99 Levels To Hell for Linux Review

very good
key review info
  • Game: 99 Levels to Hell
  • Platform: Linux
  • Gamepad support: Yes  
  • Reviewed on:
  • Written by:
  • Show system requirements
99 Levels To Hell gameplay

99 Levels To Hell is a platformer that teaches players two things: it’s not easy to get to Hell and you might die a lot in the process.

99 Levels To Hell is a 2D platformer developed by Zaxis Games and B-evil and published on multiple digital distribution platforms, like Steam and Desura. We tested the game on Steam, but I think it’s the same experience no matter the platform.

I can only imagine a meeting of the developers before putting together the ideas for this game, and it might have gone down like this:

“So, we need to make a game about a character going to Hell. We’ll make it procedurally generated so he doesn’t pass through the same level twice. How many levels? Let’s say ten. Do the ghost bleed? Sure, why not.”

A day later, the concept still seemed incomplete so they went back and imagined something harder. “10 levels are too few, let’s make it 99. It’s less than 100, but there are so many that most likely nobody will be able to finish the game.”

Before embarking on the trip for the 99 Levels To Hell, you must understand that this is an extremely difficult game. You might think that the sheer size of it will make you tremble, but there is a culmination of factors, about which we will talk in just a moment.


The first character that you control in the game uses a shotgun and, to be frank, it must be the number one choice for anyone. If you ever had a choice of weapons before descending into the bowels of Hell, a shotgun is probably at the top of a very long list.

Like any good 2D platforming game, you start in a small hub with locked doors to the sublevels. The progression is pretty simple – you play ten levels, the tenth being a boss fight that unlocks the next set.

The levels are procedurally generated, which means that the general layout of the walls, enemies, keys, locked doors, and pretty much everything, will be in a different place after you die. And that will happen a lot, especially in the beginning, until you learn what you have to do to stay alive.

If you ever played a 2D game, the mechanics of 99 Levels To Hell shouldn’t feel too different. You jump and shoot your weapon at everything that moves. Everything is smeared with a copious amount of blood whenever you kill it, making the players feel they are in a very gory type of game.

The goal is simple, or at least appears to be simple. You need to find the key and the locked door. Some levels have entrances to other, smaller rooms, like mazes or shops. There is a twist though.

You might feel that the game is pretty easy, at least in the beginning. The character moves rather fast, the shotgun is a very powerful weapon, and you make short work of most enemies. The problem is that every level has an allocated time limit, which is not visible to the player.

The music changes and the level starts to fill up with gas (which doesn’t appear to harm the character) and it’s flooded with immortal creatures, like ghosts and so on, which bleed but don’t die. The only way to kill one is to leave behind a bomb, of which you have a limited quantity, in the style of Bomberman. You might hit it or you might not, but that's your cue to leave.

As for the life of the character, this is a rogue-like game, which means that, once you die, you lose all the progress you made that far. It takes a lot to kill your character, which has a lengthy life (unlike the Binding of Isaac, for example), but the end result is pretty much the same.

The enemies also get a lot tougher as you progress but, besides gold and other trinkets, you will uncover upgrades for your weapon and other kinds of protections, like a glowing rotating orb, for example.

You will also find other weapons, but they are usually provided later in the game, after you have already upgraded your primary weapon. I never wanted to replace the main weapon, mainly because it was too powerful by that time to just ditch somewhere.

From a graphical standpoint, 99 Levels To Hell is not half-bad. Sure, it doesn’t have the engine of triple-A titles, but it’s more than enough for what the developers wanted to achieve. You will be way too trapped in the frenzy of the action to notice anything else.

The Good

  • Lots of variation in the levels
  • Interesting concept
  • Great replayability

The Bad

  • Little incentive to change the weapons
  • Some boss fights are too hard


99 Levels To Hell set out to be a difficult platforming game and it succeeded, for the most part. It's fun to play and the progression of the difficulty curve is slow enough so that you feel that the next time you might do a little bit better. You are probably wrong, but that won’t stop you from trying.

story 0
gameplay 8
concept 8
graphics 8
audio 8
multiplayer 0
final rating 8
Editor's review
very good

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