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Parents' Guide to

Pac-Man 99

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Competitive pellet munching puts fun spin on battle royale.

Game Nintendo Switch 2021
Pac-Man 99 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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Back in the day, gamers used to pack into arcades like sardines and feed quarters into Pac-Man machines to test their skills in a quest to be immortalized at the top of the high score leaderboard. Pac-Man 99 recaptures that excitement for a whole new generation of gamers. At first, it's hard to imagine any way the classic Pac-Man game could be transformed into a first-rate battle royale experience. But once players pick up the controller and go a few rounds, that addictive "just one more match" mentality quickly takes over and makes the game virtually impossible to put down. It doesn't hurt that the free-to-play model gives Switch owners little reason not to at least give it a shot.

As much fun as Pac-Man 99 is, there are still a few minor hiccups to overcome. For starters, there's never any explanation given as to how the various options for power-ups and targeting work. In fact, there's very little explanation for anything here. It pretty much just tosses players into the deep end and has them fend for themselves. The short version is that players toss obstacles, called "Jammers," at opponents every time they gobble down a vulnerable ghost. These can be set to target random players (Random), players close to defeat (Knockout), or those who've managed to take out the most opponents (Hunter). Power-up settings can boost a player's speed (Speed), send over more obstacles (Strength), or add more ghosts to chomp (Train), but each comes with a penalty for balance. It adds a layer of strategy to the game, but can easily be overlooked by all but the most hard-core players. Finally, there are some great additional game options, such as private matches with friends, an offline CPU battle, a Time Attack, and a Score Attack mode that players can hone their Pac-Man skills on, but these modes aren't included in the initial free download, and can only be unlocked via a separate purchase. If you can overlook these issues, though, Pac-Man 99 could create a new wave of Pac-Man Fever.

Game Details

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