After pulling the plug on selected Mario content and sparking a barrage of ‘Mario is dead’ memes online, Nintendo is shining the spotlight on another one of its iconic characters: Pac-Man. The yellow blob is cashing in on the battle royale craze with the newly announced Pac-Man 99.
Available exclusively for Nintendo Switch Online players, members of the service can download the new title at 6 a.m. PT / 9 a.m. ET / 2 p.m. BST today. If you’ve played Tetris 99, or Mario 35 (before support for the game was pulled on March 31), you’ll be familiar with the concept: 99 players battle it out in their own private level, but the actions of the other 98 can impact your gameplay, and vice versa.
The fundamentals of the game are the same as ever, with Pac-Man hoovering up Power Pellets to chase down and gobble up Ghosts.
The Ghosts will be sent to attack other players as Jammer Pac-Man — essentially Pac-Man ghosts that will slow down players when they make contact.
PAC-MAN™ is back in a new 99-PAC-MAN battle royale! PAC-MAN™ 99 goes live 4/7 at 6 PM PST, exclusively for #NintendoSwitchOnline members! #PACMAN99🟡🟡🟡 https://t.co/mnzEYXJnBl pic.twitter.com/1qOsEEvbHDApril 7, 2021
If you want to win, you’ll have to go on the offensive and chomp your way through Sleeping Ghosts to form a Ghost Train. Once you’ve stacked up the train, guzzle down a pellet and chase it down with a fat line of Ghosts to flood opponents with Jammer Pac-Man.
On top of the basic gameplay, there are four power-ups to utilise: Stronger, Speed, Standard, and Train. Throw in the four targeting options — Knockout, Hunter, Counter, and Random — and you’ve got eight preset strategies to take out the competition and be the last Pac-Man standing.
If you fancy switching things up, there’s a range of paid Namco DLC packs for offline modes and alternative themes; these come with different sound effects as well as a visual overhaul. The Pac-Man Deluxe pack will get you everything, and will set you back $29.99. Alternatively, you can pick up elements of the DLC individually for $1.99 each, and $14.99 for offline mode.
Pac-Man 99 lands later today, and weighs in at 767MB.