Games Of the Week: Pac-Man 256, Q*Bert Reloaded, Dice Mage, Puzzlemancer, The Bafflement Fires

1982

This week I’ve got another late games round up, but the games were worth the wait. First up, I have a classic arcade game updated by the developers of Crossy Road. I’ve also got an RPG that will scratch the dice rolling itch. I close out the week with a surreal board game.


Pac-Man 256 – iOS(Universal)

PAc256

Pac-Man 256 is a retake on the classic arcade game from the devs at Hipster Whale. The game remakes the maze and ghost action into an endless runner, trying to keep ahead of the classic game’s kill screen. The power pellets and ghosts are here, but they’ve both been changed from the original game.

The ghosts now come in several flavors. Grey ghosts will sleep until Pac-Man gets too close, then chase after you. Pink ghosts will charge in a straight line when they see you, and stop when they hit a wall. Orange and blue ghosts continue to roam the stage at random.

Power pellets will still let you eat ghosts, but you’ll also unlock new powers as you play. Not all of these are useful. (Looking at you: bomb and stealth.) I will say that my childhood frustration with the ghosts got a lot of glee crushing them as a giant Pac-Man. You’ll unlock new power ups as you keep playing, but you can level up your existing one using coins that you collect as you’re playing. You also get coins by completing challenges, but you can also watch videos to collect coins.

The game is free to play, but there isn’t any of the IAP driven nonsense. You can simply pay $7.99 to remove the credit system. The credits regenerate six at a time, and you’ll pay one credit each time you play with power ups. It’ll cost you another credit to continue. If you have no credits, you can just play the vanilla version of the game.

What’s Good: Great way to update the arcade classic as an endless runner. Lots of variety to the powers.

What Sucks: Some of the powers are pretty useless.

Buy it?: If you’re a classic arcade fan, or just want more Crossy Road type fare, check out Pac-Man 256. Download it on the App Store for free.


Q*Bert Reloaded – iOS(Universal)

QbertReloaded

Q*Bert is getting a make over as well, though this one is much closer to the original games. In fact, it includes the original version of the game updated with touch controls. The new game has stages with multiple levels, and a much more forgiving difficulty curve. They introduce the bouncing balls and snakes slowly, and the stages are generally smaller. As you advance stages get bigger, and you’ll collect gems to unlock alternate character skins for Q*Bert.

Fans of the classic game might find the slower introduction to the game to be a bit of a drag. The first levels are really easy, and you’d have to try to fail. The other pacing problem is that you’ll need to play each level three times to get three stars, even if you meet all of the criteria on the first try. At least the classic game still has all the challenge you want.

You can pay $.99 to remove all the ads from the game, and they pop up between games. They aren’t the most intrusive, but I like that the option is there to remove them altogether.

What’s Good: Modernizes the game without removing the original’s concept and gameplay.

What Sucks: Difficulty curve a little too gradual, need to play each level at least three times.

Buy it?: Fans of Q*Bert or classic arcade games should pick up Q*Bert Reloaded. Get it on the App Store for free.


Dice Mage – iOS(Universal)

DiceMage

Dice Mage is a light take on the RPG, combining the rouge-like with a traditional dice rolling mechanic. You play the titular mage, starting out with basic equipment on your own little island. You’ll need to island hop defeating random enemies by rolling dice. Certain numbers will also have spells attached to them, causing additional damage.

The game is pretty fun. You get randomly generated equipment from chests and shops that pop up along the way. As with all rouge-likes once you die you die, though you can continue once. You get to keep your equipment, though your stats drop back down to the beginning level. There’s a ton of variety to the game, allowing each play through to be a bit different.

What’s Good: Variety of equipment and enemies keeps game fresh.

What Sucks: Dice rolling mechanic not for everyone.

Buy it?: If you’re a fan of rouge-likes or odd RPGs check out Dice Mage. Download it on the App Store for free.


Puzzlemancer – iOS(Universal)

Puzzlemancer

Puzzlemancer is a great action puzzle game. You play a Tsum Tsum style puzzle game, completing chains of pieces. Each chain you complete attacks enemies that are streaming at your character. You’ll fight bosses and collect coins, but this drops a lot of the RPG trappings of something like Puzzle Quest.

The coins you collect allow you to unlock different characters. Each of the three characters has their own set of spells that change the game somewhat, making for more replay value. If you don’t feel like clearing stages until you can get all those coins, you can buy them via IAP. The coins are also used for continues. There’s also ads that play after you die.

There is not a way to remove the ads. That’s probably is my only complaint with the game, as I feel that it’s a nice little action puzzle game.

What’s Good: Nice mix of puzzle and action.

What Sucks: No way to remove ads.

Buy it?: If you’re looking for an action puzzle game without the RPG trappings, check out Puzzlemancer. Download it from the App Store for free.


The Bafflement Fires – Web

TheBafflementFires

I don’t know how many of you want to play a board game based upon the scraps of a Freemason psychologist’s files. That said, The Bafflement Fires might be the most original game I’ve found on the Internet. It is essentially a trivia board game. You and up to four other players, or AIs, take turns rolling and going around the board.

While that doesn’t make this game unique, the questions you find will. Featuring questions about the end of the world, watches coming to life, and portals hiding in meadows, the game is not for literal thinkers. There were more than a few places that the answers seemed entirely arbitrary.

This is an odd little artifact that for the right kind of player is going to be a lot of fun. For most other people, this is going to be really frustrating. The art style lends that that disconcerting feeling, the scribbles and hand written feel adding a lot of atmosphere. The world the game builds is convincing and odd.

What’s Good: Look and feel of the game is masterfully created and believable.

What Sucks: Arbitrary nature of the game’s question will annoy some players.

Buy it?: If you’re looking for a weird art project with a novel approach to a board game, check out The Bafflement Fires.