F-Zero 99 (Switch)

Nintendo’s futuristic high speed racing series: F-Zero, hasn’t had a new game in nearly two decades!  Until now.  F-Zero 99 is a 99 player battle royale racing game modelled after the original SNES launch title.  I’m not sure that’s exactly what F-Zero fans wanted, but for a Nintendo Switch Online freebie, it’s not too bad.

Play control is like the original game.  Press B to accelerate and A to boost.  If you hit the sides of the road or other cars, you lose energy.  Lose it all and you’ll explode and are out of the race.  You can also explode immediately if you go off the track.  Your energy meter is also the same as your boost meter, so you’ll have to be careful when you boost.  You can refill your boost meter at certain points on the tracks.  Press the L and R shoulder buttons to lean into turns, and the L and R trigger buttons make you do a spin attack on other players.  When players in front of you hit each other, they’ll leave behind little yellow dots called ‘sparks.’  Pick these up to fill a second meter, and when it’s full, press the boost button to race on a separate track high above the first one, with lots of boosts and shortcuts to help you place higher.  There are other ways to get more sparks, too, like hitting special golden cars.

On the menu screen you can play the main F-Zero 99 mode on a single track.  The next mode you unlock after the tutorial.  This mode changes every so often and will let you do team battles, hard tracks, and mini grand prix races.  At certain times of the day, you can compete in grand prix races if you have enough tickets.  You get tickets by playing every day and levelling up.  You can also practice tracks by yourself, and edit your car and player badge in the workshop.  By levelling up and getting achievements, you can edit your car’s color, decals, and more.  The four cars you can pick are the same ones from the original F-Zero game.  My favorite has always been the Fire Stingray.

My only problems with this game is that there’s not much to it and I’m horrible at it.  I’ve never gotten past 50th place and I can’t get past the second track in a grand prix race.  But it’s still fun and since the SNES is my favorite console, I like seeing games like this in a new light.  I don’t know why Nintendo didn’t just remake F-Zero GX and put the 99 player battle royale on that, but oh well.  Can you imagine what a SNES Super Mario Kart 99 player battle royale would be like?  At any rate, F-Zero 99 is a fun and frantic Nintendo Switch Online freebie.  I wonder how long it’ll last since both Super Mario Bros. 35 and Pac-Man 99 are no longer available.

Kid Factor:

F-Zero 99 is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence.  Futuristic cars can explode on the track, and that’s it.  I grew up with games like this and I turned out OK.  Reading skill is helpful for the menus and tutorials, and younger gamers may find the races too difficult.

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