Less than a week after Mario 35‘s limited engagement came to an end, Nintendo has announced its next retro revival battle royale: Pac-Man 99.
In the same vein as Tetris 99 and Mario 35; Pac-Man 99 pits a hoard of players against each other in a fight for survival based on a classic game. It will be available today for free for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers.
At its core, Pac-Man 99 is the same timeless game, but with a multiplayer twist. When your Pac-Man eats a ghost, it will be sent to an opponent’s screen, much like how the previous battle royales would send cleared tetrominoes or vanquished Goombas to pester opponents. Each consumed ghost becomes a Jammer Pac-Man, which will seek out the player and slow them down, ultimately making them easier prey.
Also new to Pac-Man 99 are Sleeping Ghosts. These power-ups can be eaten to create a “Ghost-Train” behind one of the ghosts on the screen—simlar to Pac-Man ChampionshipEdition DX—and setting up epic chains of Jammers that can quickly overwhelm the competition. Targeting options return from previous battle-royales, allowing you to prioritize where your attacks are sent with a flick of the right analog stick, if you want to pick on weaker opponents or turn the tables on players who are hunting you. There are also new boosts, toggled with face buttons, that allow you to double your speed or send more jammers.
Players will need to utilize all of these modern enhancements and timeless strategies in order to be the last one standing—the “Pac-One.”
While the game is free, Namco fans may want to check out the paid DLC options, which feature new skins based on their other arcade classics, such as Galaga, Xevious, and Dig Dug. Four game modes are also available, including offline options like Score Attack and Blind Time Attack. At launch there are 20 theme packs available for $1.99 USD each, a Mode Unlock passport for $14.99, or a Deluxe Pack featuring everything for $29.99.
Like Tetris 99, Pac-Man 99 appears to be available indefinitely—not like Mario 35, a timed event. The battle royale remix arrives just before the end of Pac-Man’s 40th anniversary year in May. Just hope you don’t run into legendary high scorers like Billy Mitchell or Rick Fothergill online.