When Mighty No. 9 was announced as a Kickstarter campaign by Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune, fans rejoiced at the idea of seeing Inafune bring back his creation (sort of) since Capcom is currently asleep at the wheel in that department. After numerous delays and countless negative reports and Kickstarter backers getting burned, Mighty No. 9 is here, but, unfortunately, it’s anything but mighty.
Mighty No. 9 follows the basic recipe for a Mega Man game. You’ll start with an intro stage, fight 8 evil robots while picking the order you wish to defeat them in, and then ultimately go to the final stage to finish the game. Instead of being Mega Man, you play as Beck. The Pepsi to Mega Man’s Coke, if you will. Beck is on a mission to save his fellow robots (the aforementioned 8 evil robots) who have gone crazy and are holed up in their respective stages with other crazy robots. While it has the basic recipe, it seems like someone at Comcept kept saying, “wouldn’t it be great if we add ****?” With this happening, the simple delicious blue bomber recipe soon turns into a stew filled with a mountain full of ingredients but a lack of a focused taste.
Mighty No. 9’s biggest change in combat from a traditional Mega Man game is the ability to dash into damaged enemies to collect power to use for yourself. This is actually a really cool idea and it rewards players for taking out enemies quickly and without getting hit. Certainly a nice challenge for players looking to climb to the quickest clear times.
Level design in Mighty No. 9 is boring and seems slapped together. Not to mention the overall look of Mighty No. 9 lacks any real personality. Environments are lifeless and the game doesn’t look good by any stretch of the imagination. This looks like a circa-2007 Xbox Live Arcade game, not something I’m playing almost a decade after that.
Even with a story mode here that’s fully voice acted, it’s pretty poor work. Characters have half-assed delivery and the lines they have to read are just…off. I can appreciate the effort to flesh out a story in this style of game, but when it’s not done well like this, it’s just another issue that adds to the despair.
Mega Man was one of the first games to really nail how to introduce enemies fairly and then challenge the player to work around that mechanic. I’ve never had a death in Mega Man that felt cheap or unwarranted. Most of that was my inability to adapt and understand what the developers were telling me. In Mighty No. 9’s case, most of my deaths felt forced upon me to give a sense of difficulty – but it’s not a good thing. Mega Man was hard but if you learned the mechanics and studied enemy tendencies, you could master it. Mighty No. 9 doesn’t know how to do that at all.
Not only are levels cheap, but so are the bosses. Instead of relying on skill and acting off your feet, Bosses are repetitive and are too often invulnerable and out of reach while you have to hop around dodging their attacks. In Mighty No. 9 you can pick how many lives you want to start off each level with the maximum being 9. Often I found myself trying to just get to get to the boss with as many lives as possible without getting killed in some ridiculously cheap way. Mighty No. 9 has a sort of faux difficulty. It’s not a difficult you learn from, it’s a difficulty that you hate. One that feels like the only way to get past it is sheer luck. If you lose all your lives on the boss, then it’s all the way back to the beginning of the level with a fresh set of lives. If the game wasn’t so frustrating to get to the boss, this wouldn’t be bad. However getting to the boss with a healthy set of arbitrary lives doesn’t mean anything. Some bosses have attacks that can take out half of your health, while some even have attacks that are hard to dodge and are an instant kill. No thanks.
What’s most unfortunate about Mighty No. 9 is that there are instances where it works. Some levels I was having fun dashing around and defeating enemies while platforming. But this a short reprieve from the reality of the game. Even when Mighty No. 9 is fun, there’s always some annoying element that slaps you in the face to remind you what you’re playing. I did appreciate the ability to map out the controls to almost any button I wanted, and I highly recommend mapping shoot to a trigger.
If Mighty No. 9 wanted to be a modern Mega Man game, it failed at doing so. If it wanted to be an evolution of Mega Man, well, it failed at that, too. As a platforming game, it’s just okay. Serviceable, but unfortunately forgettable. Mighty No. 9 takes all the fun and sense of accomplishment out of a Mega Man game and replaces it with cheap tricks and boring fights. Even with the original creator and some good ideas, Mighty No. 9 is not the Mega Man game you’re looking for.
This review is based on a review copy of the PlayStation 4 version of Mighty No. 9 by Comcept and Inti Creates. Review copy provided by Deep Silver.
- Glimpses of a good game
- Custom controls mapping
- Poor level design
- False difficulty
- Awful voice acting