Stories were told of a powerful artefact that would grant the user the power of 99 lives. This artefact was called 99Vidas, and was protected by 4 guardians throughout the ages using the power of ice, lighting, earth, and fire. Until one day, when the 99Vidas fell into the wrong hands and darkness fell upon the city.
Our heroes have no other choice but to take back what’s rightful theirs, by any means necessary!
99Vidas is a 4-player beat-em-up set across 6 areas where you need to fight against the toughest bad guys out there! You fight through knife stabbing punks, shirtless street thugs, crazy girls, and a lookalike of King from Tekken… you know, the wrestler who wears the tiger mask?
Anyway, this is a brawler where the main heroes are actually based on real people from a Brazilian podcast that talks about video game nostalgia and history. Personally, I’ve never heard about them, but thankfully, you don’t need to know their podcast to understand who’s who as this is based on pure fantasy and not reality.
Blast from the past!
99Vidas really reminds me of games like Double Dragon, Streets of Rage, and others that have graced Switch in the last couple of months. The graphics have a really chunky look to them and I really like the style and animations of the main heroes.
Plus, their unique special abilities remind me of games like Golden Axe, with their specials having screen-filling effects. Some abilities include lightning storms and a huge wave that can wash away the competition. These all look great, but, for some reason, they don’t seem to have any sound effects, which is a little weird. If you’ve ever played any of the above titles, you will likely be right at home here.
Each of the 11 heroes that you can play as have strength and speed stats. Quick characters can move and attack swiftly, while characters with more strength are slow but are able to take more punishment. However, most of the characters in the roster need to be unlocked.
All characters have your typical abilities such as punching, kicking, specials, grabs, and aerial attacks. Each hero also has an element attached to their attacks. For example, Izzy uses the lightning element and can be pretty weak at the beginning, but after you’ve completed each level successfully, you will be able to spend your points on leveling up your combos and attacks at the shop which appears after each level’s boss. This gives you access to extra abilities and moves.
Just like Streets of Rage, where you could kick over oil drums and find tasty treats like a chicken leg, the same rule applies here. If you find a couple of empty boxes, you can smash them open with your bare fists and they may contain something edible or you may find a weapon.
Food items can be picked up with the punch button and consumed straight away to restore health. Other items include baseball bats, broken glass bottles, and even retro game consoles. Weapons have a short life span but can be used for attack. Game consoles, though, can net you more points to spend in the shop between stages.
One of the greatest features is the beautiful backgrounds that are all fully animated and look fantastic! Each area is brought to life with characters in the background playing on arcade machines, walking about, interacting with others, and even some disturbing ones like drunk-puking on the sidewalk, which took me by surprise when first saw it.
Three’s a crowd but four’s a party!
What this game does have in spades are modes. For local modes, we have on offer: arcade, story, remix, versus, and survival. For online play, we have versus mode and story, however, I’ve been unable to find anyone playing online which is definitely a little disappointing, as this would have been great if people were playing. Other extras consist of a gallery (with fan art), tutorial, and hall of fame leaderboards. Finally, there are also 39 achievements to complete.
The amount of content is huge, but it’s a shame that there’s a lack of people playing online as this could have been a life-line for people who don’t have friends over for local matches. Sadly, at the time of writing, no one is playing online. The game can be played with 4 others locally which, like any good beat-em-up, is a blast to play with friends. Plus, the added remix and survival modes keep things interesting if you are playing alone.
One of the coolest features in 99Vidas is the ability to add screen filters in-game. It can change the experience and make you feel like playing either an 8-bit title or playing on a really old TV screen. It’s a great inclusion and in the options, there are 16 filters to use. Some of my favourites were Duotone – which is black and white – and the portable filter which, reminded me of the Gameboy. Pretty cool, in my opinion.
The controls in 99Vidas are pretty simple: you can punch with the Y button and do a spin kick with the X button. You can jump with B and perform special attacks with A, but only when your special gauge is full. Each character has two bars. You can either save up your energy and perform a more powerful super move with two bars, or use one bar to do a standard super.
You can also perform a special using the R bumper, while pressing kick or punch in the air will let you do aerial assault. You can also grab enemies by simply walking up to them and pressing either the punch or the kick button. The controls work fine and it’s easy to pick up and play.
While it is enjoyable to play through the game using different characters and to score big points with friends, there are a few things I find really annoying.
Enemies can gang up on you and if they manage to surround you then you’re in for a world full of hurt as just a few attacks can empty your health bar pretty quickly, and this can be annoying, especially in story mode. If you don’t buy enough lives from the shop, once you die, you are dead for good and you will have to restart the story again. It’s frustrating as levels are drawn out and having to replay the same areas again is pretty boring.
Which bring me on to another point: the long levels. While they look pretty, they’re too long and I quickly became bored playing them over and over again with the same enemies. It became a slog playing through, and after reaching a certain point, I’ve seen everything the game has to offer and my interest in it had all but gone.
It was fun while it lasted but it feels like the game is aimed at more of a 4-player experience than focusing on singleplayer. The game is definitely more enjoyable with others and I have spent a good few hours with friends playing it, and we had a right good laugh. I just found the singleplayer content boring to play alone. Without anyone to play online with when my friends weren’t available to come around, I found myself playing something else instead.
So the game has a few flaws, but there is an extra incentive to keep playing if you love beat-em-ups and that’s the unlockable characters. There is plenty to unlock through achievements and by completing different modes. You can unlock a survival mode too.
Audio in-game isn’t bad at all. There are a lot of funky tunes that fit the overall personality of the game really well and sound effects in general sound good too, apart from there being no sound effects when a super is activated.
Visuals & Performance
Like I said, the visuals in 99Vidas have that chunky style to them. They are all well animated and I did like the background themes and thought that the little details went a long way to create a great atmosphere. I just wish there was a little more enemy variety as colour-swapped enemies were just a little boring and repetitive to fight through.
The performance was great and I’ve got no complaints here. 99Vidas also looks great in handheld mode, and the game supports pro controller, screenshots, video capture, and even cloud saves.
For £9.99, you’re getting a plethora of characters to play as and unlock. There are 39 achievements and a host of single player modes as well as local 4-player matches. There is an online section but considering that I’ve not been able to find anyone playing online, I wouldn’t consider it a feature worth getting excited over – playing locally is my best advice here!
Cast of quirky characters
A blast in 4 player (local)
Lots of single/local play modes
No one is online
Levels feel drawn out