Early access survival games are all the rage these days. Some are obviously doomed from the start, while others have great concepts that will quickly attract a solid player-base. The issue here is that most of these survival-exploration types start off without some core features, and never get entirely completed even a few years down the road. Ark: Survival, DayZ, and 7 Days to Die are some popular survival games with ingenious concepts that have yet to become full-fledged titles. Don’t get me wrong, tons of players purchase these games and enjoy them. However, there’s so much missing from each title that could propel their presented experience to infinity. That said, The Other 99 is following the very familiar (and flawed) early-access route to a T. Let’s dive in and see what’s missing from another wonderful concept filled with potential.
The Other 99 opens with your character waking up in a dark forest with a mysterious note next to him on the ground. The letter basically tells you there are 99 other people on an island that you must kill in order to escape. Although it’s unknown why you’re thrust into this situation, there are cameras stationed around the island that watch your every move. Think a mix of Hunger Games, Lost, and Fight Club. I immediately felt a dystopian game show vibe coming from the world of The Other 99. Unfortunately, there isn’t much information around the island that expands on a broader story, although there are a few notes lying around that provide helpful hints on where to travel. Based on the concept of having to fight a bunch of strangers for survival with a higher power watching over you, I believed The Other 99 would be a great game. Here’s why it’s not.
To start, we need to discuss the game’s awful combat system. It works by forcing you to physically whip your mouse around without clicking. It’s somewhat like playing on a Wii again. Although, it might sound bearable, this is by far one of the worst combat systems I’ve ever experienced. Half the time, your mouse swings won’t register and you’ll be punished with a whack to the face. Other times, you’ll forget to lock onto an enemy and end up spiraling the camera out of control. To make things worse, each weapon seems to be equally effective. Meaning, there’s no benefit to using your fists versus a giant crowbar. The game boasts a gory, intense battle atmosphere, but I felt like an idiot brandishing my mouse around. Controller support is the only way to go with The Other 99 unless you want some motion-based game memories to surface.
As I’ve already mentioned, your ultimate goal on the island is to kill “the other 99.” That’s easier said than done when there aren’t even 99 others on the map at any given time. There’s actually only around 30, and they respawn once killed. Luckily, you’re given a wristwatch early on that tells you how many enemies are remaining. Occasionally, AI will fight amongst themselves and the number will decrease on its own. Still, you need to enter the brawl if you want to make any significant progress.
The second core component of The Other 99 is its survival system. Staying alive consists of keeping four separate meters up: hunger, thirst, stamina, and health. When your health bar drops to zero, you’ll die permanently without any respawns and in order to replenish health, you’ll need to keep the other three meters up. The survival structure is basic and contributes positively to the overall adventure.
A few alternate endings await you in the game, all of which aren’t very rewarding and surely need to be expanded at some point. I felt absolutely no gratification when I beat the game, and that’s the exact opposite of what should have been there. One consists of creating a boat with various parts scattered around the island. Another can be achieved by killing every last one of the others. None are worth your time, and none are acceptable for a finished game.
As you can tell, The Other 99 is not complete and definitely needs a ton of work to reach a well-built status. The crafting system is non-existent at this point, the combat system is flawed, and the story is extremely underdeveloped. Granted, the foundation of this game is enough to bring in some interested fans who want to embark on an escapade. All we can do is hope The Other 99 breaks the early-access trend and gets some much needed substantial updates.
A PC Preview Code for The Other 99 was provided by Deck13 Interactive for the purpose of this preview