Nintendo Switch Online has its shortcomings, but one of its best aspects is the free and exclusive games available to subscribers, including the famous major series Battle Royale versions like Tetris 99 and Super Mario Bros 35. Completely different versions from the other platform offered by all of them of this type; and their accessibility makes them ideal for playing a game from time to time. NSO subscribers recently suffered the loss of Super Mario Bros 35, and the company decided to introduce a new replacement to fill that void: Pac-man 99.
Like the two games mentioned, Pac-Man 99 is very similar to the classic 1980 arcade title, although some adjustments have been made to make it more suitable for multiplayer. By now you probably all know how Pac-Man works, but we’re going to explain it to those who have never played before. Here, as in the original game, we must move through a maze while devouring balls and avoid meeting the colored ghosts trying to devour us. Also, it’s pretty good that we can eat the Pac-Balls, which allows us to change the roles of the gameplay for a limited time and be able to eat these little ghosts and not us.
What is the difference to the original title? Well, the goal of the ’80s Pac-Man was to score as many points as possible and now our mission will be to survive and win over 98 other people. Many new elements have been added to this battle royale to add an extra touch of competitiveness and strategy to the game. and one of them are the Pac-Man blockers. Every time we eat a ghost, one of these Pac-Man blockers will appear in another player’s game, and when they collide with them, their pace will slow down. There are several options: we can randomly send these annoying ghosts to other players, or we can play strategically and use the right analog stick, either to send them to the opponents who attack the most or to send them to those who are in the Term are to be lost.
Another novelty in Pac-Man 99 are the Sleeping Ghosts. Not only are these invisible, but they also remain immobile in a certain area of the maze. If we swallow them, several of them appear behind one of the ghosts, can devour them and cause great chaos in our opponents’ game. We must be careful, however, as these rows of ghosts can be long and regain their usual color while we try to eat them. It is important that we not only take offense and try to eat one or the other fruit, as this regenerates the sleeping ghosts and Pac-Balls.
To be honest, the action in Pac-Man 99 is quite addicting and hectic, and as the speed of the maze and the number of obstacles increased it got more and more chaotic. Another aspect that we really liked is the fact that we can strategically switch between the different specialty skills that are out there. With the Y, X, B and A buttons we can change the game to Standard, Train, Speed and Stronger, for example, and each has its own advantages. For example, speed enables us to move faster; and the force prevents the slowed action of the blocking Pac-Man from affecting us so much.
What we missed here, however, is something better oriented. When you start the game there are no instructions on what to do and in our case we had to reread the description in the eShop to understand the mechanics. Additionally, we would like to see more maze designs included so that it doesn’t repeat itself and offers a little more freshness. So far there is only the design of the maze of your life and the truth is that this leaves a little to be desired when compared to Super Mario Bros 35 which included new levels and even new boss fights from the original title.
Regarding the game modes, we have to say that we were very surprised to find that all but the standard Battle Royale mode were locked behind a payment barrier. Come on, to enjoy CPU Battle, Score Attack or Blind Time Attack, we have to buy the Modus Unlock DLC in the eShop for $ 14.99. However, given that this is a free to play title, this is not a huge problem. Of course, we had to make it clear that if you are not willing to spend some money, you cannot enjoy most of the experience.
In addition to these game modes, new themes and character emblems have been incorporated that we can buy and equip and are inspired by Namco classics such as Dig Dug, GALAGA and Dragon Buster. Each of these themes costs $ 1.99 and allows us to change the style of the maze we play in (although the arrangement stays the same). If you’re a real fan of Pac-Man, you can also purchase the Deluxe Pack, which includes all modes and themes for just $ 24.99.
In short, Pac-Man 99 may seem a bit succinct, but we assure you that the main mode will be more than enough on many occasions as it is hectic and addicting. We really liked that the Battle Royale formula has such strategic depth, that it is so accessible, and that the rounds are so fast that you can keep playing. It is true that we overlooked that the way the game works was explained more clearly and that more mazes were built in in addition to the classic model. That said, it’s great to see Nintendo continue to revive classic titles this way, and we hope it continues to do so.