. Note: this is not true 100% of the time, and Clyde will occasionally turn. However, if you’re on a straightaway with Clyde coming at you, you should probably get off at the next intersection. Clyde is slower than Pac-Man: if you follow him for long enough, you will run into his back.
- Inky: Single blue ghost. Inky likes to travel horizontally. Inky will often remain in the same general area of the map, but going in circles. You’ll rarely see him cross the entire width of the maze; he usually travels clockwise or counterclockwise around a chosen shape, preferring to turn over going straight. However, if the area he is following is long, he will proceed around it in the same direction for quite awhile. If you were on a straightaway with Inky coming at you, unlike Clyde, it’s often safe to assume he will turn off at the next exit. He walks at the same speed as Clyde, so if you were to follow Inky for long enough, you would catch up to him.
- Sue: Chain of purple ghosts. Sue moves extremely slowly, but deliberately. Sue will only move in a horizontal line, restricting her to a single lane. However, she tracks Pac-Man from afar and moves towards him at all times, attempting to block his progress. If you continue in the same vertical lane for long enough, you’ll eventually find Sue has moved herself in front of your next intersection and is stopped there. To get around, either quickly travel to the next intersection before Sue can get there, or bait her to moving in another direction before heading back to the original entryway.You’ll probably rarely get caught by Sue, but she makes it easy for other ghosts to catch up to you while you’re trying to find an alternate path. Note on both Funky and Sue: although they always appear as groups of ghosts, they count as individual ghosts when you’re eating them, with the standard multipliers for each. You can eat all but one ghost in a Funky or Sue chain, and the sole survivor will continue in the same pattern as before.
- Funky: Chain of green ghosts. Funky always features a series of ghosts right next to each other. They only travel horizontally, patrolling long corridors. Like Sue, Funky will travel left until it hits a wall and then right until it hits another wall, and then repeats this indefinitely. Pac-Man will often have to wait at an intersection for Funky to pass before moving on. He moves faster than Funky, so following them on their path risks running into them from behind. If there is a warp tunnel in Funky’s lane, he will enter it.
- Glitchy: Glitchy starts appearing slightly later in the maze; you’ll rarely see him right near the beginning. He looks like the glitch wave that is following Pac-Man: a series of twitchy black pixels with random numbers and letters scattered throughout. Glitchy will appear suddenly in the maze as if teleported in; he’ll first just be the glitch itself as he materializes. At this point, you can walk through Glitchy without harm. However, after a few seconds, he becomes a full-fledged ghost and will kill Pac-Man if touched. Glitchy takes on the strategies of any of the non-chain ghosts; you can usually tell what “type” of Glitchy it is by watching his movements — a stationary Glitchy is either Pinky or Spunky, for instance. He will also disappear from the maze randomly, allowing him to avoid power pellet Pac-Man sometimes.
- General ghost behavior: All ghosts will turn blue and become edible after Pac-Man ingests a power pellet. Ghosts with attack patterns will not be aggressive when blue — for example, Pinky will not rush at Pac-Man and Spunky will not wake up.Also, no ghost can walk the opposite direction on a conveyor belt (the arrows that sometimes appear within the maze itself). Walking against the arrows slows Pac-Man down, but ghosts cannot do this at all. Attempting to enter a conveyor from the wrong end will just stop them and force them to turn around. If they enter a conveyor from the correct end, they will always ride it all the way to the end. This makes conveyors a good place for Pac-Man to hide from ghosts for short periods.
Pac-man takes orders ahead of time, meaning his movement is based on the last swipe instruction you gave him. This means you can tell Pac-Man where to go before he actually gets there. For example, if you’re on a long straightaway and you swipe right, Pac-Man cannot go right—but he will continue going straight until he reaches a right turn, at which point he’ll automatically turn right. If he reaches a dead end without an appropriate instruction — if he reached a left-only turn but you last told him to go right, for instance — he’ll just stop at the dead end until you swipe a different direction. You can change your input at any time; he’ll always use the last swipe you gave him to decide where to go.
Watch the Meter, Not the Ghosts
Watch the power pellet meter instead of the flashing ghosts. When your power pellet ability is getting low, the blue ghosts will begin to flash white to indicate they’re turning back to normal. However, they begin flashing well before you’re in any real danger of them changing back. The power pellet meter that appears above your score total is a more accurate indicator. It’s also worth noting that every time you eat a ghost in power pellet mode, you gain a tiny bit of the meter back. This is useful if you’re going after a Funky or Sue chain while low on power pellet: you usually earn enough of the meter back with each ghost eaten that you can safely go after an entire chain without worry.
Toss the Bad, Keep the Good
Continues remove ghosts, but not power-ups. If you die and choose to use a credit to get a continue, all of the ghosts that were visible on screen will be removed. Any power-ups or power pellets will remain, however, giving you a short breather before being bombarded again.
More General Tips and Strategies
- Warp tunnels offer brief invincibility. The warp tunnels that sometimes appear on the edges of the maze let you quickly travel from one side to another. However, sometimes it’s hard, especially in portrait mode, to see what’s waiting for you on the other side. The good news is that the tunnels offer a brief period of invincibility once you emerge: long enough that if a ghost is right outside the tunnel, you won’t die, but not long enough that you can abuse it with constant use.
