After a successful kick-starter campaign and a couple of delays, Mighty No. 9 is upon us at last. Considered the spiritual successor of the fantastic Mega Man series due to its remarkable similarities (I will speak of them a lot within this review), Mighty No. 9 hit its crowd funding goal within 2 days, which is quite the achievement. Producer Keiji Inafune actually worked on the Mega Man games, which was surely going to be a notable factor in the design of Mighty No. 9. There is no doubt about it. Keiji and the rest of his team at Comcept have developed a true homage to the fabulous blue bomber.
Mighty No. 9 puts you in control of Beck, a robot/human hybrid who must stop the rest of his Mighty Number squad after they are inadvertently turned evil due to the spread of a virus. Beck has the help of his friends who are the scientists who created the Mighty Numbers and Call, his female equivalent. Cutscenes are spread throughout the game, although they aren’t the most exciting. They mainly consist of Beck, Call, and his scientist helpers figuring stuff out and deciding what to do next. The dialogue and voice acting leaves a lot to be desired. Considering the carnage in progress and the possible end of the world, Beck always sounds cheerful and optimistic. You would be forgiven to think this was actually a game for children if it wasn’t for the gameplay.
Speaking of which, Mighty No.9 is Mega Man in everything but the name. You control Beck as he navigates each of the assorted level types which correspond to that particular Mighty Number boss. Bosses range from Pyrogen who has taken over an oil refinery stage, whilst Battalion’s stage is an abandoned army base overrun by out of control robots. Navigating the levels is easy to get the hang of, but the difficulty spikes are frequent. After the initial tutorial stage which seems easy enough, you then are put through varying degrees of challenge, some of which seriously test your skill…and patience. The ice cold Cryogen’s stage was a prime example of how tough things can get. Starting off particularly plain sailing, it’s not long before you find yourself tackling a water stage with ice platforms that, if you’re a veteran gamer like me, means double trouble and lots of cheap deaths. Luckily, levels aren’t timed, so you’re free to take it slow. Shooting robots with your suspiciously familiar arm cannon turns them into a coloured dazed state, after which Beck is required to use his dashing ability on them. Dashing through dazed enemies allows Beck to absorb them which, more often than not, grants him boosts such as flame shots or a speed boost which runs out after a short while, but these boosts certainly help when the difficulty spikes again.
At the end of each level, Beck fights the boss. Some are easier than others. Bosses have specific attack patterns that, once learned, can be easy to overcome. Cleansing a Mighty Number from the virus that consumes it allows Beck to absorb its power into him. These can be used within levels until the dedicated power bar is depleted, my personal favourite being Battalion’s rocket bombs which can be triggered to fire and then explode manually. Beating a certain boss before a certain level even unlocks them to make an appearance in that level, which I thought was a really cool surprise.
Like I said before, Mighty No.9 is Mega Man in all but the name. Is that a bad thing? Mega Man was a fantastic series that defined platforming. It is considered a classic. Some may think Mighty No. 9 is just trying to be Mega Man, copying it for its own success. I disagree. Some features such as the added challenge mode or “EX” mode adds longevity and encourages replaying the main campaign to unlock them all. Mighty No. 9‘s most obvious difference is that it is considerably cuter, although this means that the Mighty Number bosses don’t carry the same “umph” as the Mega Man robot bosses do, and although I mentioned the difficulty spikes, Mighty No. 9 is notably easier than the Mega Man games.
Mighty No. 9 is one cute game. The bright colours and charming characters give the game a children’s TV show aesthetic. Something you would see on CBBC. Beck is a nicely designed protagonist. An ideal hero with a weirdly useless visor on his head which appears to be just for show. Unlike Mega Man, Beck’s arm cannon transforms on the fly whenever he uses it, then it goes back to hand form. His friend Call is no Zero. Donning the standard girly stereotype pink colour scheme, she is more android-like than Beck and speaks in a more robotic voice than him. Levels are nicely designed and it’s clear that the Mega Man inspiration played more of a role here. Traps and enemy placements finalized by a satisfying boss battle ooze the blue bomber’s influence, it’s not a bad thing in the slightest and complements Mighty No. 9 for what it is clearly trying to be.
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii-U, 3DS
Release Date: 24th June 2016