It has got to this. We knew it would eventually come to this.
And to be honest it doesn’t necessarily have to be bad, or half-baked by design like Super Mario 35, which was clearly not that well thought out, but also had a very short expiration date decided on birth, so why put more effort in if we decided we’re gonna kill it 6 months later regardless?
Like Tetris 99 once was, this is currently available as a free download for NSO subscribers, but this time it’s clearly being built as a freemium thing, since it had locked modes (the single player offerings of Score Attack, CPU Battle, and Blind Time Attack) at launch and paid themes. YAY.
Even more “YAY” how even private matches are walled beyond a paid upgrade.
But the main, free attraction is obviously the eponymous “Pacman 99” mode. While everyone plays in their separate mazes, by eating ghosts you sent mini-Pacmans into other players’ games, which aren’t deadly but will slow you down, and this can be used alongside the… NOT explained at all ability to choose how the power pellets operate to create more strategies: stronger power pellets will do more damage, but the time the ghosts will stay vulnerable for less time, etc. Also, while the mini-Pacs can be simply eaten, it’s better to not ignore them completely either…
There’s a bit more to digest here in terms of extra layers over the time-tested Pac Man formula in comparison to (take a swig) Tetris 99, so it may not be as immediatly intuitive, but regardless if you use the more advanced strategies or not, it’s yet again a surprisingly simple, addictive & effective way to adapt an arcade classic, enhancing the formula for modernity without compromising or ruining it in the process.