- Don’t go after coins. Coins will appear randomly throughout the maze, but they’re not worth seeking out. To begin with, they’re few and far between and award only one coin per pick-up. They also don’t contribute to your score at all. You’ll earn a lot more coins by completing objectives or watching video ads. There’s no reason to avoid a coin you’re about to pick up, but learn to ignore them otherwise. Also note that multipliers don’t apply to coins, so if you have a x4 strawberry active, you won’t earn 4 coins for picking one up.
Choose power-ups wisely. There are 16 different power-ups in Pac-Man 256 that you’ll unlock by playing the game and eating pellets. You’ll inevitably find your favorites through trial and error, but some are better than others for certain situations:
- Many of the later power-up unlocks are improved versions of earlier powers. Optics is a better version of Laser, Shatter is a better version of Freeze, Twinado improves on Tornado, etc. Because of this, you should probably wait to put a lot of coins into upgrades until you’ve unlocked later power-ups and decided which you prefer.
- But still put a few rounds of upgrades in, even for early power-ups. You’ll want to extend their duration by a second or two, which makes every power-up immensely more useful.
- For high scores, use ghost-killing power-ups. If your goal is a long chain of pellets, the best power-ups will be a bit different (see below). For the standard goal of getting the best score possible, disposing of ghosts is key. The preferred way is with power pellets, but your power-ups will be the next best thing.
- The one exception to the above rule is Shatter: it doesn’t let you kill ghosts (only slows them), but the stalagmites you shatter award 150 points each and often appear in sets of 5-6. If you were able to reach 5 stalagmites with a melon multiplier active, that’s worth 4,500 points, which is a huge offering from a single power-up.
- For ghost-killing power-ups, we prefer the ones you control directly and with unlimited ghost-killing potential. These are Laser/Optics and Giant, and to a lesser extent Bomb/Boom and Fire/Pyro. The problem with abilities like Tornado/Twinado and Trap are their unreliability: you don’t know where they’ll go or how many ghosts they’ll actually reach. We’ve seen Tornado turn and head straight into the Glitch, completely wasted. Pac-Men only kills a max of three ghosts, so we never select it.
- The nice thing about Laser/Optics: they stretch across the entire screen, so even if there’s a ghost out of view — if it’s in a straight line from Pac-Man — you still hit it.
- The nice thing about Bomb/Boom: if you don’t run into a ghost while it’s active, it will still detonate when the power meter runs out. This means you can choose to use it defensively as a shield and still get some points at the end of its run.
- The nice thing about Giant: ghosts don’t react to it the way they do power pellets. This means they’ll still come after you, basically giving you easy kills. Be careful, though, as you don’t get an extra warning that Giant is about to wear off and need to watch the power meter carefully.
No matter what you pick, keep in mind for any power-up: given the choice between the power-up and a power pellet, choose the power pellet. Power pellets provide multipliers for each ghost killed. Power-ups do not: even if you ate 10 ghosts while Giant, you would only get the base points for each ghost. When you upgrade power-ups, that base point value will increase, but it’s never as good as a long multiplier run with a power pellet.
How to Go for a 256 Chain
Aiming for a 256 chain requires a different playstyle. There are two Game Center leaderboards for Pac-Man 256. The first tracks overall high scores, the obvious goal of the game. The second tracks the number of times you’ve reached a pellet chain of 256. Getting a high pellet chain is easiest if you go into the run with that specific intention and plan ahead.
- First, it’s often easier to play without power-ups for a high chain run. Power-ups’ placement on the board can be distracting and make it difficult to see gaps between pellets. If you want to use power-ups for a high chain run, we’d recommend defensive and avoidance ones like Stealth or Bomb. Freeze can also come in handy, but you run the risk of getting stuck behind a slow-moving ghost with it active.
- Your biggest concern in a high chain run are those gaps between pellets. Often pellets will have a small space or even a few spaces between them naturally; hitting those empty spaces will reset your chain. Even a single pellet-sized gap will reset your chain. The one exception is if the gap exists on a corner: you can sometimes continue the chain by turning the corner extremely quickly.
- Grab power pellets as protection, not as a score boost. On a high chain run, you’ll want to mostly avoid ghosts, but sometimes that won’t be possible. Pick up power pellets that are along your path but don’t seek out ghosts. Just use them as a way to ensure you can continue moving forward uncontested.
- Always look ahead. Plan your path at least two moves in advance and be aware of where gaps and ghosts are. You won’t be able to backtrack on a high chain run without losing your chain, so being able to consistently move to a new location is key.
- You can stop if need be. Although you can’t go backwards, you can stop moving and retain your chain. So if you hit a wall and need to wait for a ghost to pass, feel free. Pac-Man will retain the chain indefinitely while stopped and will pick it right back up as long as he continues eating pellets once you move on.
- Finally, use the bottom of the maze to your advantage. Pac-Man spawns with a bit of maze underneath him that usually contains just pellets and one ghost. You can build up the start of your chain down here easily before the glitch catches up, usually reaching about 32 in a chain at least.
Should you go for 256 chains and a high score? Ideally, that would be the ultimate run, but it’s extremely tough to focus on both goals at the same time. Playing without worrying about chains allows you to backtrack, dodge ghosts, collect more fruit and power pellets, and build up a score with a more flexible plan of attack. We’ve found that although high pellet chains are nice, unless you can guarantee you’ll have a fruit active when you hit the big bonuses — 128 and 256 — they don’t award enough extra points to really incentivize going after them. This means for the standard, high score chase, don’t worry if you’re not getting high pellet chains. Aim for high ghost-eating chains and the score will follow.