Got 99 problems, but a brawler ain’t one.
I grew up playing arcade brawlers. They were quarter munchers, no doubt, but they had a charm to them unlike any other. So whenever a new one is released on consoles these days, I like to give them a go. Right from the start I’ll say 99VIDAS is a great homage to many of the games in the genre’s past, and for the better.
Left to right, punch, kick, punch
So I wasn’t exactly sure what 99VIDAS stands for until I looked it up online, aka 99 lives. When an artifact goes missing called 99VIDAS, it appears chaos could take over the land. I don’t know why these characters are important or how they were chosen. I only know they are here to kick ass, defeat the evil bad guys, and recover the 99VIDAS. Plot is not heavy, nor something to concern oneself in the genre, and it no different here. The world here though is full of 80’s and 90’s tropes, and constantly I’m reminded of Streets of Rage as I play it, not a bad thing.
Would pay: $9.99
Multiplayer: 1 -4 player
How long to beat: 3 hours
As one of the six playable characters, each with unique powers (with plenty more to unlock) I find 99VIDAS offers a wonderful nostalgia filled experience especially for old players. The first level boss is a video game store manager who turns into 8-bit graphics. It’s little humor and elements like this that makes it shine. It also features 4 player local or online co-op, a necessity for this genre in my eyes, and great to see the developers include both.
The color palette and graphics shine, and the soundtrack is on point. Being a game that is inspired by the side scrolling brawler, it’s always interesting to see if developers will take liberties or add new ideas to spruce up the genre. Not to their discredit at all, but here we have the same very typical brawler set up. Moving left to right, up and down the screen. Combos against bad guys. Picking up weapons and health. There is a shop that allows players to buy upgrade moves and keep those new moves permanent, but nothing makes one player truly stand out from another in move sets.
Friends with benefits
This genre is for a special crowd of players that either love the genre or have loved it since they were kids. They’re not the deepest experiences, and they are definably better with friends. Playing alone can be a bit of a drag, as some levels go on longer then needed. Though bring a few friends, get on the couch, have some snacks and enjoy a few hours of old school arcade fun. Sometimes that’s all you need.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.