After numerous delays, and 3 years of development, Mighty No. 9 has finally released to the public. As you may know, I was extremely excited for this game, and even backed it. It’s been a long time since a new Mega Man game was released, and that’s why the Kickstarter fared so well. Perhaps this very reason is why I enjoyed Mighty No. 9 so much. Truth be told, MN9 hasn’t done so well in reviews. I’d like to talk about why that might be.
MN9 is not a bad game, but it is a budget game. One with a very high budget for a an “indy” title. I think part of the problem here is that it wasn’t made like an indy game. It was made in the only way that Inafune knows how. Multiple studios were in charge of different parts of Mighty No. 9 as though this were a triple A title. Furthermore, there is issue with Beck’s design decisions; namely how he looks like a half-rate Mega Man. After multiple revisions, they settled on what you see in the header. How that happened, I’ll never know. Call, his partner, was at least voted on. As a backer, I got to be a part of that, and while there was a vote, every option looked at least a little like Roll. One of them looks a lot like Ceil from Mega Man Zero. I could tell that the game wasn’t going where I would have liked it to when there was an overwhelming majority that voted for the most Roll-like one possible.
Regular “Becker” updates would come in showing the stages of the different bosses, giving us “beckers” a chance to vote on different concepts here and there. This was neat and kept the hype a live for about a year, when they just kinda…stopped. Even still, I could tell where this game was going in its design. I wasn’t expecting too much. Perhaps that’s why I was surprised when I got my hands on the beta, and now the final version. While I’m still not a fan of the art decisions of Beck and Call, I did enjoy the game overall.
First off, Beck isn’t Mega Man despite the similarities. He’s capable of taking defeated enemies abilities, but this goes a little further than Mega Man ever did. If you kill a fire-based enemy, your blaster will have that element for a few moments. After you’ve blasted an enemy sufficiently, they’ll malfunction and you can dash into/through them. I’ve heard a lot of disdain toward this aspect of the game, but I’m cool with it. The only real complaint I have is that the stages aren’t designed around this mechanic. To be clear, Beck can dash repeatedly with only a short delay between them. Theoretically, this should make for fast and frantic gameplay, but as I said, the stages aren’t always built around it. What this means is that the game plays more like Mega Man than it should. The other problem I can see is that there are areas where you have to dash to land on platforms, but you don’t have control over your dash distance other than when you start it. For me, this lack of cohesion is what hurts the game the most.
Once you move beyond these fairly major flaws, Mighty No. 9 is an enjoyable throwback to the heydays of 2D platforming. It’s not quite on the level of Mega Man, and definitely nowhere near the greatness of the Mega Man Zero series. Boss fights are enjoyable, and mostly unique. I especially like the minions or non-boss enemies. Their designs remind me a lot of the Mega Man EXE series. The opening stage looks great, but later stages are far less detailed and feel like they were rushed. It’s no wonder why that it’s used to introduce players to the game. It makes you wonder where all the money went. If you’re still wondering, check above. I feet that I got a good experience from backing it, but I can understand why someone might not want to spend $20 on it.