F-Zero 99 Review

F-Zero 99 Review

Super Mario Bros. 35 was a digital coliseum where Italian plumbers mosh-pit for the crown. Battle royale: a fancy term for organized chaos, a gladiatorial free-for-all where gamers scream and controllers sweat. Tetris 99 was another brick in the wall, proving the formula could bend and twist and fit any mold. Enter F-Zero 99, a high-octane, neon-drenched test tube where 99 maniacs fight for the checkered flag like vultures over roadkill.

What makes these lunatics strap themselves into metal coffins and chase a checkered flag so flimsy it wouldn’t make a decent napkin? Is it the rush, that near-death tango with oblivion that masks the gaping maw of mortality? Or something deeper, primal, a guttural roar in their circuits that urges them to skate the edge, to stare into the abyss while taking a long drag from an unfiltered cigarette.

In this Thunderdome, the only rule is there are no rules. It’s not about who crosses the finish line first, it’s about who’s left standing when the smoke clears and the rush of adrenaline fades. Is F-Zero 99 another attempt to squeeze that sweet battle royale nectar from a stone-cold classic? Find out in this F-Zero99 review!

F-Zero 99
Nintendo Software Technology
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: September 14, 2023
Price: Only available to Nintendo Switch Online members

In F-Zero 99, victory is a fleeting mistress, fame a cheap perfume that fades faster than a nitro boost. Here, glory is measured in milliseconds, a series of near-collisions and gut-churning hairpins. It’s about pushing the limits and defying the laws of physics and sanity, all for a checkered flag that wouldn’t even cover a pizza box.

F-Zero 99 doesn’t offer a story, just an engine scream that shakes your fillings like castanets on nitro. It’s a funhouse mirror where the speed is faster than death. There is no hero’s journey, only 99 gladiators in chrome chariots, all gunning for the finish line like hyenas over a wildebeest carcass.

The original F-Zero was a gravity-defying 16-bit racer full sci-fi of hovercrafts, where friction was a rumor and G-forces that would snap a fighter jet pilot’s neck four ways. Mode-7 warped the visuals into a pseudo-3D dreamscape that blew minds in the early 90s. Back then, two-player was a thrill ride, but 99? That’s weapon-grade insanity.

Somehow it works. Nintendo didn’t shove 98 AI-fueled drones onto the tracks and call it a day. The developers tweaked the mechanics like a mad scientist fine-tuning a doomsday device.

Tightened the controls, juiced up the boost, and sent these chrome rockets careening across tracks more twisted than a The visuals are a throwback to 1991 but pumped up with steroid-injected sprites that make Wacky Races look like an easy Sunday drive.

Every vehicle and track looks like it did in the original game, there are just more of them now. Controls are tighter than a gnat’s ass in a wind tunnel. Every boost sucks down HP like a rabid dust bunny, every guardrail kiss is a heart-stopping tango with disaster.

Gamers are expected to tiptoe the line between speed and self-preservation, a delicate balance where one wrong move sends you spiraling into a fiery abyss like a rogue bumper car. Amidst the chaos, there’s this unspoken understanding, a fragile equilibrium where everyone knows to maintain a temporary alliance.

It’s an addictive scramble of desperation and grudging respect. Racing your guts out but you also know that one wrong move by anyone could send the whole damn circus careening off the tracks.

These tracks are littered with golden orbs, temptation shimmering like a mirage in the neon haze. Bump another racer, snag a fat truck, and you’re soaring through the skyway, laughing at the ants scrambling below.

The orbs are also a risk, each one could lead to a potential wipeout if you risk a bad turn for a bunch. One wrong move and you’re plummeting back into the fray, a chrome comet with a date with the pavement.

F-Zero 99 is free to play, yet it won’t pester players with microtransactions. No pop-up ads screaming about “limited-time offers” or nag screens begging you to buy some digital snake oil. Just pure, unadulterated speed – the way it was meant to be. It’s free to all subscribers to Nintendo Switch Online, so go nuts while it’s available.

The content is leaner than an Ethiopian whippet. Sparse menus, no sprawling career modes, just the bare-knuckle basics: pick your car, hit the gas, and pray you don’t become a chrome smear on the racetrack. F-Zero 99 sidesteps the worst parts of online gaming. No laggy servers, no whiny kids crying about their K/D ratios. Just 99 cowboys hurtling through futuristic circuits, battling for the finish line and the fleeting glory of first place.

The customization options are about as deep as a kiddie pool, and the lack of long-term content might leave some hardcore racers wanting more. For a quick dopamine fix, a hit of high-octane thrills, F-Zero 99 is the real deal. It’s a shame Nintendo will pull the plug on this speed demon someday. It burns bright, and fast, and leaves you with a memory that’s just as blurry and exhilarating as the last lap.

F-Zero 99 was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a copy purchased by Nichegamer. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. F-Zero 99 is now available for Nintendo Switch via Nintendo Switch Online subscription.


The Verdict: 8

The Good

  • Refined controls and playabiltiy
  • Stable online gameplay, even with 98 other players
  • Tried and SNES style pixel art
  • Easy to pick-up-and-play
  • Very little down time between races

The Bad

  • Very light on content and modes
  • No single player circuits
  • Nintendo will inevitibly terminate this game


A youth destined for damnation.

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