Developer: Comcept, Inti Creates
Publisher: Deep Silver, Spike Chunsoft
Platform: PC, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, OSX
Tested on: PC
Mighty No. 9 – Review
Recently we took a closer look at a game called 20XX, which did not hide where it got its inspiration from, namely the Mega Man series. While the game is in many ways a blatant copy of components from CAPCOM’s series, it improved a lot on said mechanics and blasted Mega Man into the next generation, with roguelite aspects added to the fray, as well as multiplayer functionalities. This time we had the chance to try out Mighty No. 9, which was originally deemed Mega Man’s true successor, but the game has been under a lot of fire as it was postponed several times and did not live up to the standards of the hordes of fans. Nonetheless, some things might have been a bit exaggerated.
This time we trade in the random year of 20XX for an introduction that states it is ‘the present year’, but in a seemingly parallel universe. It seems this version of our planet is filled with robots and automatons which are used for every function or occupation one can think off. Nonetheless, something has gone horribly wrong as all of the robots are rebelling and are causing mayhem all over the planet, except for Beck and Call. While many of the rebelling robots are mere grunts, there are also those called ‘the Numbers’, which were created by the friendly Dr. White. You, Beck, are number 9, and you’ll have to knock your fellow automatons back to their senses, as they are normally very kind, especially to you.
Overall the story is rather simplistic, but not that much different from all of the other Mega Man games, where you’ll have to go out and beat up some rampaging robots, in order to get stronger. You’ll get snippets of extra information during the levels, as well as after them, following the same simple layout.
Truth be told, graphically Mighty No. 9 will not even remotely blast you from your seat, as everything looks a bit below par, albeit with a certain cuteness that stays intact the entire game, at least when it comes to the characters. Everything looks like it was designed for two generations ago, and while the characters themselves do have a certain appeal, the animators didn’t even bother to throw in proper facial expressions during conversations or even moving mouths would have been something that would have made the entire experience better.
If you look past the ‘okay’ characters, you’ll get treated to very empty stages, which copy paste a lot of their obstacles all the way until you reach that stage’s boss. Even worse are the explosion effects, which look like someone glued some cardboard cutout flames on your monitor, and tries to haunt you with them until you desperately throw your monitor out of the window to make it go away. In short, while the graphics may not matter that much for a game such as this, some extra finishing touches would have done a lot for this title.
Even though the music doesn’t reach the stellar level like the older Mega Man games, the soundtrack is quite fun to listen to, and the upbeat tracks get you motivated just enough to keep pressing on. Nonetheless, it’s the voice acting that makes the rough graphical prowess of the game a lot more pleasant. You’ll be treated to rather cheesy voices, which would work great in a children’s animation series revolving around the characters of the game.
Mighty No. 9 is a retro inspired action platformer, and in many ways the spiritual successor of the Mega Man series. This means you’ll be running and gunning a lot, with a hefty dose of platforming on the side. The game doesn’t bother with too many whistles and bells, and focuses on the core mechanics, which feel rather reminiscent to the good old days when the series was still omnipresent on Nintendo’s NES.
Fighting is a bit different compared to the normal Mega Man games, namely when you hit your enemies a couple of times, they will become distorted and ready for you to assimilate them, simply by dashing into them. When you do so, you’ll often receive small power-ups, which stay active for several seconds. If you take the more peaceful approach and absorb your enemies, rather than fully destroy them, you’ll be able to gain a small damage boost, projectiles that pass through enemies, speed boosts and so on. Of course, just like in the Mega Man series, you’ll also be able to gain new weapons by defeating the different bosses. After you do so, you’ll be able to use their powers freely, if you have enough energy that is. While these weapons can aid you in difficult times, they are often rather disappointing in terms of power and their energy bar depletes way too quickly. Nonetheless, it’s a fun change of pace. The only thing that this games lacks is that Beck’s weapon doesn’t have a charge shot.
Platforming is very straightforward, as you’ll only be able to run, jump and dash, but more than often it’s a matter of proper timing and not getting frustrated at some of the challenges you’ll have to overcome. This brings us at the difficulty of the game, which is rather high to say the least. Due to this, some players will probably get frustrated before they even get to kill one boss, but in many ways the game tends to be fair, safe for some truly bullshit portions you’ll have to traverse through. Bosses have a specific attack pattern, which you’ll be able to counter if you work on your timing and of course know what attack will follow.
Mighty No. 9 is in no way the game many fans were hoping for because, perhaps, their standards were set a tad too high. Nonetheless, the game is a rather average action platformer, with a high difficulty curve and sadly, mediocre graphics. That being said, the game is reminiscent of the older NES Mega Man titles when it comes to the overall mechanics and this happens to be a reasonable amount of fun. If you can toss aside your rather unrealistically high expectations and aren’t afraid of a challenger, this game still proves to have a rather fun side.