99 Moves (DSiWare) Review – “A Move in the Right Direction?”


EnjoyUp Games’ next installment in the “99” series of games is another pick-up-and-play title aimed at quick, simple fun on the DSiWare platform. Somewhat similar to their other game, Abyss, 99 Moves plays like a cross between Snake and Boulderdash with puzzle elements. Does 99 Moves move the casual market on the eShop forward or backward?

To find out, let’s explore 99 Moves’ gameplay dynamics. Like Abyss, 99 Moves has 12 levels to get through. You can use the D-Pad or Circle Pad to change your character’s heading, but he will continuously move in the direction you indicate until you change it. Each time you change his heading, one of your 99 moves – hence the name – is used up. You need to try to make it to the exit in each level without using up all of your moves, and this entails navigating through labyrinths with moving obstacles to avoid. You will begin to accrue points the longer you avoid hitting obstacles, and you can also run over special power-ups that will grant you 99,000 points each. It’s simple and surprisingly fun, with such a low barrier of entry that just about anyone (and their grandmother) can get into.

99 Moves follows the series’ hallmark of simple, retro-style graphics and sound, and it gets the job done without being too overt. The game uses simple Atari-style graphics and sound, and it works in a charming way. However, it’s really all about the gameplay with EnjoyUp’s games, and there’s some solid fun to be had. The missions are fairly varied, and there’s a nice sense of risk-versus-reward in the multiple paths you can choose; usually you’ll know right off the bat which path is harder to get through, but you can be sure there will be a score bonus power-up waiting at the end if you make it through. The area where 99 Moves falls short is in its replay value; there really isn’t much of it here. This is an area where many casual games thrive; the fact that you can get so much gameplay out of such a small cost. However, given 99 Moves’ one-shot nature, it makes the $1.99 price point much less appealing. The game comes with 12 missions to get through, but once you beat them, there’s very little incentive to go back to them other than to reach the top of the offline leaderboards. However, unless you share your system with a friend or family member, you’re really only competing with yourself. If EnjoyUp Games had included some sort of online leaderboard system, or a level creator / random level generator, it would have gone a long way towards improving on the game’s value.

99 Moves is a fun, simple game, but simply doesn’t deliver enough value to really make it a worthwhile purchase. It’s not to say that $1.99 is a lot of money to spend on a video game, but don’t purchase it with the expectation of getting hours and hours of gameplay out of it. If you’re okay with that fact, then 99 Moves makes a worthwhile, if short-lived, diversion.

Overall Score: 6.5 / 10= Reconsider an immediate purchase…