The gameplay of Ms. Pac-Man is very similar to that of the original Pac-Man. The player earns points by eating pellets and avoiding ghosts (contact with one causes Ms. Pac-Man to lose a life). Eating an energizer (or “power pellet”) causes the ghosts to turn blue, allowing them to be eaten for extra points. Bonus fruits can be eaten for increasing point values, twice per round. As the rounds increase, the speed increases, and energizers generally lessen the duration of the ghosts’ vulnerability, eventually stopping altogether.
There are also some differences from the original Pac-Man:
The game has four different mazes that appear in different color schemes, and alternate after each of the game’s intermissions are seen. The pink maze appears in levels 1 & 2, the light blue maze appears in levels 3, 4, & 5, the brown maze appears in levels 6 through 9, and the dark blue maze appears in levels 10 through 14. After level 14, the maze configurations alternate every 4th level.
Three of the four mazes (the first, second, and fourth ones) have two sets of warp tunnels, as opposed to only one in the original maze.
The walls have a solid color rather than an outline, which makes it easier for a novice player to see where the paths around the mazes are.
The ghosts’ behavioral patterns are different, and include semi-random movement, which prevents the use of patterns to clear each round. Blinky and Pinky move randomly in the first several seconds of each level, until the first reversal. Inky and Sue still use the same movement patterns from the previous game to their respective corners, again until the first reversal.
Instead of appearing in the center of the maze, the fruits bounce randomly around the maze, entering and (if not eaten) leaving through the warp tunnels. Once all fruits have been encountered, they appear in random sequence for the rest of the game, starting on the eighth round; a 5000-point banana can be followed by a 100-point pair of cherries.
The orange ghost is called Sue, rather than Clyde; her color was later changed to purple in Pac-Land to differentiate her.
When Ms. Pac-Man makes contact with a ghost and dies, she spins around, or as the back of the flier says, “she dramatically swoons and falls” rather than folding in on herself like the original Pac-Man did.