Title – The Other 99
Version Tested – PC
Available On – PC
Developer – Burning Arrow
Publisher – Deck13
Genre – Action, Indie, Early Access
Official Site – https://burningarrow.co.uk/the-other-99/
Release Date – August 25th, 2016
Where to Buy – Steam
The Other 99 is an early access title that recently released on August 25th on Steam. It is a single-player, first-person, action survival game. Ripped from your ordinary life you awaken on a desolate island with nothing but a note that reads, “The only way off the island is through The Other 99.” Yes, those other 99 are people that you will have to go through. Now, keep in mind that this is an early access review. Therefore things in the game may change and some bugs are expected. Lately, I have really enjoyed the hunger games/battle royale style games. More recently I’ve been playing H1Z1: King of the Kill so I was anxious to give The Other 99 a shot.The Other 99 was developed by Burning Arrow, a brand new game studio out of England. The company consists of a small team formed in 2014 and their first major title is The Other 99.
One of my biggest issues with The Other 99 was the combat. It felt very bland, repetitive and was ultimately unchallenging. I think there was only once occasion where I was actually concerned that my health would run out. This was really only because my AI opponent was stuck on a hill. Despite me being able to take damage, I could not seem to inflict any. While you do have the ability to “block” attacks, a quick step in, hit and step back will work just fine on one or multiple enemies. In the event you do take damage, you’ll just need to consume some food to regain your health.
You do have the option to sneak around the island and avoid combat but this largely felt unnecessary due to the ease of combat. Random noise traps are set up around certain areas that will alert the others to your presence if you are trying to be stealthy. Most of these are easily seen and pose no problem to disarm.
The survival mechanics are simplistic in nature and the only time I ran into trouble was during my first playthrough. The four main bars for your player are Health, Hunger, Thirst, and Stamina. Your health is tied to your hunger. The hungrier you are the less health you have to spare. Your stamina, in turn, is tied to your thirst. The thirstier you are, the less stamina you will have to do battle with The Other 99. Food and water will highlight when looked at but in the game’s dark setting, you’ll want to be sure to scour each area for supplies. What won’t highlight, however, is the parts you need to assemble a boat to escape the island. If you do enjoy survival mechanics, check out The Solus Project.
What I really enjoyed about The Other 99 was the mystery. How and why was I on this island? Who put me here? Is there a way off? As you make your way through the island, you will find a variety of notes written by the others trapped with you. Some notes describe despair, regret, and sadness. Others provide clues to secret locations for supplies and perhaps even a way off the island. More often than not, I feel that video games lead the player by the hand through the story. On several occasions, I’ve come across compelling stories which make the game a solid title. However, I miss the mystery, the chance to figure things out myself, and I even miss that chance to fail to uncover clues. The Other 99 definitely succeeded in achieving that mystery that other games can lack.
When you kill one of The Other 99, a counter on your wrist will go down. This will inform you just how many people are left on the island. The others will fight amongst themselves so you will hear the counter go down even when you are not battling. For the purpose of this early access, the counter will only go down to 70. At that time you’ll get a message from the developers and be informed that enemies will now respawn. Now, while enemies will respawn, supplies will not.
In addition to the combat, I had one other big concern with The Other 99… the replay value. During my second play through, I noticed that pretty much everything… except for some enemies, were in the exact same spot. Codes on hidden boxes don’t change, and neither do hidden items. There is also no save game option. So once you’re on the island, you’re there until it’s over. Either you die or you quit. I myself got about 10 hours of gameplay before having little interest to go back and play again. While a number of different endings can be achieved, would they be compelling enough to play through the entire island again and again?
I’m really excited at the potential of The Other 99. If some minor adjustments could be made for the replay value and combat, you could be looking at one impressive indie title here. In the event you’re short on cash, you might want to hang on a bit longer before buying. However, If the $14.99 isn’t going to hurt your pocket, this is one trip into madness I recommend giving a go.
Have you played The Other 99? If so, what did you think? Be sure to let us know in the comments below and check out our recent coverage of TwitchCon 2016.
- Gameplay: Bland combat but great mystery
- Graphics: Compelling environment and setting
- Sound: With headphones, you may find yourself looking over your shoulder
- Presentation: A trip into darkness and just how far one would go to survive
- Dark setting
- Replay value
- Little Danger