Skip to main content

A former Stadia exclusive comes to PC and consoles this week, and it’s a blast

Pac-Man runs from ghosts on a graveyard themed board in Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle: Chomp Champs.
Bandai Namco

If you’re a fan of Pac-Man, you’re in luck. On May 9, Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle: Chomp Champs (not the catchiest name, is it?) hits PC and all major consoles. The online-only multiplayer release is a battle royale game where 64 players fight to survive across interconnected mazes. It’s a chaotic use of the Pac-Man formula that fans of the series should enjoy.

If all of this sounds oddly familiar, it’s because the game originally launched nearly four years ago … as a now-lost Google Stadia exclusive.

Originally released on November 17, 2020, Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle was touted as one of Stadia’s key exclusives. Like so many other games, it was nearly lost to time when Stadia shuttered on January 18, 2023. Since it was a true exclusive for the service, it seemed like fans would never get a chance to play it again. Thankfully, it’s back. And that’s good news, because the newly updated version is a fun multiplayer curiosity that deserved a second chance.

In Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle, 64 players chomp through mazes simultaneously and fight to be the last Pac standing. That idea would be explored later in the Nintendo Switch exclusive Pac-Man 99 (another game that’s now defunct), but the idea is much more successful here. The big difference is that players get more opportunities to interact with one another. At different intervals, paths will open that lead to rival players’ mazes. Players can mess with one another, stealing their valuable fruits or gobbling up one another’s power pellets. It’s all a bit more tense and cutthroat than the comparatively lonely Pac-Man 99.

Pac-Men chase one another through a beach maze in Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle: Chomp Champs.
Bandai Namco

It’s also a bit more confusing. There’s a lot happening on screen, and the in-game tutorial only explains so much. Power-ups can appear in mazes from time to time. Some are straightforward, like an item that freezes ghosts (and any other humans in the maze) in place. Others aren’t terribly well explained, which can make early battles feel a little hectic. Its scoring system can be hard to figure out too, as it’s not initially clear if players need to get the highest score to win or survive. An odd mission system that gives players certain tasks to complete only clutters it more.

While there’s a learning curve here, Chomp Champs is good fun once you get a sense of how it all works. The core Pac-Man gameplay is as tight as it needs to be and it has a creative way of ramping up in complexity. Anytime players clear a board, the difficulty rises. The ghost AI gets smarter and the maze becomes trickier to navigate. That infuses some rising tension into battles as the final players will need to showcase some serious skills to outwit one another.

My best match came down to a long one-on-one duel where my rival and I spent a good 10 minutes battling it out in one maze. I kept trying to bait them into corners so I could grab a power pellet and chomp away one of their lives. It’s ruthless fun, though the endgame can drag once it’s down to two equally skilled players who don’t die easily (power-ups like extra lives drag that time out even more). It’s not the most elegant version of Pac-Man, but it’s a great test of endurance for pros.

As a re-release, Chomp Champs doesn’t bring too many new ideas to the table. It’s a fairly stripped-down multiplayer package with one core mode, a ranked playlist, and some cosmetics to buy with coins earned from playing. The new version does add crossplay support, though, which should help it reach a more consistent player count than Stadia ever could. Its $20 price tag does feel a touch high for what’s offered here, but there’s some solid multiplayer action to be found here for those who want to dive in.

Even if it’s not a revelatory Pac-Man game, I’m thrilled to see Mega Tunnel Battle rescued from Stadia jail. Stadia’s sudden shutdown in 2023 created a true preservation crisis for games like this. Every exclusive on the platform deserved to make its way to modern platforms, but that’s ultimately up to developers to decide if it’s worth the resources. In the case of Mega Tunnel Battle, I’d say the effort is worth it when you’re dealing with one of gaming’s most iconic franchises. Here’s hoping that Pac-Man 99 can find new life one day, too.

Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle: Chomp Champs launches on May 9 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

Editors' Recommendations

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
I would buy a PlayStation Portal 2 if it had this one feature
A Pulse Elite, DualSense, and PlayStation Portal sit on a table.

I've had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the PlayStation Portal since it launched. Initially, I was disappointed by Sony's cloud streaming device. I was impressed with its screen and appreciated its DualSense integration, but its slimmeddown features made it feel like a cheap version of a good idea. I've since learned to find a use case for my PlayStation Portal that turned it into an integral part of my gaming setup. It's very imperfect, but that doesn't mean it's not useful.

Ever since its launch, I've been hoping for a refreshed follow-up, whether that be a Pro model or a true PlayStation Portal 2. It may be way too early to start discussing that considering that the Portal just launched in November 2023, but the promising device has enough glaring flaws that I'd welcome a fast-tracked successor. If Sony were to make a PlayStation Portal 2, though, there's one feature that's nonnegotiable: Bluetooth.

Read more
The best games for laptops
A person gaming on the new Acer Nitro 16 gaming laptop placed on a desk.

Gaming on your laptop didn't used to be a serious option outside of very simple games. Newer laptops have a lot more power inside for gaming, but can't quite keep up with the latest and greatest of games on PC and consoles. Plus, you typically are restricted to a keyboard and touchpad that makes more intensive games uncomfortable or too difficult to enjoy. Since you won't always have access to a separate mouse or standard controller, you might need some games that still play great on your laptop without needing any accessories.

These are the best games you can either play with nothing but the keyboard or minimal mouse use to avoid any hand cramps.

Read more
The best Switch controllers for 2024
8BitDo Zero controllers

The Nintendo Switch is one of the bestselling consoles of all time, and with the additions of the Switch Lite and the Switch OLED , that shouldn't change anytime soon. Nintendo paid a lot of attention to playing on the go when designing the Switch, and, thankfully, there are numerous ways to enjoy your system in the living room, too.

The Joy-Con grip is fine — we'll get to just how well it can work later on — but a proper controller makes the Switch feel much more like a home console. It doesn't matter if you prefer fast first-person shooters or slow narrative-driven experiences, our list of the best Nintendo Switch controllers has a gamepad for you. We'll also include a list of frequently asked controller-related questions at the bottom of this article.

Read more