- After much speculation, Nintendo has reintroduced its classic racing franchise, F-Zero, with a new battle royale twist.
- Unlike traditional racing games, this version requires players to outlast 98 opponents in a futuristic race, retaining the original's SNES art style.
- F-Zero 99 revives a beloved franchise, indicating Nintendo's commitment to its legacy and hinting at future developments.
Nintendo, the gaming giant with a treasure trove of iconic franchises, has just brought back another fan favorite with a twist.
After nearly two decades of waiting, fans of the high-octane racing franchise "F-Zero" are finally being treated to a new game. Enter "F-Zero 99", the latest in the series of "99" battle royale games that the company has been rolling out.
This isn't your ordinary F-Zero game, though. Drawing inspiration from the battle royale format popularized by games such as Fortnite, F-Zero 99 isn't about crossing the finish line first. Instead, players must outlast 98 others in a high-speed, futuristic racing gauntlet. Just like the original F-Zero which debuted in 1990, racers will experience a rush of nostalgia with the game's SNES art style and classic tracks.
The game mechanics bring something fresh to the series. Each of the 99 players will have a "Power Meter" that serves dual purposes. This meter can be utilized for a temporary speed boost, giving racers an edge against their competitors. However, crashes, whether against other pilots or the track's guardrails, will see this meter drop. A completely depleted meter results in elimination from the race. This creates a delicate balance for players to manage: do they risk using their power for speed, or do they play it safe?
Adding another layer of strategy, racers can collect "Super Sparks" which are emitted when racers collide. If you collect enough of them, you can access the "Skyway", a separate track elevated above the primary one. This offers a valuable chance to bypass competitors and improve one's position in the race. In addition to this, players will have the chance to unlock various cosmetic options for their vehicles as they complete in-race goals, adding to the game's replay value.
While the release of F-Zero 99 has been met with excitement, it hasn't silenced all the critiques. Long-time fans of the series, many of whom have been yearning for a new mainline entry, are left wanting more. They hoped that Nintendo's current flagship console, the Switch, known for its impressive first-party titles, would be the perfect platform to bring Captain Falcon, the series' iconic character, back into the racing limelight. It's been nearly 20 years since F-Zero Climax released on the Game Boy Advance, and while Captain Falcon has maintained his popularity through appearances in the Super Smash Bros. series, many hoped to see him steering his futuristic racer once again.
This new release does, however, hint at Nintendo's potential future directions. The "99" format has already been applied to several classic franchises like Super Mario Bros., Tetris, and Pac-Man. With the revival of F-Zero in this format, speculation abounds regarding which classic franchise might be next.
Despite the mixed reactions, the very fact that Nintendo has revisited "F-Zero" after such a long hiatus is promising. The new entry speaks to the company's willingness to tap into its rich history and rejuvenate beloved franchises for both the long-time fans and a new generation of gamers. The game's immediate availability as a perk for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, even without the need for an Expansion Pack tier, only sweetens the deal.
While "F-Zero 99" might not be the full-fledged sequel many were hoping for, it's undeniable that it has injected new life into a franchise that many feared had been left in the rearview mirror.
It's a tantalizing taste of high-speed, futuristic racing, and serves as a hopeful sign of what Nintendo might have in the pipeline.