|Newly released for the PC and Mac, the game is a 2-D sidescrolling roguelike dungeon-crawler with a trigger-happy twist that trades traditional sword and sorcery for more modern weaponry, such as guns and bombs.
As expected of a roguelike, 99 Levels to Hell features randomly generated dungeons —not to mention ten different dungeon environments, so that each playthough is a fresh and uniquely hellish experience (in the best sense). In addition to over ninety-nine levels, the game offers more weapon types and upgrades than you can shake a shotgun at, as well as some extra unlockable player characters and a wide variety of creepy-crawly underworld baddies to blast away with your weapon of choice.
As if the death penalty doesn’t make your journey harrowing enough, a few classic traps (including spiked floors and spinning saws) are introduced once you pass the tenth level. Moreover, if you tarry too long in one place, the overtime ghosts will come after you. The 99 Levels to Hell are no walk in the park —dillydallying will not be tolerated, and loitering is punishable by death.
Time truly is a precious commodity, considering how much there is to explore in this game. Each level is a riddle to be solved on the fly, and like any good maze, there are quite a few dead ends and sidetracks to slow you down. Several accessible rooms can be found in each level – some are mysteries to be solved at your own peril, while others are clearly identifiable as shops, casinos, or elevators. Shops let you buy goods with gold, while in a casino you can gamble with cash —or raise the stakes higher and bet on your life, to try to win random prizes. Hopping in an elevator allows you to skip a few levels, but beware: elevators travel in two directions.
Aside from being lazy, taking the elevator may also cause you to miss one of the most interesting items of all: narrative fragments. While dungeon-crawlers typically feature little to no attempt at an actual story, hidden within each segment of 99 Levels to Hell is a puzzle-piece of poetry which, when fitted together with the rest, will reveal the ending of a riveting tale which began once upon a time, “on a bleak and twisted night.”