F-Zero 99

posted on 19 Sep 2023 | Games

i got a little carried away with this nostalgia game. I loved the old F-Zero and this remake lets you play the classic against 98 other players at once.

Overall, the game is fun but too repetitive.

The game is excellent in some ways - the old Mode7 graphics look goddamned beautiful on a big modern HD screen, and they’ve done a brilliant job adapting the classic assets into new ways, like the new spin-attack. The game has a simple and clean design that adds only a little to the classic game - it handles like the original (which is similar to MarioKart without weapons), but now boost burns health and collisions drop coins that you can use to “superboost” which is a short-term access to an elevated faster track.

It feels very random, but in a fun way - like, if Fall Guys was too chaotic for you don’t pick this up. Getting into top ranks in a race seems to depend on a lucky melee kill (which gets you enough health to abuse the booster), or pummeling a fortunately-placed Gold Bumper or two (which quickly give you enough coins for the superboost). Both of those are available on a pretty random basis. The occasional lag-spike adds even more to the randomness of play. But still, I’m enjoying it.

The big flaw imho is lack of variety.

I’m so sick of Mute City and Big Blue, after only a few days playing. The main game currently only has a 4 track rotation with 2 voting options, and voters always take the easier option. It’s a problem that the original SNES F-Zero only had 15 tracks, and they’re trying to keep it to Knight (Easy) League for now except for the “expert tracks” mode which is just Port Town 2 and White Land 1. They’re obviously going to bring in the other leagues over time, but that’s still only 15 tracks and some of those are hard-mode-remakes of older ones.

There’s also only 4 cars to choose from - there’s the speedy one, the brawler (important in these crowded courses), the fast-recharger (remember that health is boost) and the all-arounder. So good options to match your playstyle, but still: only 4.

F-Zero was a SNES launch-title that smashed it out of the park with music and gameplay and graphics and style, but it was obviously made under a deadline and so it doesn’t have an amazing amount of content, and you really feel that playing F-Zero 99.

It’s just too repetitive. I loved the OG, but I’d sacrifice nostalgia for some new, unfamiliar courses.

But yeah, if you’ve got access to Nintendo Switch Online, I’d definitely give it a try. You can’t beat the price: Free is my favourite flavour. It’s easy to pick up, the tutorial is pretty quick, and it’s fun. And it’s a Nintendo “99” nostalgia game, which means it’s certainly going to be time-limited. Play it while you can.

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