By Tim Abrams
Mighty No.9 is one of the most talked about games right now. Created by the infamous team behind the Mega Man games, its existence is full of controversy. The short story is this: Capcom didn’t want to make any more Mega Man games, so the team left the studio and started a Kickstarter for a game that would be a “spiritual successor” to Mega Man. After being delayed for more than a year, the game finally was released. So can the game charge up a fan base that has been longing for a game for several years, or does Mighty No. 9 make players run out of juice?
As always let’s start with the graphics. This game’s art style is not the best, and can be seen as lower quality by modern day standards. Having a similar feeling to not only Mega Man games but Dreamcast era games and Saturday morning cartoons as well, Mighty No.9 embraces the cartoon style to the maximum level. The cell shaded textures match the tone of the game, while the music is what you expect from a retro platformer. No blood or gore is needed, but for some robot vs. robot action, all you need to see is a few sparks fly. But even being decent in looks, the game drops frames quite a bit, meaning a laggy or choppy game. On top of that, there are little to no shaders or light enhancements; the game is by no means a cutting edge example of modern gaming graphics.
The storyline in the game is very… minimal. You play as the 9th robot named Beck who was created by Dr. White. The other 8 robots, who are the greatest robot fighters in the world, were infected at the start of the game by an unknown force. This is almost a direct parallel to the Mega Man storyline, and as you progress through the game and defeat the other robots, you get more pieces of the story.
After all of that, nothing really pops out as “good” in Mighty No.9. The gameplay can not only be frustrating at times; but seems, just stale. Mega Man games over the years rehashed the same formula over and over again, but never gave off a feeling of just general mediocrity. The creators were going for those same feelings of accomplishment, but in reality, they just created a rushed, lower quality version of a great game.
To go into greater detail, the main character Beck has a dash attack that can absorb power-ups through enemies that he has defeated. If the player dashes through the enemies at the right time, it will create a string of combos that make the power ups better. Although these power-ups do improve the player’s ability to defeat bosses and other enemies, it does not change many of the gameplay aspects. Another problem with this system is that even after defeating several bosses, most players prefer the weak and wonky original attacks because they (although barely) are more efficient. This gives many players little initiative to keep fighting through bosses in order to get the “best” perks. The dash also works as a platforming mechanism, creating a way for the player to complete puzzles and jumps. This barely changes throughout the game, though, meaning that even later in the game you find yourself solving the same jump puzzles over and over again.
The game is very frustrating as well, which keeps taking me out of the immersive aspects of the game. The Mega Man games were hard (and Mighty No. 9 is by no means the hardest game) but the fact that everything in the game is very punishing, is a turnoff to casual gamers who are not searching for something that challenging. For the more hardcore gamers, the frustration comes from the relentless challenges faced by the game mechanics getting in the way of completing, what should be, just a simple puzzle or task.
So is Mighty No.9 worth it? To be very honest, no. I am a fan of the Mega Man games, but Mighty No.9 does not live up to its predecessors at all. The feelings of clearing a challenging area, finding out how to solve a puzzle and beating a boss all seem to be shadowed by either the game’s history, its controversies, or its very lackluster game mechanics. It seems that a project that had so much potential and hype surrounding it will most likely lead to even darker times for the mighty blue bomber. Mighty No.9 gets a 5/10.
5/10. For TMN, I’m Tim Abrams.