Developed and Published by QUByte Interactive
Available on Steam and PS3, PS4 and PS Vita
99Vidas is an old-school style, side-scrolling beat-em-up game, in the vein of Streets of Rage, where you play as monkey dude King who’s one of four ‘Power of the Elements’ in charge of protecting an artefact known as 99vidas that, in the wrong hands, could bring destruction to the world. Unfortunately, it gets stolen so, as one of the guardians, you must retrieve the 99vidas before it’s too late and that involves pummelling a load of thugs and minions!
With its 16-bit design and chiptune sounds, 99vidas is a game to fall in love with especially if you get all soppy over nostalgia (I do!). It’s challenging yet charming gameplay will have your reaching for the controller for “just one more go” as you attempt to progress through the local campaign.
The game plays like an arcade beat-em-up with limited controls and availability of lives in the shape of hearts. Every time you lose your HP, you lose a life and, providing you have enough hearts (lives), you’ll respawn with full health. However, when all the lives are used up and you finally die, it’s game over and you must start from the beginning of your current stage. Back in the day, this was commonplace but seeing as we’ve been so spoilt by modern games and their constant autosaves and checkpoints dotted every few minutes, having to replay the entire stage again is a chore but a rewarding one as it makes dying something you simply must avoid, urging the player to really fight strategically to ensure they don’t succumb to the attacks of the enemy characters. Warning: you may curse a lot!
The combat of the game is pretty straightforward but can feel a little clunky and repetitive at times though that comes with the territory with this style of game, especially as a homage to the retro beat-em-ups. The strikes are simple with quick attacks (punches) and slower but heavier ones (kicks) which can be used in combination for improved damage. as you progress through the stages, you earn coins which can be used to unlock new techniques and buy extra lives. As with many games, there’s the special ability that will wipe out all the enemies on-screen but this takes a huge chunk out of your points meter so you can only use it now and then.
At the end of each level, there’s a boss to contend with. The method of defeating the boss usually relies on timing and using the correct movement or attack. All the bosses have increased health bars that need to be wiped out so you need to figure out what their “plan of action” is to beat them. If you don’t catch on first time, you can use it as a learning experience to ensure you have the correct method next. Beware, it may involve patience of a saint, particularly where low health on a last life is concerned.
99vidas is one of those games you can’t help but enjoy. I keep finding myself picking the controller back up for a quick go and despite being hit square in the face by a boxer or by part of the environment, I keenly hit the start button to play the stage once again.
For multiplayer fans, there’s online play but I’ve yet to actually find anyone in the lobby to play. You can also play multiplayer locally but seeing as I’m a solo player, that’s not an option for me personally but is there if you want it. It’s co-op play which is a nice change from the usual versus only.
If playing on Steam, you’ll be glad to know that the game is Xbox 360 Controller for Windows friendly with the keybindings perfectly suited to the controls. As with many games, it also has Steam achievements and trading cards which you can unlock when playing the game.
For fans of retro gaming, 99Vidas will appeal greatly with its complete package of nostalgic graphics, audio, gameplay and humour. This is a little gem that deserves to be noticed.