99 Seconds Review (DSiWare)

The Nintendo eShop is host to a whole slew of accessible casual games, and Spain-based EnjoyUp Games certainly has a few to its name, including Snowboard Xtreme and Abyss, each of which we’ve reviewed on the site. 99 Seconds is a game in a similar vein, offering up simple, enjoyable gameplay in bite-sized portions. Available for $1.99, is 99 seconds worth even one of yours?

99 Seconds is actually a sequel to another EnjoyUp title, 99 Bullets. However, rather than incorporating gunplay, 99 Seconds revolves around the manipulation of time. Your character, V-99,  has found his way into another dimension known as Bit 8, and must dodge deadly black areas of space while collecting blue power-ups to extend your time and surviving as long as possible to extend your score. The pivotal gameplay element is V-99’s ability to slow, stop, and even rewind time. Using any of the face buttons, it’s possible to go as far as reverse time in order to navigate between black spaces and collect power-ups. However, the clock will keep ticking during this time, and the more you rewind, the more your score decreases, so this pivotal ability can’t be used wantonly. Getting hit by a black zone will also stop the game for a few seconds, preventing your score from increasing but continuing the clock countdown. Power-ups will randomly appear during a game as well, giving you something to reach for other than V-99’s continued survival. Blue orbs will increase your score and grant a 10-second time extension, while collecting extra V-99’s will give a dramatic score increase. Once time is up, you’re truly running on borrowed time; after this point, you can’t use your time-rewinding powers, and getting hit one more time will end the game. You can still collect blue orbs as they appear to get a little breathing room, but at this point the end is near.

Unlike Abyss, 99 Seconds’ gameplay lends itself well to a mobile title, and is very reminiscent of retro-style arcade games. With a simple premise and controls, 99 Seconds is one of those titles you can easily play if you have a few minutes handy, yet presents an addictive challenge that’ll have you coming back for more. The game features three difficulty options – Easy, Medium, and Hard – and each presents a totally different challenge. While you may be dodging obstacles with ease on Easy, you’ll just barely be holding on in Hard mode. Each mode is infinitely replayable and comes with its own leaderboard, though without any online posting options you’ll be setting out to beat your own record unless you share your DS or 3DS with another. The game’s visuals and audio are fairly middle-of-the-road, and while they may not do much to stand out, they actually fit the game’s aesthetic quite well. 99 Seconds, whether intentionally or not, presents itself as a throwback to the yesteryears of retro gaming. Graphics are simple but scintillating and consist of shifting shapes and flashing color pallets. Before video games had jaw-dropping graphics and realism, it was all about the gameplay, and when it comes down to it, 99 Seconds pulls its weight in this regard.

Priced at just $1.99, 99 Seconds is a fine example of what EnjoyUp can do with a pick-up-and-play casual game on the DSi platform. The gameplay is simple but fun, boasts endless replay value, and while the graphics and sound may not be ground-breaking, they serve as a nice reminder to a time when games were about the gameplay. 99 Seconds is an enjoyable mobile game, and a good addition to any DS owner’s library.

Overall Score: 7.0 out of 10 = Buy it!