Welcome to EXPlay, (Explain & Play) the review series where we care not for scores but tell it how it is when it comes to every game we get our hands on, whilst also taking the time to include some lengthy gameplay, to give you the reader, the chance to shape your own impressions and views whilst watching and reading. In this installment, we’re covering PAC-MAN 99 by developer Bandai Namco.
PAC-MAN 99: (The Explanation)
Move aside TETRIS 99, there is a new contender coming into the arena. PAC-MAN 99 is an all-new Battle Royale arcade game that pits up to 99 players against each other in the most chaotic game of PAC-MAN you will ever play.
Like with PAC-MAN games in general, PAC-MAN 99 has our yellow pizza-shaped hero trying to evade ghosts whilst gobbling as many pellets as he can. Of course, it is not that simple this time around as you have to outperform the other 98 players trying to do the same. Whoever is victorious in being the last PAC-MAN standing is proclaimed PAC-ONE.
Things are also a little different this time around. The main goal is to gobble the Power Pellets and eat the ghosts that have turned blue. Doing so will create white outlines of PAC-MAN, called Jammer PAC-MAN, on other player’s courses. Jammer PAC-MAN slows down PAC-MAN if he comes into contact with them. This in turn will make him easy prey for the ghosts to catch him.
PAC-MAN 99 reincorporates and old mechanic into a new one; Ghost Trains. Ghost Trains are a long line of ghosts that snake around the stage. The ghosts don’t automatically form trains, however, they are formed when PAC-MAN comes in contact with the mini ghosts on the stage. They will join up onto one of the ghosts currently doing the rounds on the screen and form a train. You needn’t worry though, this is all part of a strategic tactic that by eating a Power Pellet and then eating all the ghosts in the train, you can change the tides and send your opponents multiple Jammer PAC-MAN to deal with.
Fruits also make a return and act as a means to refresh the stage with Pellets, Power Pellets, and mini ghosts. They spawn at what seems at just below the center of the stage. They come in hand if you have eaten all of the Power Pellets on the screen and are in dire need of another one.
Like in TETRIS 99, you can earn Badges for knocking out other players. You can also choose from a list of tactics like Counter, Hunter, Knockout, and Random in order to direct where you want to send your Jammer PAC-MAN. Though players must be warned that as easy as it is to turn the tides against other players, it is just as easy for them to turn it back on you again.
PAC-MAN 99 is free to download for anyone who has a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. It is just as well, because you will need a subscription to play it online anyway. It comes with a single game mode but there are other game modes that require a purchase in order to unlock them. The extra modes are offline modes in the form of CPU Battle that allows you to play against 98 CPU players, Score Attack allows you to play on your own with PAC-MAN 99 rules and three lives. The Blind Time Attack has you earn as many points as you can within the time limit but you can’t see your total score until Game Over.
As well as Game Modes, there are also themes you can purchase as well. These themes don’t just change the design of the stage, it can also change the style of the characters. The themes are based on classic Namco / Bandai Namco games and cost $1.99 each on the Nintendo eShop. There are multiple price points for the PAC-MAN 99 DLC, with the Game Modes DLC being at around $14.99, the themes at $1.99 each and a Deluxe version that includes the Games Modes and all of the themes for $24.99.
PAC-MAN 99 is probably the most challenging game of PAC-MAN that you will ever play and I have found it even more challenging than TETRIS 99. Seeing as the game doesn’t cost anything to download and play (except maybe, a limit-free internet connection, NSO subscription, your time, etc), you may as well give it a go on Nintendo Switch. You never know, you may even enjoy it!
PAC-MAN 99: (The Gameplay)
Developer: Bandai Namco
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Action, Adventure, Arcade, Platformer
No. of Players: up to 99 players
Release Date: April 07, 2020 (EU & NA)
Price: Free With Nintendo Switch Online Subscription
File Size: 767 MB