Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle

Game review by
Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media
Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle Game Poster Image
Arcade battle royale sadly leaves you hungry for much more.

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Positive Messages

There are no messages put forward in the game, aside from possibly persevering from one match to the next or one maze to the next as you try to get a high score or outlast the other players in the Battle Royale.

Positive Role Models

Pac-Man doesn't have a character arc or development. His goal is simply to eat pellets and ghosts with power pellets. In this game, the option to eat your fellow competitors arises as well, meaning that it's every Pac-Person for themselves.

Ease of Play

Players move through mazes, eating pellets and avoiding ghosts. The trick is in maneuvering past closing spirits or other opponents, while collecting power-ups and fruit. Unfortunately, significant network lag and hit or miss power-up collection makes accurate movement and avoidance of hazards harder than it should be.

Violence & Scariness

Players try to eat ghosts and other players once they eat power pellets, while avoiding ghosts or opponents. But characters disappear when eaten, without any blood or gore shown.

Language
Consumerism

This game is based off the classic arcade game Pac-Man, which has created multiple games, toys, TV shows, and more.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle is an arcade game exclusively for Google Stadia. Similar to the classic arcade game, this title puts players in charge of Pac-Man as he runs around a maze, gobbling up pellets and fruit while avoiding ghosts. Players can eat ghosts, and, in a twist here, other rival Pac-People when they eat a power pellet, but there's no blood or gore shown when this happens. While there's no inappropriate content, players should be aware that some technical glitches and slowdown could frustrate the experience for them.

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What's it about?

PAC-MAN MEGA TUNNEL BATTLE is the latest title featuring the classic arcade hero, Pac-Man, in his eternal struggle to eat pellets in a maze while being chased by ghosts. But there's a surprising twist to the maze chomping journey, because you're not the only player running around these mazes. Up to 64 players can compete against each other in a unique take on the battle royale formula, entering another player's match through a set of doorways or in each labryinth and eating their ghosts, dots and in a strange twist, even Pac-People (if they've taken a power pellet to make them invincible for a short period of time). Along with level invasions are a range of power-ups that can appear throughout a level, such as stunning rival players and ghosts, repelling characters chasing you, or locking players off your board for a time. The power-ups can be randomly generated by the game, or spectators watching a match can vote for which item will be introduced onto a map. Aside from this challenging action, players can take on randomly generated challenges, such as eating a certain number of ghosts on a board to scoring a specific amount of points. Successfully completing challenges or doing well in battle royale matches will earn you experience points as well as in-game credits, which can be used to customize the look of your maze as well as your Pac-Man. Will you rise to the top of the Pac-Man leaderboard? It's time to hop into the maze and find out!

Is it any good?

Taking an arcade classic and adding battle royale-styled action sounds like a winner, but technical flaws, shallow play, and a limited audience really leaves you hungry for more substance. Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle tosses players into a maze filled with pellets and ghosts, and tasks you to eat as much as you can before you're caught by these spirits. But the addition of power-ups that appear onscreen to possibly help or hinder your movements in the maze, along with other players that can invade your map, adds unpredictability to the gameplay. Since you'll be trying to outlast up to 63 other players in these maps, players have to keep their eyes out for threats from all sides, which can be challenging. Depending on how many points you gather, the challenges that you complete, and how high you are in the rankings, you'll earn in-game currency to customize the look of your Pac-Man and the mazes you explore.

While this sounds like a can's miss title, Tunnel Battle's first pitfall is technical where frequent lag and slow command recognition drains its pace to a steady crawl. Running over a power up or making a turn takes seconds to be recognized during play, even on a wired ethernet connection. This could cause you to overcorrect to make sure the game responds the way you want it to, which is fine if you're not being chased, but deadly if someone or thing is on your tail. Secondly, not many people are playing this game right now, so you'll frequently face off against limited competition or waiting on game sessions to begin because there aren't enough players to face. But what also hurts is the lack of depth. You can unlock cosmetic elements to the mazes and your Pac-Man to make them stand out, but ultimately, even with random challenges, you can experience everything the game has to offer within five minutes. As a result, if you were looking to sink your teeth into Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle, you'll be disappointed to find that it's more of an appetizer than a meal.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about nostalgia. Does Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle's homage to the classic arcade gameplay work for modern audiences? Why do you think that Pac-Man's gameplay has been so popular for so many decades?

  • What's the appeal of Battle Royale games? Is it the competition between players to win first place? Is it the challenge of surviving intensifying odds? Is there another reason why these have become so popular recently?

Game details

  • Platforms: Google Stadia
  • Price: $19.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Bandai Namco
  • Release date: November 17, 2020
  • Genre: Arcade
  • ESRB rating: E for No Descriptions
  • Last updated: December 15, 2020

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