99 Pac-Men enter, a Pac-Man leaves in Switch’s new free Pac-Man 99

First Tetris, later Super Mario, and now Pac-manNintendo Switch continues its streak of “retro battle royale” video games this week by asking a remarkably odd question. What would I do Pac-man Would it be as if 99 people were playing at the same time and only one pellet muncher was victorious?

The new game, creatively titled Pac-Man 99, arrives Wednesday, March 7 as a free download for paid subscribers of the Nintendo Switch Online service. Its resemblance to 2019 Tetris 99 and 2020 Super mario 35 it’s no accident, as it’s been designed with the same “NintendoWare bezel engine” used in those other games, and that framework seems to juggle concurrent competition sessions. Pac-man.

Jammers, ghost trains, and reinforcements

As seen in the game’s surprise reveal Tuesday night, Pac-Man 99The default online mode resembles the older school version of Pac-man, in terms of chasing ghosts and chewing on yellow dots in the series’ first black and blue maze. I like Tetris 99 before that, Pac-Man 99 it looks a lot like your traditional source material, only the online player fields interfere with the progress of others. You send out attacks on other players’ fields (visible at the edges of the screen as smaller windows) by eating pellets of power and then devouring vulnerable ghosts. They do the same to you.

The twist of this game is a new idea for the series. Your attacks send waves of “blocking Pac-Men” into opponents’ fields (visible at the edges of the screen as smaller windows), but that doesn’t cause direct to damage. Instead, these transparent Pac shadows litter the game’s mazes like speed bumps, and players must maneuver Pac-Man through his quicksand lumps to make them disappear. One or two blockers are tolerable; six or more seem like a real headache, especially when Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde corner you.

Therefore, success in Pac-Man 99 It will depend in part on plotting the movement of your maze in a way that allows you to safely clear blockers and keep your speed high. Meanwhile, sending attacks on other players requires the creation of “ghost trains”, which have risen from the Pac-Man Championship Edition Serie. Set up this series of ghosts that fill the screen without accidentally bumping into them, then eat a pellet of energy so you can devour dozens of ghosts in neat rows.

Players also have access to three selectable “boost” modes, called “strength,” “speed,” and “training,” and while they seem pretty self-explanatory, we have yet to see when and how they are activated in-game or if they cause the basic act of ghost dodging whether more fun or not.

Ninten: does what Stadia doesn’t

Interestingly, this is not the only one online Pac-man concept to launch last year. Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle debuted on Google Stadia in October 2020, but its 64-player shot revolves around much larger point fields where players can bump into each other. In my testing experience, Mega Tunnel Battle can be slow and jittery when other players’ online connections are degraded for whatever reason. Since Pac-Man 99 Keeps each player on his own isolated playing field, he can carefully dodge these problems.

I have previously praised Tetris 99 like a clever and challenging twist on the familiar Tetris formula. While we weren’t necessarily that hot Super mario 35A similar twist the following year, it was a fun, albeit temporary, joke, as Nintendo shut down the servers for that game on March 31, the same day it was delisted. Super Mario 3D All-Stars. (We barely knew you, Mario). Pac-Man 99 seems to be approaching the Tetris 99 Side of things, which bodes well for the subscription free game launching later today.

Pac-Man 99 trailer.

Nintendo / Bandai Namco listing image

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