Within one week of pulling the plug on Super Mario Bros. 35, Nintendo announced another battle royale-style game: Pac-Man 99, a 99-player take on Bandai Namco’s arcade classic. As it did with Super Mario Bros. and Tetris before it, developer Arika has taken a well-known retro game and added a competitive twist to it–and even from just a few rounds with the title, it’s immediately clear that Pac-Man is better suited to the battle royale format than Super Mario Bros. was.
The reason comes down to the game’s immediacy. Given its roots in the arcade (where a developer’s primary concern was to wring as many quarters as possible out of a patron’s pockets), Pac-Man is about reflex. Super Mario Bros. also requires dexterity, of course, but it was designed for a home console. As such, it’s a grander, more methodical sort of game, featuring larger stages that are rife with