After 18 months and 3 more visits, it felt like it was time to do a Level99 Review Update (Original Review from July 2021). Here’s a collection of thoughts on what’s going well (a lot!), and what could be better.
No More Gated Access
Level99 has discontinued the mechanic where we used earned currency to unlock more rooms. This was a smart decision.
Players can now enter any room at any time. If we encountered one we didn’t enjoy, or didn’t match our skill sets, we didn’t need to keep battling against it. We could simply walk away and try something we’d like more.
Pretzels, T-Shirts, and VIP Emails
The coins we earned in the games accumulated to earn us prizes! And with one exception, they were the kind of prizes that we were happy to claim.
Lisa is a huge fan of soft pretzels. The ones at Level99 did not disappoint.
Overall, the prizes were pretty neat. We didn’t win them instantly, and after many hours, they were a worthy reward for our efforts.
Except the VIP emails.
Somehow, my account has accumulated multiple VIP email prizes. When asked, we were told we’d been put on an email list. But I’ve never received an email from this list. And how can I earn being put on the same email list multiple times? Level99 should remove this meaningless and disappointing prize, or at the very least, limit their system so that it can only award it to you once.
It’s Not About the Prizes
While the prizes were motivating, it was the challenges, and the rush of getting just a bit further, and finally succeeding that has kept us at Level99 all day on multiple occasions.
We have logged a lot of time at Level99 and when we’re there, we go hard. After a lot of time and progression, we’re still eager to return in April to play more.
There are a ton of challenges that we love in Level99. A pair of games that stood out on our latest trip:
This game was as physical as it was fast. Green looks like Level99 commissioned Dr. Seuss to design an agility challenge… and it was the kind of game where I found myself saying, “just one more time…” until we landed 3 stars.
Dojo has been a part of Level99 since our first visit, and no matter how many times I’ve played this balance, movement, and awareness game I find myself wanting to play it more. I think that this game is iconically Level99.
There are plenty of games at Level99 that we didn’t click with on first play… but there are a few that after many attempts over multiple visits we still can’t connect with:
Every time that I walk out of this auditory challenge I’m left thinking, “Either this game is busted or I am.” I simply cannot get anything going in this game.
This game kills me. I’ve figured out what it wants me to do, but not how to accomplish it in a way that my body will allow. Brig makes me feel like I’m too old for this 💩.
Avatars & Stats
On our first visit to Level99, we found the check-in screens clunky. In fact, we didn’t realize how powerful they were until late in our visit.
This time, we spent a lot of time exploring these screens. They are impressive touch screen interfaces that give you a lot of information about the venue and what you can do within it. Each time we waited outside a game for the team inside to finish, we tapped to the screens to check if we’d played or completed various games, compare how much currency we’d earned, or upgrade our avatars.
The avatars were a really nice touch. They started pretty basic, but the more we played, the fancier our avatars became. We unlocked shapes, colors, patterns, and particles. We had these funny names and whacky avatars, which brought us a lot of joy.
Additionally, on this visit, if we had any trouble scanning our wrists bands, it felt more like user error than finicky tech. Maybe Level99 has improved the tech, or maybe we just got more experienced using it, but it didn’t feel like an issue anymore.
The food at Level99 remains fantastic. The only struggle is the wait time on food… it felt excessive.
We’ve found ourselves waiting 20-30 minutes for just about anything that the cashier cannot hand to us themselves. On our last visit we decided to cash in free fries and a free pretzel from our prize winnings… and we waited 30 minutes for them. It wasn’t especially busy.
This wouldn’t be quite so annoying if we weren’t paying for our time at Level99.
The wait times just feel confusing.
Level99 holds up to repeat visits.
The games remain challenging and engaging after multiple visits. It’s all accentuated by the lively, open environment and great food and beverage (even if the food comes with a wait).
It’s an exciting place and I’m glad that it’s so close to Lisa’s parents. As long as Level99 continues maintaining the games and adding new intrigue, we’ll keep visiting.