Developer(s) – Comcept & Inti Creates
Publisher(s) – Deep Silver & Spike Chunsoft
Director(s) – Koji Imaeda & Kinshi Ikegami
Producer – Nick Yu
PEGI – 12
Released following an immensely successful Kickstarter campaign and a series of delays, Mighty No 9 is the brainchild of Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune, as well as personnel from the development team of the original game In the series. Highly anticipated by Mega Man fans, it was released in mid-2016 to mixed to negative reviews by critics and gamers alike and dramatically failed to live to its budget and expectations. Having played it, I can understand why many of the original Kickstarter backers were deeply disappointed with this title.
Graphics – 6/10
Although the game was an independently developed venture, the visual quality of the game does not match the budget the developers were given by backers of almost $4,000,000. Besides this, the game also suffers from a number of technical issues; especially concerning the Wii U version of the game. One of many insults to the backers is that the developers clearly didn’t spend the time needed to polish the game before it was released to markets; especially coming as it did from a team of developers who experienced internal frustrations themselves from Capcom’s powers that were. From a conceptual standpoint, the game also fails to impress, with the developers seemingly taking basic elements and ideas from the Mega Man series, and building upon them in a very half-hearted manner.
Gameplay – 5/10
The game’s play also doesn’t live up to Mega Man standards, let alone those of the industry as a whole. Intended to present players with the traditional level of challenge the famed series was known for, this game at times can be even more unnecessarily unforgiving, as many casual players may struggle to get past even the first level. At least with Cut Man’s stage in the original Mega Man game, it was an appropriately fair introduction to the rest of the series, but with Mighty No 9, it seemed to have been designed with only veteran Mega Man players in mind, which for a lot of potential newcomers, causes needless problems.
Controls – 8/10
The original Mega Man game did suffer from minor issues with the controls in terms of unresponsiveness. But Mighty no 9 suffers from the same problem, but to a slightly greater extent, again, causing a lot of unnecessary frustration, potentially to both newcomers and veteran Mega Man players. Even throughout the first level of the game, there is a lot of platforming obstacles the player has to overcome in order to progress, during which unresponsive controls can cause a multitude of different issues at different points in the game; especially as it is based on a number of lives the player has, hearkening back to old-style gaming.
Lifespan – 5/10
Clocking in at around 6 hours, despite the fact that funding for the Kickstarter project was supposed to have been enough to reach stretch goals required to bring DLC to the game, Mighty No 9’s lifespan also criminally short; especially for a modern game. Most 2D platformers that are typically developed by Nintendo, for example, can be easily be made to last 15 to 20 hours given enough substance in gameplay; New Super Mario Bros U and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze are textbook examples of this. Six hours may have been impressive by 1987 standards when the original Mega Man game was released, but in this day and age, especially against other kinds of games, it doesn’t hold up the same as it once may have done.
Basically mirroring the plot and basic premise of Mega Man, the game’s story centers around a robot named Beck, the ninth in the Mighty Number android line-up, who has been tasked with eliminating his fellow Mighty Number robots after they have been infected with a computer virus; almost identical to how Mega Man must neutralize the robot masters. Almost every aspect of Mighty No 9 story was taken directly from that of Mega Man’s, as was the conceptual design, and has had not a great deal of real thought put into it. It’s especially underwhelming given the fact that the main appeals the developers wanted this game to have also failed to live up to their respective expectations.
Originality – 3/10
Taking everything into account, the only hints of uniqueness this game has about it is in the conceptual design, which whilst may have been heavily borrowed from the Mega Man series, does minimally well do stand out among other games in general; but certainly not enough to make it do so to any great extent. Although this game certainly does not spell the end for challenging 2D side scrollers, since the likes of Rogue Legacy continue to impress gamers everywhere, it spells a particularly grim future for Comcept, as their latest project, Red Ash, failed to reach its Kickstarter goals
To sum Mighty No 9 up, I would describe it as a gaming travesty; a middle finger to Mega Man fans, as well as the Kickstarter backers. Though it may have been a once-promising game to players, especially those who played the beta, the end product is certainly something to be forgotten.