99Vidas attempts to honor the past with its retro 16-bit graphics and Double Dragon street brawling action all while trying to satisfy the 2018 gaming crowd that has been brought up with games we could have only dreamt about back then. 99Vidas is a fine fighting game with some cool advancements with the addition of elemental alignments and varying character stats. But damn, there are a few things that just make me want to abandon it to the wayside and light it on fire.
Developer: QUByte Interactive
Publisher: QUByte Interactive
4 Hours Played // Review Copy Provided // $9.99
Guardians to the Rescue!
99Vidas is an artifact, only remembered by a few, protected only by the guardians. It has the power to bestow upon the user 99 lives and it has been stolen. Thankfully there are still guardians in this world that will risk their lives to retrieve this powerful artifact. This is where you come in. The 99Vidas has been stolen and needs to be recovered.
99Vidas plays well in both handheld and docked mode. It supports 1-4 player coop throughout its 6 levels and has an arcade, story, remix, versus, and survival mode. Each with 4 different difficulty levels. On the surface, there is a lot going on here but the additional modes are very much more of the same with slight twists. It’s to be expected with games of this genre, 99Vidas is the same game in survival as it is in story mode with some obvious goal modifications.
A side-scrolling fighting game wouldn’t be very cool if it didn’t have bosses to fight. Though out the games 6 levels you will find each has their own end level boss. The boss pixel art is like the rest of the game, very well done. Each boss has their own moves and patterns which you must identify and overcome to succeed. I do have some bones to pick here but we’ll save those for later.
I found the addition of elemental attacks really nice and it’s what turned me onto 99Vidas in the first place. It’s an attempt to set themselves apart from the usual brawling fighter game. They have succeeded in this as the elemental affinities add just enough to make it interesting to play the various characters. Each playable character also performs their kicks, punches, and specials differently making each feel unique and special.
After completing each stage you can spend the points you acquired by leveling up your combinations and/or buying more lives fo the next levels. The unlocks for each character are independent of the run you are currently playing. This means you can bring that character you were leveling up in story mode into survival mode with the same upgrades. This is kind of nice and adds a bit of persistence to a game genre that largely relied on only persisting upgrades and changes on that specific run.
While the bosses looked really cool and each was really unique I did have a few personal issues with some of these bosses. For instance, the boss named Jujurandir (#NoSpoilers) performs this epic move where he slams down from outside the top of the playable area. The bad part for me is that there’s no indication where he’s going to land so you’re highly likely to get pounced upon, repeatedly. Game design elements that leave the player feeling desperate and hopeless are not cool. I’ve fought that same boss numerous times now and I’m still confused as to why the developers chose not to include a visual or sound indication instead of randomly jumping across the screen hoping you timed your jump just right this time.
Speaking of the playable area… There’s a reason we call it a “playable area”. I found myself often chasing the enemy AI well off the screen almost more often than I was punching or kicking them in the face. This brings me to my next issue with 99Vidas. It seems the AI was specially crafted to take advantage of the player by doing a few different things. In some instances, they will run off the screen then attempt to surround you on both sides. Only then will they attack when they have the upper hand and a high chance to succeed. There’s a bit of a cheap element here that I did not like one bit.
I also want to call out QuByte for, what I feel is, totally copping out with the design of the final stage. They admit it as shown above but really!? For me, repeat bosses are never a fun time especially when the gameplay is generally repetitive anyway. We can lessen the blows here a little bit. The final end boss did stray from the norm and bring something new to the table. For that, I applaud QuByte with hearty applause. It took me a few tries but I did it in the end!
99Vidas is a good game that looks great. At the same time, it has also made me really angry in ways other games this year have not. Maybe its just me and time has worn away my excitement towards street brawling fighting games. The large majority of this game was not fun for me. It felt very lackluster with but a few exceptions. Chuck in a few feelings of being cheap-shotted and it’s a done deal for me. This game is definitely more fun to play with others. The co-op is my favorite aspect to play. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to test out online play because its a ghost town. In the end, I’m just not sure cool and devastating elemental moves presented in 16-bit pixelated glory is enough to save this one, it wasn’t for me. A solid game that pisses me off to no end through and through.
Find me on Twitter and hit me with your own opinion of 99Vidas. Check out our review of a wildly different game, Real Politiks, if your into crazy management sims where you may lead your people to death.
I’m a sort of enjoy nearly everything game kind of person. I’d like to think I can appreciate things for what they are without always comparing them against the monstrous pillars of their predecessors. I Played PC games starting with Chuck Yeager’s Flight Simulator all the way until 2016 where I primarily switched from PC to consoles to include Xbox and Switch.