I’ve played 128 games of Pac-Man 99 but I’m only half sure I know what I’m doing. Pac-Man 99 does not provide instructions, but rather lets players learn and understand their systems on their own – a frustrating introduction to a visually busy game. After overcoming this initial hurdle, I kept reaching for Pac-Man 99 – if only because of it how inconspicuous it is.
Based on Super Mario Bros. 35 and Tetris 99, Pac-Man 99 is a modern twist on the Pac-Man action you’ve known for four decades: Walk around a maze and pick up small and large power pellets while you are You avoid the five on-screen ghosts that can end your run. The twist here, however, is that you are now pagainst 98 other online players. Pac-Man 99 is essentially a battle royale experience where you compete against the group to be the last player standing. Most of the game consists of Pac-Man’s classic maze run action, but pick-ups on the left and right sides of the maze allow you to devour ghosts and send attacks on other players, such as: B. Ghost Pac-Men, which can either slow down or end a player’s run. On the whole, I found this twist on the familiar formula a fun challenge – figuring out when to save your attacks before unleashing them on the opposition is satisfying.
Getting to the point where you actually understand how to play Pac-Man 99 is a whole different story, however. The game lacks any type of tutorial so players will have to figure out how to actually play the game. If you’re ready to hit your head against the first dozen or so games (a frustrating experience to say the least), you’ll eventually get the hang of it. But so much happens on the screen in the early hours of the morning that Pac-Man 99 seems unfathomable. At the beginning of my season, the complete lack of tutorials turned me off.
While I’ve since learned how to enjoy Pac-Man 99, many of its systems remain confusing. The Nintendo Switch’s face buttons and the right analog stick allow you to choose how you want to attack other players. The options are Stronger, Random, Speed, Knockout, etc. However, I never fully understood the clear distinction between some of these attacks. Pressing and moving the buttons doesn’t provide detailed visual feedback, and it’s unclear how my attacks affected other players.
In spite of thisI still enjoyed my time with Pac-Man 99. While many of the systems are opaque, enough trial and error has got me good enough to get in the top 25 frequently. Unlike many other Battle Royales, Pac-Mann 99 matches are relatively quick and reloading into a new match is painless, which I really appreciated. In addition to the Battle Royale mode, Pac-Man 99 also has a single player mode for Score Attack, CPU Battle and Time Attack, although I found these by and large inconspicuous and not nearly as fun as the basic mode. It’s also worth noting that all single player game modes are locked behind a $ 15 paywall, as is a lot of cosmetic content, but the Battle Royale mode is free. If you’re looking for more Pac-Man it’s certainly there, but for me the best that this game has to offer is the free mode.
Pac-Man 99 isn’t a particularly difficult game, but it’s exciting and I always wanted to play more. However, the electronic music that plays through the menu and during the games is repetitive and annoying (there are maybe two or three songs in the whole thing), making Pac-Man 99 my favorite podcast game. Which, if you ask me, is an underrated genre. The other day I sat down and listened to the new episode of Explained today from Vox when playing – I recommend it, it’s good.
To enjoy Pac-Man 99, I had to accept the frustrations that came with learning its systems. While it does an embarrassingly bad job explaining the how and why of its mechanics, once you’ve figured it out for yourself, it’s a great way to fill the lull in your day. Pac-Man 99 has become my go-to when I want to do something different, and I can’t think of much higher praise for a game of this caliber. It fills a niche in my life where I can get into something that is fun without having to focus all of my increasingly limited attention on it.