Nostalgia can be a funny thing in gaming. Gamers constantly talk about the good old days, but they always want their games to be on the cutting edge of design and technology. What happens when a game seeks to do both at the same time? In some cases, the answer can be seen in games like Mighty No. 9. A reasonable stab at making the modern equivalent of a Mega Man game, this game certainly divided gamers. Our hope is to provide a detailed and balanced Mighty No 9 review.
|Type of game:||2D Action Platformer|
|Total Play Time:||7.5 hours|
|System Requirements:||CPU: Intel® Core i3 / AMD A6 2.4Ghz
GPU:GTX 550 Ti Graphics Card
OS: 64-bit Windows Vista or newer
HDD Space: 20GB
The World of Mighty No. 9
Critics are divided on Mighty No. 9, as are gamers. It takes a fair bit of digging to figure out what makes the game work and, in the end, whether it’s really worth the wait. We’ll be looking at the various elements of the game, including its atmosphere, main characters, and storyline to determine what makes the game tick. We’ll also take a look at the game’s obvious design influences and its recent DLC to help round out our opinion.
Atmosphere and Location
Mighty No. 9 is definitely the kind of game you don’t see much of on consoles these days. An almost painfully 2D side-scrolling action game, the atmosphere can most definitively be described as old school. While the game certainly leverages a great deal of modern technology to look good in high definition, you’re left with what looks very much like a game from 1990 made with modern technology. Generally composed of a series of lengthy boss dungeons and ending with typical boss characters, the locations do tend to blend together a bit if you play too much of the game in one sitting.
There’s absolutely no denying that this game wants to be Mega Man. Created by former Mega Man designer Keiji Inafune, this game lifts elements from the original series left and right. From the music to the character design to the basic plot, the game can charitably be called a love letter to Mega Man. Given that the series was more or less dead at the time of this game’s development, its decision to ape the original series was probably borne out of a desire to see something done with a beloved design.
The main character of Might No. 9 is Beck, a humanoid robot. Beck is one of the Mighty Numbers, a line of combat robots who have mysteriously gone bad during the course of the game. Beck himself is somewhat averse to combat and a bit more human than his siblings, as tends to befit the protagonist of this kind of story. He’s still a relatively powerful creature, though, and is perhaps the last chance that the world has in the face of an overwhelmingly powerful foe. He displays few doubts about his place on the battlefield, even though we’re repeatedly told that Beck is not fond of combat.
If anything in that description sounds familiar, it’s definitely purposeful. Beck is a deliberate homage to Mega Man himself, both in terms of design and his back story. He even has a robot partner that has a thematically appropriate name – Beck and Call falls into the same kind of wordplay trap as the original Rock and Roll. Where the character differs, at least, is in his informed personality – he actually has one in his initial appearance, something that would be very difficult to say about his predecessor.
There are a few more characters in the game, some of whom do seem a bit more original than Beck. His creator, Doctor White, is clearly modeled on Doctor Light but does seem to take a much more proactive role in the game. More interesting are characters like Doctors Blackwell and Sanda, who play important roles in help Beck move through the story. Even the villain of the piece, Trinity, seems to have more effort put into its personality than Beck. It’s easy to see why this feels like a new Mega Man game, especially for players who are most familiar with the early games in the series.
Mighty No. 9 cribs a great deal from Mega Man in its design, so it should come as no shock that it does the same in terms of the story. A decent mixture of both the classic game and the X spinoff, it places players in control of a robot named Beck who must hunt down his evil counterparts. Beck is the sole unaffected robot in the midst of a robot uprising caused by a malicious entity, and thus must work with the scientists who created him as well as a few others throughout his journey. Again, it’s a basic Mega Man plot with the serial numbers filed off for resale.
As one might imagine, the bulk of this storyline really boils down to sending Beck through linear levels in order to fight his siblings at the end. As with most games in the genre, the end goal requires a fair bit of dexterity and the right choice of powers. Like is inspiration, a great deal of the game’s challenge comes from beating the bosses in the right order. Certain powers are more effective than others, so it will take a bit of doing to figure out the right way to get through the game.
If you strip the storyline away, what you get is actually a very straightforward series of missions that end in boss fights. This is a type of game design that is rarely seen today, which is doubly true when it comes to console releases. It’s a throwback in terms of both design and narrative, so players shouldn’t expect anything shocking. Instead, it’s very much a game that puts narrative at the service of the game itself – if something doesn’t make sense, it’s likely because it would have interfered with the design of the levels.
DLC & Expansion Packs
Somewhat surprisingly, there is DLC for Mighty No. 9. At the moment, single release has been the RAY Pack, which introduces a new stage, a new playable character, a few new mechanics, and a boss rush mode. It’s the kind of thing that you’d expect to be packed into the game given its core audience, but it didn’t release until after the main game had come onto the scene.
It’s hard to say that this expansion is really worth five dollars. Given that it’s relatively easy to find the full game for ten dollars these days, it’s asking quite a bit for something that really doesn’t add all that much. The new character is interesting and the new mechanics certainly change the game, but that doesn’t mean they make the game better. It’s certainly a good purchase for anyone who loves the game, but it’s definitely not something you must pick up.
It’s hard to get excited about Mighty No. 9, even if it came onto the scene with a great deal of hype. It’s a pure nostalgia grab, one that absolutely doesn’t perform as well as advertised. At best, this game will make you want to go back and play the games on which it is based. At worst, it will turn you against a series of great-to-middling games just by the association. It’s a sad example of the worst of crowd funding and a cautionary tale for anyone who bases their games entirely on nostalgia.
Did you get more out of Mighty No. 9 than we did? Did you think the game was great, or did you find the same faults we found? Did the hype around the game impact your feelings? Let us know by getting in contact with us!