Pac-Man 99 is the latest in a string of Battle Royale games offered for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers. Of course, following Mario’s public execution only two of those games are currently available. It’s also the third Pac-Man battle royale but let’s not go down that rabbit hole.
Instead, let’s talk about that Pac-One, this game’s equivalent to a Tetris Maximus, also known as a victory. Despite popular(not really) belief, I’m a game journalist and pretty good at videogames. On day one, ya boy got a Pac-One.
As I was playing, I noticed a few things about the game that will be crucial to pay attention to for getting those Pac-Man dubs. Some of these are more obvious than others, but put ‘em all together and you’ll have the tools you need.
Pac-Man 99 Guide: How to Earn Pac-One
Wakka wakka folks. If you want to hang in Pac-Man 99, you’re gonna need to be at least competent at Pac-Man. Unlike games like Pac-Man Championship Edition with all its bells and whistles, this game is like 90% normal-ass Pac-Man. It’s the classic maze, the regular mechanics, ghosts, fruits and four power pellets. So you can’t rely so much on fun variables to steal wins away.
Chase Board Resets (in Circles)
While Pac-Man 99 is mostly the original game in its purest form, there are some gimmicks slapped on top to facilitate the format. One of the biggest departures is that, instead of winning a board and moving on to the next one, you stay on your level one maze.
But if you get a fruit, the whole board resets. All the power pellets and everything come back to help sustain your game. That said, every time you reset the board your game speeds up. So sustaining your game doesn’t mean it doesn’t get tougher over time.
However, one thing I noticed is how smooth the reset is. It’s basically instant. You can just cruise right through the fruit and be on your way. That seems to have the effect of making your way around the board in a circle of sorts an efficient way to play.
That’s silly-sounding, especially since there’s no guarantee you can guide Pac-Man smoothly around the board. But! If you can steer the game in that direction, sticking to the outer boundaries, you can get the fruit to show up without visiting the middle. So typically, you can hit a few power pellet waves and get the fruit right after you’re out or close to it.
The speed boost is rough, but overall it feels better to keep those power pellets rolling.
In Tetris 99, it could be advantageous to mess around with those targeting presets depending on what’s happening in your game. With Pac-Man 99, I don’t think that’s the case at all. When you get knockouts, just like in Tetris 99 that makes your “junk” volleys more powerful.
The more K.O.s you have, the more “jammer ghosts” you send out per ghost eaten. And with the rows of miniature ghosts being the other big gimmick, that’s a huge number of evil ghost Pac-Men you’re shooting at other players. Doing everything you can to compromise movement is an easy path to messing someone up in Pac-Man.
Powers are Bad
In addition to the targeting techniques, Pac-Man 99 adds power ups that function similarly, tied to the face buttons. There’s Faster, Train, Stronger and Standard. These are variables you can choose that activate when you grab a power pellet. All of them have downsides.
Here’s the general stats, per the Pac-Man 99 subreddit community:
- Faster: Double speed, drops attack(jammers) by 75%
- Train: Doubles sleeping ghosts on touch, each also spawns a jammer on your board
- Stronger: Double jammers, power pellet duration drops to three seconds. After, speed permanently drops.
- Standard: This is what you choose if you don’t want to worry about all that.
Personally, I don’t think any of these tradeoffs are worthwhile. If you’re able to pay enough attention to know you’re towards the end or desperately need K.O.s, Train could be useful. But hurting your own damage output or speed isn’t worth what you get in return. With Standard, you can focus on the rest of the action.
Speaking of hurting your speed, that’s what the jammers do. White jammers, which are the primary kind, will temporarily drop your speed if you hit them. After the game gets down to the last 50 players, red jammers will also spawn. Those kill you, so Do Not Touch Them.
However, you don’t always need to go out of your way to avoid the normal jammers. Obviously, they’re the key to winning or losing, but hitting one or two to slip around a corner or continue on a necessary path is usually fine if the ghosts aren’t so close you’ll definitely bite the dust. You’re going to hit these things; it’s better to get used to their impact rather than make your life harder trying to swerve around them all.
There are only so many tips you can wring out of Pac-Man 99. After all, the first tip is the most important. Play some Pac-Man like your life depends on it, and you’ll make it to the upper ladder rungs. But to get that Pac-One, you’ll need to develop some kind of game plan. And these tips are what mine is made of.
Do you have some different Pac-Man 99 strats? Are you still trying to get your first Pac-One? Not enjoying the game at all? Let us know what your Pac-Man 99 take is over at Prima Games’ Twitter and Facebook feeds.