Who would've guessed that a Nintendo console would be home to some of the best battle royale games out there? Well, they're at it again because here's Pac-Man 99 which offers some frantically fun pellet-gobbling multiplayer action.
Pac-Man 99 is played just like Tetris 99 and Super Mario Bros. 35 in that you try to survive longer than your online opponents. However, its core gameplay is obviously very different as it follows the classic Pac-Man formula albeit with some elements from Pac-Man Championship Edition thrown in as well as some nifty new mechanics. Although there are no in-game instructions which is kind of frustrating, you'll eventually figure out how to play Pac-Man 99 effectively after some experimentation. For example, eating translucent ghosts will tack them onto one of the patrolling ghosts thus allowing you to gobble a whole train of them and munching the centre fruit actually resets the level which is very handy. With that being said, the core gameplay is still familiar stuff that will immediately click with fans.
Considering you're playing against loads of other online players, you can try to thwart their efforts by sending Jammer Pac-Man holograms to their playfield whenever you eat a ghost. This actually becomes more involving when you consider the fact that you can swap within 2 sets of 4 strategies by the tap of a button although doing so isn't crucial until the competition is substantially thinned out. It's also optional so if you're finding it difficult to keep track of everything then you certainly don't need to worry about the strategy system. All of this comes together to make one super-rewarding competitive formula even if it gets a little repetitive after only a handful of matches. Therefore, it's definitely the sort of game that's best played in short bursts; just like the other battle royale games.
Deluxe Pack DLC
To extend the replay value of Pac-Man 99, you can purchase DLC with the Deluxe Pack containing everything that's currently available. First, let me discuss the modes that come with Mode Unlock which allows you to use Password Match and partake in a few challenges. CPU Battle is frankly the most inessential mode because it's the same as the main online mode except you play against CPU opponents. I guess it would be cool if you currently don't have internet access. Moving on; Score Attack mode is a fantastic score-chasing challenge and Blind Time Attack mode tasks you with clearing the maze within a limited time. Both of these supplementary modes have their own online leaderboards which is awesome. With that in mind, I would have liked to be able to play a classic Pac-Man mode, especially while using the different Namco themes. Anyway, if you'd like something other than the online mode then I recommend the DLC.
Finally, there are oodles of Namco game themes to play with. I should mention right off the bat that they don't affect the gameplay at all but they change the graphics in incredibly imaginative and charming ways. Plus, the music changes as well to match the game that the theme is based on. Needless to say, if you're as big of a Namco arcade game fan as I am then you'll have a blast playing Pac-Man 99 while using themes from classics such as Dig Dug, The Tower of Druaga, Xevious, and even Wonder Momo! How cool is that?
Pac-Man 99 is not only an excellent battle royale game; it's also a lovely homage to all things Namco with tons of charming themes to play with. Throw in some clever single player challenge modes and you're left with one impressive package.
- + Familiar gameplay that's bursting with clever new strategic mechanics
- + Loads of wonderful Namco themes
- + Variety of modes is excellent
- - Core gameplay gets quite repetitive so it's best to play it in short bursts
- - Could use some instructions
- - I would have liked a classic mode