That’s what good old Pac-Man really lacked. A real Battle Royale, and not that deceptive Pac-man Battle Royale of arcades, to commemorate his 40th anniversary on the eve of the end of 2020. That much has happened since his debut in 1980, even pioneering the platforms with Pac-Land in 1984.
It was one of the few surprises left by the last presentation of Stadia, that Pac-man Mega Tunnel Battle which is nothing more than a replica of the variant to the Battle Royale that Tetris 99 proposed with much success. This time, however, the number of characters is reduced to 64 Pac-Man… but 256 ghosts!
The logical step for the most famous Pac-man
In the same way that Arika studio did with Alexey Pajitnov’s classic, in this case Heavy Iron studios offers a series of boards, with a Pac-Man associated to one person for each one of them, connected between them and with four ghosts running each stage: the unforgettable Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde.
At first, the connection with the rest of the boards will be closed, but access will be enabled every few seconds (when it turns blue), which will make several people can join, so the danger no longer lies only in those ghosts red, pink, blue and orange, respectively, but also in the rest of Pac-Man, since they can eat us if they have swallowed a Pac-Bola.
In essence, it is a Pac-Man game, with all the good things it entails: a legendary formula, with a clear arcade spirit, which has hardly changed its formula in 40 years, except for experiments that have reinvented it with great success, such as Pac-Man Championship or Pac-Man 256. In this case, however, it sticks to the classic style but with slight variations due to its Battle Royale spirit.
The best example of this comes from the random power-ups, which will be decided by the spectators with a vote between three options to choose from: a power-up beneficial for Pac-man, a blue one that empowers the ghosts to make it more difficult for the Pac-man, or a fruit to add more points.
Pac-man Mega Tunnel Battle, the total party
That series of objects will be swarming around the screen in a bubble, being able to dodge them or catch them if there is no other choice (like having a ghost stepping on our heels), which is an extra pressure even if we stay on our board without leaving, but raising the level by cleaning the whole screen of “coconuts”. When doing so, they will vary their design with the walls and it will be even harder if possible.
Or we can choose to travel constantly, as long as the doors allow it, to the rest of the boards and put pressure on the other players. The fact is that Pac-man Mega Tunnel Battle works in both ways, something that is not strange knowing that we are facing a game so legendary that it hardly needs any touches to have fun. Although, of course, the bite and pressure are greater.
The demo is currently available at Stadia, with a planned launch on November 17, 2020 for 19.99 euros. In this test you can play and try out more things, like going directly to your viewer mode to check all the games live (and participate in those votes, going back and forth for each board), or customize Pac-Man with various add-ons for your body. Personally, I liked the fact that I could define the default board, among a great variety, ranging from the classic to thematic aspects, such as Christmas or what you would see on a beach in summer. We will have to see everything that the final version offers in terms of content, but I am almost convinced that I will take advantage of the 10 euro discount I have unused to give it a go at the end of the year. I always feel like a Pac-Man. And even more if it can be with more people.