Mighty No. 9 Review

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It’s time to take a look at the controversial Mega Man homage game. This is also game number 2 from the Christmas batch. It’s definitely a very solid game when we look at pure gameplay, but it could definitely use some work in other aspects. The main culprit here is the level design as some just don’t make a whole lot of sense and are pretty unfair. The game has a habit of not telling you anything either, but I’ll take some very slight blame on that since I guess I could have experimented with the controls a little more. Given that the price crashed so quickly though, it is definitely worth purchasing.

The game follows Beck, The Mighty number 9, one of the last robots who is currently not corrupted. His fellow Mighty numbers have also started running amok and are causing terror in the streets. Doctor Sanda and Doctor White instruct Beck to save the day by defeating the robots and clensing them of the violent bug. It’ll be tough, but Beck is the strongest robot ever created so he should have the edge here. Who is controlling these robots though? Doctor Blackwell is a suspect since he has had many iffy crime dealings in the past, but he is currently in prison. With only one other actual character in the game, that means that we have 2 suspects. Well, lets start taking back the city!

Beck’s a decent lead although it’s hard to say what his personality is. He seems kind of sassy during some brief points, but for most of the game he is basically Mega Man when it comes to personality. He doesn’t like fighting and he’s super heroic to the point where you have to wonder if he’s faking it. He’s a good guy, but there just wasn’t much to him and you would barely even guess that he doesn’t like fighting if Call didn’t mention it a few times. Call is basically the Roll of this game. She gets one level to herself, which is cool since you get to fight as her, but she is given a terrible moveset. Her blasters deal next to 0 damage and she can’t power slide so you have to crawl the old fashioned way. Her level was also one of the very bad ones when it comes to design. She was a good main heroine though and I am glad that she isn’t reluctant to fighting.

All 3 of the doctors are fairly bland. Blackwell is easily the best of the three. He was framed and arrested so maybe the guy isn’t all that bad, but Doctor White certainly doesn’t like him. The game seems to be setting White up to be the villain of a sequel, which would certainly be interesting. White is even hiding the fact that he is related to Blackwell by changing his last name. Blackwell doesn’t like robots, which seems to be how the game is leaning him towards the dark side, but he doesn’t seem like a bad guy yet. The sinister design is probably an indication that he will do something drastic at some point, but he’s certainly no Wily yet. Sanda is the comic relief guy who constantly panics and stutters throughout the whole game. He definitely won’t be turning evil, but I wouldn’t want to see too much more of him. He doesn’t really serve any purpose in the story and is just there to be there.

The Mighty Numbers are fairly decent. They all have different personalities and none of them appear to be all that bad. They’re like the classic robot masters, but the game did a good job of not making them too identical. There is an obvious Proto Man homage, but we definitely did need a rival in the game. All good franchises develop one at some point. He was easily the best one in the game of course. Trinity was also pretty cool though and she is easily one of the stronger bots. I’d expect her to play a major role in the sequel unless they nerf her for some reason. Now that would be a shame.

As I got the PS4 version, it came with the free Ray expansion pack. I’ll definitely play that at some point, but for now that’ll go on the backburner. The character definitely looks cool though and I expect that he’d be a really good antagonist or rival figure. When I play that mode, I’ll upload an update post so that I can discuss it properly. I need to do the same with Shovel Knight at some point although this game certainly feels a little quicker so it would be higher on the list.

Lets talk about the gameplay. The positives are that they worked with the classic Mega Man style and improved it in some ways. Being able to air dodge is a lot of fun. It can be a little sensitive, but nothing too crazy. You may only slip and die a handful of times. I also like how strong the normal Mega Buster is. You’ll rarely want to use anything else, although the missile is certainly a very handy backup weapon. One thing you should know is that pressing on the PS4 touchscreen will let you use a health pack that you may have obtained during the level. If you see a blue icon under your health bar, then that’s what it means. You’ll lose them when you lose a life so use them before you die. I didn’t know about this until I was at the final boss. If I had only known earlier, I could have beaten the game way sooner and the final boss wouldn’t have been so difficult. The game never really mentioned anything about it though and I wasn’t going to surf the tips section until I found something. Again, I won’t blame the game too much, but this was a fairly important detail. You can also do back jumps while shooting by hitting the R2 button and that’s also very useful for the final boss. It only has niche uses though so you won’t be using it all that much.

One area where the gameplay failed is switching between weapons. Why wouldn’t they leave it simple like in the Mega Man games by just hitting L1 and R1 to instantly switch? Instead, that allows you to cycle through and then you have to activate the switch with triangle. It’s too many steps and will likely cause you to get hit once or twice during a boss fight. I also have to take a shot at the level designs. Purple spikes KO you instantly, but some levels have a Mario Maker esque moment where you’ll fall down and just bump into them. There’s no way to know that they’re there so you’ll always lose a life the first time that you encounter this. As the game is pretty short, there aren’t too many of these moments, but the ones that are there will certainly get on your nerves. Some segments have various jumps around the purple spikes and one death can send you pretty far back. Some of the checkpoints simply weren’t placed well.

The graphics are definitely pretty sharp and this is how retro inspired games should look if you ask me. It has the retro side scroller feel to it, but you can still see the updated graphics through the character designs and level layouts. Everything looks pretty smooth and modern, especially the aerial boosts. The game definitely looks quite good and that also helps get you into the game. The actual plot may have been somewhat underwhelming and the graphics never looked good for the cutscenes for some reason, but the actual gameplay visuals were always on point. The soundtrack is also pretty solid. Some of the themes are rather generic, but they are generic futuristic themes, which is still a win for me. The themes go very well with the moderate to fast paced gameplay. There were no “bad” themes in the game, which is always good as well.

There is a good amount of replay value to be found here. Getting that Platinum Trophy will take a very long time since the trophies are very hard. Can you imagine beating the whole game in 30 minutes or completing it on hard without any continues? Those two in particular sound crazy and there are a slew of others that will be just as hard. It would take dozens upon dozens of hours to do this unless there is some kind of save stalling technique that I’m not aware of. It’s certainly possible I suppose, but it would still take quite a while. Getting all S ranks on the normal levels will also be tricky and then you’ve got challenges and online leaderboards to worry about. It’s quite a lot of content so that’s a good thing considering that over 70000 people backed the game and that it got way more money than it ever needed. The controversies surrounding the game were certainly interesting to follow along back in the day.

Overall, Mighty No. 9 is a solid game. The level designs and the plot help to keep it from getting an 8 though. The main story won’t last you all that long either so if you’re not a big fan of the bonus content, then this game wouldn’t really be worth the 30 dollars for you. It currently goes for 10-15 though so that’s a very reasonable price if you ask me. This will also help alleviate the wait til the next Mega Man or Mega Man X game since it seems like it’ll be a very long time before Capcom gives us another one. I don’t get how a company can drop the ball so hard on one of their franchises, but that’s Cashcom for you. So, I definitely recommend this game and it was about what I expected, if not a little better. This is controversial, but I think it’s even better than Shovel Knight so that would make it my top indie game. It’s a little murky as to whether or not it counts anymore I suppose, but given that it was from kickstarter, I think we can still call it that. We’ll see if Shantae can take the crown though. The gameplay is pretty sharp and the plot is much better, but Mighty No 9 does have some advantages like the soundtrack and the graphics. Only time will tell and that review shouldn’t be too far off either!

Overall 7/10

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