The gameplay of Jr. Pac-Man is similar to that of its predecessors with a few differences. The maze is now two times the width of the display, and a virtual camera pans left and right along the maze to follow Jr. Pac-Man, sometimes resulting in the ghosts being off-screen. A total of seven mazes appear throughout the game, and unlike previous Pac-Man games, none of the mazes have tunnels that wrap around from one side of the screen to the other. Most mazes have six energizers instead of four.
As in prior games, bonus prizes appear in each level. These prizes were called keys and fruits in Pac-Man, but none of the prizes in this game are fruits. Prizes appear in the middle of the maze, and similar to Ms. Pac-Man, bounce around for a time, but as a prize encounters dots, it changes them into larger dots that slow Jr. Pac-Man down more than regular dots but are worth more points. If not eaten beforehand, a prize self-destructs when it encounters an energizer (also known as a power pellet) and destroys them both.
- Bike: 100 Points
- Kite: 200 Points
- Drum: 500 Points
- Balloon: 700 Points
- Train: 1000 Points
- Cat: 2000 Points
- Beer: 5000 Points
There are also a few cosmetic differences: The main character is Jr. Pac-Man (who wears an animated propeller beanie); Clyde, the orange ghost, is now called Tim; and the game's graphics and sound have been updated, including a lower-case anti-aliased font for scores and game text.
Intermissions / Acts
The game's intermissions center around the developing relationship between Jr. Pac-Man and Yum-Yum (apparently the daughter of Blinky). This game features 3 intermissions, they are similar to the ones found in Ms. Pac-Man:
- Jr Meets Yum-Yum: Pac-Man Jr. gets out of his house to play. soon, he sees a cute female ghost named Yum-Yum. Pac-Man Jr. gets out of the yard, and goes to see Yum-Yum. Blinky, not accepting the potential relationship, tries to chase Pac-Man Jr. away. Ms. Pac-Man arrives to protect him by eating a Power-Pellet, turning Blinky and Yum-Yum into blue ghosts, Jr. goes back to his house.
- The Gift: Pac-Man Jr. finds Yum-Yum standing on a bridge, And he gives her a balloon as a gift, Yum-Yum politely accepts the balloon, But unbeknownst to the youngsters, Blinky is secretly spying on them through a nearby bush.
- They Escape: Blinky gets out of the bush. As Yum-Yum quickly releases the balloon, Blinky tries to eat Jr., But just as this is going to happen, Ms. Pac-Man comes again to protect her child by distracting Blinky, who starts chasing Ms. Pac-Man, While Jr. and Yum-Yum escape, They fall in love, surrounded by hearts.
Like Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, Jr. Pac-Man has a kill screen: when the 146th screen is reached, the maze is invisible and there are no pac-dots to eat, effectively preventing the player from completing the level.
Atari developed a home port of the game for the Atari 2600 in 1984, along with one for the Atari 5200 and 8-bit computer systems. However, the latter versions would not be released as Jack and Sam Tramiel's takeover of Atari has shelved the games along with a port of Super Pac-Man.