PAC-MAN 99: How to play (and win)

PAC-MAN 99 was recently launched as a “free” incentive for Nintendo Switch Online members, and you might be wondering about the rules how to play as the game immerses you in the bottom without any instruction.

After the sad demise of Super Mario Bros. 35 at the end of March, Nintendo has now given us a new battle royale spin on an old-school classic, in the form of the beloved Pac-Man. This new game joins Tetris 99 in the growing list of Nintendo Switch Online perks, but those games don't really come with tips on how the game works, so here are the rules, tips, and how to play PAC-MAN 99 (and to earn!)

How to play PAC-MAN 99

Basic gameplay

As you'd expect, PAC-MAN 99 follows in the footsteps of Tetris 99 and doesn't really touch on the original game's core gameplay, so if you've played Pac-Man before, you'll know what you're up against. The general premise is to control Pac-Man through a maze while eating Dots and Power Pellets, dodging and attacking Ghosts, while trying to stay alive as long as possible. You can control Pac-Man by default with the Control Pad, but in the setting you can also change it to the left stick if you prefer.

The object of the game is to be the last Pac standing, called PAC-ONE in the game itself. You'll compete against 98 other players for this title, and the longer you stay in the game, the more intense it will become. Powerballs don't last that long, and the intensity of the game will definitely kick up a notch as you go up against more experienced players.


Survival is the objective of the game in PAC-MAN 99, and it's really quite simple. You just have to make sure you don't get hit by any of the ghosts while the Power Pellet is inactive (ghosts can kill you when colored and vulnerable when dark blue). It's a lot harder than it looks, as it often feels like ghosts can predict your moves and gang up on you accordingly, so try to plan your routes to Power Pellets efficiently to avoid getting hurt. to be annihilated.


Offense is a huge part of PAC-MAN 99, and it's also great fun to gobble up a whole train of ghosts and send Jammer Pac-Man into your opponents (more on that in New Mechanics below). ). The general idea is to collect Power Pellets and eliminate as many ghosts as possible within the time limit. The game will warn you that the ghosts are about to turn deadly again when they start flashing white. Sometimes it's better to be less aggressive and play slower in certain situations instead of trying to take out your opponents as quickly as possible, but the more you play the better you will know when to react in certain situations.

New mechanics

This new iteration changes the core gameplay slightly with things called Jammer Pac-Man and Sleeping Ghosts. The sleeping ghosts are to the left and right of the maze, and they create a ghost train behind one of the ghosts. We will come back to this shortly with the Power Pellet modes. Jammer Pac-Man can slow the player down, eventually causing them to be destroyed by a ghost. Game over. Pac-Man Jammers are sent to your screen when other players eat a ghost, which is why it becomes important to manage who you attack using the Targeting options, by default on the right stick, as the game progresses in order to stay on top:

  • Random (high): This is the default option and sends your Pac-Man Jammer to random opponents. Simple.
  • Counter (left): This option will target all players who target you, which makes it a good choice if you are attacked by many players.
  • Knockout (down): This one targets the most vulnerable players, useful when you want to get a knockout or reduce the number of players.
  • Hunter (right): The last option targets the best player in the game (most knockouts), which is very risky, so use it with caution as it will likely send you a lot of Pac-Man Jammers to deal with.

You can also manage the effects of Pellet Power-Ups, by default on the A, B, X, Y buttons, to modify your attacks:

  • Standard (Y): The default option is the preferred mode for new players. This is the standard Power Pellets mode, nothing special.
  • Train (B): Adds more ghosts to the train of Sleeping Ghosts, which is an aggressive move that allows you to eat more ghosts to annoy opponents when you pick up a Power Pellet. However, this adds more Pac-Man Jammer to your screen, so watch out for this one.
  • Speed ​​(A): This option speeds up Pac-Man while a Power Pellet is active, although it doesn't send as many Pac-Man Jammers to your opponents.
  • Louder (X): The last option makes attacks stronger, sending more Pac-Man Jammers at your opponents with each Ghost eaten, but the duration of the Power Pellet is reduced.

Don't worry about who you attack and don't change the pellet effects too much when you first start out – just focus on doing your best to survive and familiarize yourself with the general premise of the game; the rest will come naturally as you play.

PAC-MAN 99 is now available on Nintendo Switch exclusively for Nintendo Switch Online members.

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