If there has been a game in recent history that has had one rocky development cycle it seems it would be Mighty No. 9. It was backed and funded with the quickness when comcept original brought the idea to market as many saw it to be the Mega Man title they have been waiting for. Then Deep Silver hopped in and made sure that development on Mighty No. 9 would be certain to make it to the end. Then there were a whole lot more roller-coaster ups and downs until the game finally released. We had a chance to give the game a good play and now we have our official review for the game. Here we go…
It is a future where we all love machines and they do a great job for us. Then a virus hits and does exactly what viruses always do in a civilization like this; it drives all of the good robots evil. All except two from the start as Beck, the titular Mighty No. 9, and Call are on the job with Dr. White as we try to bring order back from the chaos. The huge bonus being that Beck can attack and not destroy the evil robots but bring them back to the side of good. Can he do it? What other pitfalls will he run into? Well that's just what we need to find out in the game.
When you have a platforming title semi-based off of a popular franchise as Mighty No. 9 one would think that the general game mechanics would carry over. In this case here I am talking about the specific robot abilities that we pick up along the way and having the ability to harm certain bosses more than another. This mechanic is in the game to some extent although in some cases it makes little to no sense how they sync up. Fire should harm Ice more and Ground to Air. At least that is how it worked way back when and now you have to keep an eye out in the background or mission select screen to see just whom to call upon to help in the battle. Extremely frustrating as they almost never matched up.
On top of that we also have a look at the core of Mighty No. 9 and that being the platforming in general. This is where things need to be as tight as possible and sadly here in the game they were extremely loose when it came to timing and location. When you mix in a level that has moving platforms, or in the case here vehicles, it was hard to gauge where was safe and not safe to land. That was also if you could manage jumping, shooting, dashing, and everything else going on to hit the very fine area of safety. I won't lie that I had many rage quits on Mighty No. 9 due to dying too many times over a location that shouldn't have been that difficult.
Lastly, it also felt like there were two specific teams working on the game and then working on the tool tips and tutorials for the game. The basic moves were very straight forward but there were too many instances where I either died or could find how to progress in the game as it required a very specific move that had yet to be shown to us and it only popped up when you were too close to death to be able to stop and try it. Most of these were actually only found by me after I walked or jumped into a death trap and saw that the popup came up just as I was heading into an exploding death. Not the way to get the players up to speed and understanding the game at all.
If there was one thing that Mighty No. 9 did perfectly it was giving us all a true sense of nostalgia with the IP the game was based on. Not surprising given the team over at comcept and their history but this felt like it was a true sequel to the other franchise that won't be named again here. I was instantly transported back to my childhood and the first time I spun up Mega Man (oops) and this was an amazing thing. It felt close to second nature with all of the new features added in as mentioned above. If that was one of the team's goals then they hit it perfectly on the head here in the most perfect way.
I know others have griped on it but some of the level design choice for Mighty No. 9 actually made my loved section of the review here. This style of game is generally just a side scroller that sometimes goes up and down but here we even had levels that had us going back and forth and technically in a 3D motion as well. This was a great addition to the concept we have here for the franchise and original IP as well as a great way to break up the same old "run right and shoot" gameplay that we've grown with. Change is good sometimes and this is a great example of how it can be added in and made to succeed. If only other games could take the idea and run with it.
Finally here we have the new absorption mechanic herein the game. This is where you could shoot an enemy just enough to weaken them but not kill them. Then you dash at them and absorb some of their power and build a combo rating based on time and accuracy. This in turn led to Mighty No. 9 getting a few new abilities for a short time or the ability to regain health along the way. It added a great strategy element to the combat that took some time to master but once you did it made the gameplay that extra bit better. Even when it came to the boss fights where it was needed to be able to defeat them it was well received here and not as big of a hindrance as many think.
Mighty No. 9 was plagued with a rocky development and launch but there is no denying that it did what we all should have expected; it brought back a favorite IP in a new and original way even if not in name. Yes, it has some gaping faults in it but it isn't anything that can't be surpassed with practice. Granted this doesn't help some of the harder modes and challenges the game also offers but if you are in it for the fun and not the challenge then I fully recommend Mighty No. 9 for pick up. If you want it to be able to truly experience it in all of its ways then you might want to hold off as the platforming needs some tweaks to make the challenges actually doable.
I give Mighty No. 9 9 Malfunctioning Robots on the Malfunctioning Robot scale.
Mighty No. 9 — Launch Trailer
Mighty No. 9 was developed by comcept and published by Deep Silver for the PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, Windows, and Linux on June 21st, 2016. A PS4 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.