Hello my old crumpets itís me Michael Burhan, that British person who loves to talk about games and stuff.
Back in 2013, fans were clamouring for a new Mega Man-esque title, and those prayers were answered with the debut - on Kickstarter - of
Mighty No. 9, helmed by - the not-quite-so Mega Man creator - Keiji Inafune and his Comcept development team (along with a
little help from Inti Creates).
After a tumultuous 4 years of well-publicised development problems; including being delayed not once, not twice but four times, along with Keiji
later returning to Kickstarter in 2014 for additional funds. But alas here we are in 2016, and the Blue Bomber finally makes his triumphant returnÖ
well not quite.
To say that Mighty No. 9 is a homage to Mega Man would be selling it short, especially the story and gameplay structure, which is
essentially a direct-copy - albeit with name changes. Within the world of Mighty No. 9 robot-fighting has become a fan-favourite pastime, but
as eight of these android's built for combat - created by Dr. White and known as Mighty Numbers - currently await battle at the Coliseum, they become
inflicted with a computer virus that turns them to the darkside.
Fortunately the ninth robot named Beck - aka Mighty Number 9 - is still very much in control of his own cybernetic mind and is now tasked
with taking down his robotic brethren and acquiring their abilities - it all sounds so familiar. The less than stellar voice acting that accompanies this
basic story doesnít offer you much apart from the odd pun, and definitely not of the calibre you may have come to expect considering the budget.
The game's visuals likewise are a far cry from the originally pitched concept art, instead steering into the bland and uninspired, with low quality
textures and odd lighting reminiscent of a PlayStation 2 title.
ďBut Megaman is about gameplay, not story or graphics!Ē I hear you cry, well in that department Mighty No. 9 can be quite the
hit-or-miss affair. Running, jumping and shooting through the over 8 stages on offer feels familiar and fun enough - with each of those stages loosely based
on a specific theme - but where the two part ways is with the dash mechanic employed within Mighty No. 9.
Normally as you progress from one side of the screen to the other, you would be taking down those evil foes with the Blue Bombers Mega Buster - or in
this case Beckís blaster - unlike Mega Man though, the evildoers within Mighty No. 9 donít simply disappear, instead they become weakened
(indicated by a flashing state) which you can then dash into - in order to gain ĎXelí - which grants Beck a temporary boost in speed or power.
Itís a simple enough system, one that has you chaining multiple enemies together to dash through and create combos, and even feels quite novel at first, but
it's unfortunately a card that becomes so overplayed within Mighty No. 9 that it quickly becomes a chore. And that feeling of repetitiveness
is not helped by the level design.
Itís no revelation at this point, that the original Megaman games were one of the few titles established as an early blueprint for every 2D platform game
that followed. Itís a shame then that Mighty No. 9 doesnít build upon those lessons, instead opting for an experience that at times feels
very low budget and clearly ill thought out, as the game continues to bombard you with one-hit kill obstacles and hidden trapdoors at its leisure, being overly
difficult for the sake of it.
When (and if) you manage to get through a stage, youíll be greeted with a boss fight - against one of your fellow Mighty Numbers - and instead of being an
affair in pure memorisation - of learning their patterns to best your foe - it unfortunately turns into a rather cheap affair that will have your frustration
gauge rising until you either manage to get through it - and obtain an item you can now use in the game going forward from that robot, that does indeed help -
or turn Mighty No. 9 off in a huff. Manage to best the game though, and youíll unlock a new playable - albeit
psychotic - character in Raychel who is Beck's rival (think Zero from Mega Man).
Alas we cannot judge Mighty No. 9 against what it should be - nor is it standard practice here at
Crash Landed to do so - instead I must evaluate it on what the game actually is;
Mighty No. 9 is definitely not a Mega Man title, it attempts to be sure, but falling way short of that lofty plateau.
As a standalone title though, itís a perfectly acceptable platformer that has high aims but accomplishes at being average. Itís biggest gripe will always
be its roots and how it came into existence - through Kickstarter - and therein falling short of fans - and this time, investors - expectations. What canít
be excused though is performance issues, whilst the PlayStation 4 version is acceptable (only suffering some slight hiccups and some slowdown in various
areas) the Wii U version of the title is completely unplayable.
I can personally attest to friends having to rebuy the game completely (this time for PC, PS4 or X1) in order to actually experience the title, which is a
slap in the face to those who backed Mighty No. 9 for that specific platform.
To say that Mighty No. 9 is a disappointment would be an understatement. Pitched as a return to form and raising nearly $4 million
from fans in the process, you would expect a high quality gaming experience.
Unfortunately Mighty No. 9 looks and feels completely budget, from the bland graphics, completely forgettable music, shallow story and the
voice acting that encompasses it, I can safely say; temper your expectations as this is not the Mega Man you are looking for.
Mega Man fans will likely find Mighty No. 9ís gameplay fun in shorts bursts - and if you're picking it up Iíd recommend the
PlayStation 4 version for the ability to play across all 3 devices - but any longer and the tedium of its poor and punishing level design topped off with an overused dash
mechanic will soon rear its head.
The concept of Mighty No. 9 definitely had potential, unfortunately the reality Comcept have delivered to us is not upto the quality
we have come to expect - making you appreciate those classic Mega Man titles all the more - but Mighty No. 9 accomplishes one thing in
spades; being your average, budget platformer.
Mighty No. 9 is currently available to buy for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, 3DS and PC via Amazon.
1st August 2016
- 3 Out of 5 Stars
Poor level design
Fun in short bursts