Totally NOT a Mega Man Clone
One of the most infamous Kickstarter projects started out so innocently and with a lot of hope. Keiji Inafune, one of main minds behind the Mega Man franchise of old, put a lot of passion behind a Mega Man-like game called Mighty No. 9. With a beautiful piece of concept art, fans quickly backed the project, contributing more than four million dollars total.
Following this was a lot of controversy, from Inafune asking for even more money, multiple delays, the launch of a second Kickstarter before Mighty No. 9 even released, and community manager mishaps. While the final product of Mighty No. 9 is hardly what I'd say awful, for a four million dollar Kickstarter-backed game, most of us can easily expect more from this project.
The story of Mighty No. 9 follows Beck, the ninth robot of a unit of warriors known as the Mighty Numbers. When an unknown virus infects numerous machines as well as the other Mighty Numbers, the unaffected Beck must combat against the threat by taking down each corrupted Mighty Number and discover the reason for the virus breakout.
Being a game created by former Mega Man mastermind Keiji Inafune, it only makes sense that Mighty No. 9 would take a lot of concepts and mechanics from his past works. This is seen throughout the gameplay, where you control Beck as he shoots, runs, jumps, and dashes through one of a dozen or so side-scrolling platforming levels. The levels don't have as much in the way of secrets, as they're linear just like many of the classic Mega Man series games. However, many levels do reward points for completing certain challenges, such as getting a Sprinter bonus for moving quickly through a specific area of a level, or a Quick Clear bonus for taking out a room full of enemies with swift timing.
|Take out all of these foes within a fast enough amount of time to receive a Quick Clear bonus.|
However, when Mighty No. 9's levels do shine, it's a lot of fun. I particularly enjoyed a level where Beck is moving across the tops of vehicles in a fast-paced highway level, though the frame-rate isn't always the smoothest, slightly diminishing some of the enjoyment I had. Another level has Beck scaling a radio tower to reach a Mighty Number to battle. The vertical nature of the level and the fierce winds make it one of the most interesting in Mighty No. 9.
|The highway is one of the more interesting levels featured in Mighty No. 9.|
|The true enemy of Cryogen's level is that of the ice puns that will leave you out in the cold.|
Continuing to borrow from ideas from the Mega Man franchise, defeated Mighty Numbers give Beck their signature special weapon that he can use in levels and against other bosses to make for an easier time of things. While it's not as enjoyable as the Mega Man series to figure out which Mighty Number weapon works best against which boss, as the effects aren't nearly as drastic against a boss's health, it's still pretty fun all the same.
Alongside the main campaign, you can unlock new challenge missions for either solo or cooperative play. These missions have you doing everything from getting to the goal with various caveats such as one that has you being unable to use your dash or attack abilities, destroying all the targets as a particular character within the time limit, and the hardest of the hard challenges, playing through all of Mighty No. 9's stages without dying. Yeah, I don't think I'll be getting to that one any time soon! In addition to the challenge missions, once you initially beat Mighty No. 9, you unlock a boss rush, pitting you against all of the Mighty Numbers in succession.
|The feel of controlling Beck is one of the highlights of Mighty No. 9 that the development team got right.|
|Watch out for those pink spikes. They will end your run if Beck even so much makes contact with them.|
All in all, Mighty No. 9 isn't an absolutely horrid experience by any stretch of the imagination. It's, dare I say, a good deal of fun. However, some design decisions especially in some levels, dull environments, and unappealing voice acting make for a game that is good but not great. In total, Mighty No. 9 is an average platformer, but considering the game somehow took four million dollars to create, "average" is simply not good enough.
[SPC Says: C]