A brand new Pac-Man game, Pac-Man 99, is launching today exclusively on Nintendo Switch, and you can play it for free if you’re a Nintendo Switch online subscriber.
Like the one with the same name Tetris 99 and the now deceased Mario 35, Pac-Man 99 gives a large-scale competitive twist to the original arcade game Pac-Man. The basic Pac-Man gameplay is here: you move Pac-Man through a maze-like level, eating points and fruit while avoiding ghosts. Nibbling on a power pellet puts Pac-Man on the offensive for a few seconds, allowing you to bite these ghostly pursuers and temporarily remove them from the level.
Corn Pac-Man 99 has a new threat to face: 98 other players.
Each person in a match plays their own Pac-Man level, and if they are caught by a ghost, they lose the match. Players can affect the gameplay of their opponents by eating ghosts to send a “Jammer Pac-Man” to another player’s board. Touching a Pac-Man Jammer slows Pac-Man’s movement, making it easier for ghosts to catch you.
Pac-Man 99 also introduces new power-up items that open up an additional game styles, like racking up ‘ghost train’ combos that increase a player’s personal score, bombarding opponents with additional Jammer Pac-Men, or increasing game speed for added challenge and higher rewards.
Each Pac-Man 99 the match lasts until there is one player left, but you will earn rewards even if you don’t win the round. The points you earn while playing will unlock in-game items like avatar icons.
Pac-Man 99 has other game modes if you don’t want to play battle royale matches including CPU battle and single player mode. However, these additional modes are not included in the base and must be purchased separately. You can also buy unique themes that change the game see. There are over 20 available at launch, and each is based on other Namco arcade games like Dig Dug, Galaga, Tour de Druaga, and Xevious.
Some call Pac-Man 99 the “replacement” of Mario 35, since it is just a week after Nintendo was shut down Mario 35’s waiters and both games share similar gameplay concepts. However, it appears Pac-Man 99 is here to stay, not a limited time event like Mario 35 was. That said, given that Pac-Man is now the third retro title to get the battle-royale treatment on the Switch, one wonders if we’ll see any other games in the “99” series. For my part, I could go for a Donkey Kong 99 Where Legend of Zelda 99.
Pac-Man 99 unlocks April 7 at 6:00 p.m. Pacific / 9:00 p.m. EST. It is available for free download on the Nintendo Switch online store for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, and you can download it early so you can start playing immediately once it’s available.
The Nintendo Switch Online service costs $ 4 for one month, $ 8 for three months, or $ 20 per year. You can also register for a package which supports up to seven accounts for a single fee of $ 35 per year.