Amid today’s Nintendo Direct came a pleasant surprise for fans of a certain dormant racing series. This surprise arrived in the form of F-Zero 99, a new battle royale take on the original SNES F-Zero that follows in the footsteps of Tetris 99 and other games with the “99” moniker. Notably, this serves as the first new F-Zero release to come in almost 19 years, albeit not in the form of a fully-fledged follow-up like what fans hoped to see. Still, an F-Zero game is an F-Zero game, and fortunately, those interested in giving F-Zero 99 a whirl can do so as soon as today if they have a Nintendo Switch Online membership.
Much like other games in the 99 series, F-Zero 99’s main gimmick sees you racing with 98 other players on tracks hailing from the original F-Zero on SNES. You’ll race using one of the original game’s four machines, namely the Blue Falcon, Golden Fox, Wild Goose, and Fire Stingray. As per F-Zero tradition, you have a power meter that will gradually deplete as you bump into other racers or the track’s edges, and you’ll be eliminated if it goes to zero. But of course, you can purposefully sacrifice portions of your power meter for speed boosts.
Take to the skies
As for completely new features, the game includes special Super Spark collectibles that appear on the track whenever players bump into each other. If you collect enough of them, you can access the Skyway, a temporary airborne path that can help you get a major leg over the competition. The game also features new cosmetic options you can unlock by completing goals.
It seems quite possible that Nintendo plans to use F-Zero 99 as a way to gauge interest in a new mainline F-Zero game, although I obviously can’t say for certain. I know I would love to see a brand-new game that stands toe-to-toe with the fantastic GameCube entry F-Zero GX. Hopefully, F-Zero 99 serves as a positive sign for the series going forward, rather than a sign to keep relying on other developers to scratch that futuristic racing itch.