Steam Greenlight Spotlight: 99 Levels To Hell
99 Levels To Hell is a 2D platformer like none other I have seen. Developer Bo Blond calls the game "a 2d-shooter/Dungeon-Crawler with roguelike elements." You initially play as a magician trapped in a mysterious castle by a jealous king and the only way out is through hell. As you make your way down, you'll free other adventurers that are playable in your next game. But the replayablity doesn't only come from unlocking new adventurers – every level is randomly generated. Dungeon sets of ten levels will be randomly generated, with the tenth level being a boss fight. This is where the roguelike nature of the game comes into play. Die at any point during a level set, including the boss, and you have to start at the beginning of the set. In other words, if you die on level 29, you'll have to start back at level 21. Each dungeon set will supposedly have a new graphical theme, but the game is currently only in the alpha stage, so we'll have to wait and see.
Roguelike games have seen a surge in popularity recently with surprise indie hits like The Binding of Isaac and Dungeons of Dredmor; both games that I have played extensively. Roguelike games tend to feature randomness and perma-death (though Dungeons of Dredmor does allow you to bypass the latter). 99 Levels To Hell has the randomness, but the tenth-level checkpoints makes death a little more tolerable, though I'm sure still ever so frustrating. The other thing that may be frustrating? Secretly timed levels. Though there is no visible timer on a level, if the game thinks you're taking too long, all of sudden flames will engulf the screen and the game will enter "Hell Mode" where all enemies go berserk, with the game literally telling you to "Get out now!!" It sounds like a fairly unique way of pushing players along at a reasonable pace to keep the action intense.
In the end, like any good dungeon crawler, 99 Levels To Hell is about one thing – killing lots and lots of enemies. To do so, you'll be able to find or buy a wide range of weaponry from the standard, like a shotgun, to the wacky, like a bubblegun. Each weapon can level up three times, as well as have boosts added for increased range, damage, or bullet size. With all the killing comes a lot of pixelated blood strewn about. For that reason, this may not be a game for everyone, but I still think it has broad appeal, and thus why it is my Steam Greenlight Spotlight this week. Check out the trailer and screenshots below and see for yourself. If you want to get the game cheap, it's currently included in Groupees' Build a Bundle 3, which means you can pick it up with at least one other game for a minimum of $1.50 ($0.75 per game). That's just too good of a deal to pass up.