Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle: Chomp Champs Review (Switch eShop)


“Comparison is the thief of joy,” said former US President Teddy Roosevelt. The gist is that sometimes a comparison can negatively skew our perceptions or diminish our appreciation of individual qualities. Roosevelt didn’t have multiplayer Pac-Man in mind when he came up with his oft-quoted consolatory aphorism, but he’s not wrong.

Sadly for the spherical arcade icon, his second foray into the battle royale genre on the Switch with the cumbersomely-titled, online-only Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle: Chomp Champs was invariably going be compared to PAC-MAN 99, the favorably reviewed, now-dead online multiplayer title that had been a Nintendo Switch Online exclusive.

Developed by Amber Studio and originally released as an exclusive for the doomed Google Stadia in 2020 as Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle, Chomp Champs retains all the expected dot-consuming, ghost-eating gameplay but adds power-ups, and most interestingly, allows you to invade others players’ mazes and swallow them, introducing a unique competitive wrinkle.

Gameplay and Performance

Sure, there is some mild fun to be had with Chomp Champs and its neat twists to the classic Pac-Man formula. But when we recall the snappy and addictive free-to-play Pac-Man 99, it makes it all the more difficult to look past Chomp Champs’ janky performance, mobile game visuals, and outsized price point. This is an own goal by publisher Bandai Namco.

The delisting of Pac-Mac 99 two-and-a-half years after its April 2021 launch was never officially explained, but we remember it suffered from sparsely populated lobbies in its final months. It didn’t help that Bandai Namco locked its custom themes behind a paywall, unlike its more successful cousin, Tetris 99, which still offers unlockable themes that incentivise play.

In-Game Content and Monetization

In-game currency can be won and spent on a modest assortment of silly outfits, from devil wings and 3D glasses to a panda suit, and a few different maze themes. But around half of the game’s unlockables – cosmetics and mazes based on classic Namco IPs and lunar zodiac animals – are paid DLC priced at $4.99 and $6.99 respectively.

The game pits a total of 64 players in a choice of elimination and ranked modes – but they play identically. We played post-launch and it never felt like there were dozens of other players. In fact, most mazes we invaded were empty and some opponents appeared to be CPUs using similarly structured generic usernames (BoredStudent, ShadyBush, CyanMommy).

Critical Reception and Comparisons

Matches also tend to end abruptly, contrary to the typical pacing and sense of climax expected in a battle royale. We were declared the winner when all other competitors bit the dust offscreen, which left our victory often feeling quite random and unearned. Despite being a fresh port of a nearly four-year-old game, Chomp Champs lacks polish.

Compared with more recent attempts to modernize Pac-Man in titles like the frantically fast Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus, Chomp Champs unfolds at a much slower albeit more traditional pace. It gradually builds speed but never feels as lively or dynamic as Pac-Man 99 did, which we remember running flawlessly and being far more challenging to win.


We would only ever recommend Mega Tunnel Battle: Chomp Champs to Pac-Man diehards at its launch price point. In fact, given the fate of its Pac-Man 99 forebear, we would be hesitant to open our wallets for it at all, because we doubt it will have much longevity if it isn’t eventually made free-to-play. Though it introduces a cool idea or two, multiplayer Pac-Man was done better by its predecessors and, as it stands, its price tag is tough to justify.