About 9 hours to complete the story.
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Content Warning: This game is rated M for blood, a drug reference, strong language, suggestive themes, and violence.
Upon acquiring my 3DS, I scoured the internet for games on the DS I missed. It seemed like no matter what I read, every article, list, or whatever would recommend 999. I really enjoyed the Phoenix Wright games (even Apollo Justice) so I was itching for another visual novel. I finally ordered 999 on Amazon and wow.
Mix the film Saw and the sinking of the Titanic and boom, you have 999. Sounds awesome, right? Well, it is. The story immediately sucks you in.
You wake up on this ship with no knowledge of where you are at or how you got there. Your cabin starts flooding and you have to escape. The game is intense, even though 95% of it is told through text. Not to spoil anything, but you have nine hours to escape the ship before it floods. You have a man/woman/it named Zero who explains the game you will be playing to survive. This involves you, eight other people, and nine doors.
I am unsure how all of this sounds to anyone who has yet to play it, but it is the best story game on the DS. Phoenix Wright comes in a close second. Every decision you make changes the story too as there are six different endings. I actually ended up with the safe ending and did not even look at a guide…
Until I finished the game and wondered how the heck that was the safe ending. As it turns out, there is a true ending that you can only get after seeing the safe ending.
I must address some of the content though. There is blood and it is nothing graphic. I do not recall the drug reference so it must not have been a big deal. Language is prevalent, but that is expected since you have nine people trapped on a ship surviving against their will, playing a game. Suggestive themes refer to one of the members wearing an exotic dancer’s uniform. Nothing nude but definitely serious cleavage. The violence is all through text and nothing is actually seen. I would not recommend for anyone under eighteen.
The game is split into two parts as it explains to you when you play. There are the novel sections and the escape sections. The novel sections are where you and the eight other members talk and decide what to do next. These are actually intense and do require you to make a decision here and there that affects everything.
Next are the escape sections. What happens is that you, and possibly others, are trapped in a room or set of rooms and need to escape. You will be scouring all over the place for anything that can help you get out. None of these sections are timed, however, so you are allowed to think and breathe. Which is great as the novel sections will get the heart racing and leave you yelling at your DS.
In the story section I mentioned, there are six different endings. Upon completing the game once, you can go back and play through it again to get the other endings or the true ending. 999 actually allows you to fast forward through the dialogue so you can make different decisions and escape the other rooms you never went to. What was originally a 8-9 hour game becomes something like an eighteen hour game.
Strangely enough, this is the weakest section. The graphics are mostly still images and the only 3D objects are things you pick up and the door handles. You will see what I mean when you play. There is no voice acting and all dialogue is read. If you hate reading, then do not play this game. There are sound effects and ambient music but nothing of note. Luckily the story and gameplay is so good that this section does not really matter.
Holy cow get this game! If you are an adult and do not mind swearing, then stop what you are doing and buy this game. After beating 999 you will just say, “Wow. That was incredible.” Then you will take a bathroom break and decide you want to see the other five endings or even the true ending. Thankfully there is a sequel to 999 on the 3DS and PS Vita so you can rest assure that there is more to experience after you finish this brilliant work of art.
+ The story is brilliant.
+ Your decisions matter and multiple endings.
+ Escaping the rooms is a good challenge.
- Unnecessary suggestive themes detract from the diverse cast of characters.
- No voice acting.