99Moves Review - Screenshot 1 of 2

Having covered bullets and time, EnjoyUp's pint-sized yet madly challenging 99 series of score-attackers aligns its focus on the third staple of classic game design: movement and the limitations thereof.

Over the dozen or so stages of 99Moves, players are dared to make it to the end of a gauntlet in as many moves or fewer. It doesn't sound very fiendish — there's a lot of wiggle room just shy of 100, right? — but the game's challenge certainly bumps up against the boundaries of sanity through brazen level design, making that tally awfully precious in later stages.

Once moving, see, you cannot stop. A tap of the D-Pad (or face buttons) sends your ugly little guy careening off in that direction, and to get through to the end requires a hint of cunning and an ounce of cat-like reflex to find the critical path.

99Moves is far from forgiving in the sense that stages can appear downright mean in design; often unpredictable and claustrophobic, there's a lingering feeling that at any moment the world will turn on you — and frequently does — by sending forth a rogue oblong. Failure to adapt to the stage's changing patterns will cause the ever-present move tally to plummet from all of the corrective action, and knocking into too many obstacles will kill you just the same; oftentimes the only choice for survival is to memorize the stage's machinations.

99Moves Review - Screenshot 2 of 2

As 99Moves is driven by high scores, players are rewarded for brushing up against obstacles and reaching the end with moves in the bank — the more, the merrier.

This series certainly isn't one of the prettiest on DSiWare — its retro veneer calls back to an awkward-looking era — but if nothing else the simplistic designs allow players to pay most attention to the game's mechanics. Considering 99Moves is all mechanics and busy level design, a simplistic look is somewhat appreciated.


For players of a certain persuasion there's plenty of love to go around for EnjoyUp's latest: costing about the same as a few plays at your local arcade, 99Moves offers a rock-hard retro challenge. But just the same as the coin-munchers of yore, one person's challenge is another's cheap trick. 99Moves doesn't do a great job at differentiating the two.