Google has marked April Fool’s Day by bringing the classic arcade game Ms. Pac-Man to Google Maps. On your phone, simply open the Google Maps app and you’ll see a new pink icon above the Current Location and Directions buttons. Tap it and you’ll be whisked to a playable Ms. Pac-Man stage, complete with ghosts, power pellets and fruits.

Left: A view of Washington streets on the Google Maps app for Android. Right: A game of Ms. Pac-Man on those very same streets.

Left: A view of Washington streets on the Google Maps app for Android. Right: A game of Ms. Pac-Man on those very same streets. Incidentally, the Google logo dynamically moves to a spot where it doesn’t overlap maze paths.

You begin with five lives and play by swiping on the touchscreen to navigate around the stage. The experience seems to differ on iOS and Android versions of the app, with reports that the latter doesn’t allow you to choose the streets you want to play on.

The desktop browser version of Google Maps also features the gag, with an “Insert coin” button on the bottom-left corner to the start the action. This version does let you choose the general location of the stage, and hovering over the button with your pointer will show a preview of the stage boundaries.

The desktop browser version of Google Maps also features the game

The desktop browser version of Google Maps also features the game

Depending on where your view is, the stage can be very simple or stupidly complex. From my own testing, streets must cross at least three sides of the viewing area to generate a stage. The downside of simple stages, of course, is that you can more easily be trapped between ghosts with nowhere to escape.

Stages can be as simple as you can successfully generate…

Stages can be as simple as you can successfully generate…

…or as complex as you dare to take on

…or as complex as you dare to take on

Street layouts that don't meet requirements will not generate

Street layouts that don’t meet requirements will not generate

What makes this game more challenging than the original is that the wonky maze paths make for an unpredictable wraparound effect. In other words, when you cross the edge of the stage, you might know know where you’ll reappear on the opposite side.

For the best experience, try looking for areas that have curved, circular or merging roads. If you’re really brave, then seek out cul-de-sacs! Once you’ve run out of lives, you can share your score on social media or save it to a leaderboard by signing in.

For more information on how to play, check out the support page. The game will be available until April 4.

Related Links:

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