Nintendo and Bandai Namco announced this week they’d be releasing a new Pac-Man game on the Nintendo Switch. And not just any Pac-Man game either: Pac-Man 99 is a Pac-Man battle royale game. No, I didn’t think I’d ever hear the words “Pac-Man Battle Royale” either, but we have it now, so what is it?
In terms of gameplay, the game is a much more complicated version of the standard Pac-Man mechanics. Just to clarify upfront: There are not 99 Pac-Men on the same map. Instead, you’ll each be on your own individual maps with your own versions of Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde. You basically have to outlast the 98 other players in the game of ghost-and-mouse. There are the usual Power Pellets you can eat whenever you feel the ghosts are getting too uppity, and you complete the map when you chomp all the little pills.
Where Pac-Man 99 differs from the standard is that, when you eat a Power Pellet and then nibble the ghosts on your map, you send them to another map to harass a random opponent. Those ghosts appear as “Jammer Pac-Man,” which are essentially rival Pac-Men that will slow your Pac up if they catch up to him. Since being slower means it’s very easy for him to get caught by the ghosts, you can see why this would be a handicap. Another wrinkle is that you can collect “sleeping ghosts,” which become even more specters for you to send at your opponents once you chomp a Power Pellet.
Pac-Man 99 is available for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, much like Super Mario Bros 35 before it. There’s no indication that it’ll have an expiration date like its predecessor, but let’s hope not — we’re still not over the Death of Mario. I don’t know if I can mourn Pac-Man too.