I backed Mighty No. 9 three years ago, and the first delay happened right around the end of Summer 2015. By then, they released an early demo of the game with two levels. It came in a .zip file which you had to extract manually, and all the files were loose in a series of folders, making you need to search through the folders of an Unreal Engine 3 project to find the “MN9.exe” file. It was poorly organized and seemed rushed, and little did I know is that the demo alone described the entire development team’s approach to a simple video game concept.
At least…that’s what I thought originally, before playing the game. Now I feel empty, void of happiness. What I played wasn’t broken, it wasn’t bad; it was simple, uninspired, unoriginal. What I played was a game trying to worm its way into the hearts of Mega Man fans everywhere, but fails to do anything right that those games did so many years ago.
How do you mess up your own formula? Finally, I can say: “Do nothing at all to make it different.”
Mighty No. 9 is set in the US, where robots enter an arena to fight each other as a sport. One day, however, these robots go berserk and start attacking cities and taking over various facilities for their own benefit. That is, until Mighty No. 9, also known as Beck, jumps into the scene and jumps-and-shoots everything to win.
Beck has an arsenal of tricks: AcXel Dashing, jumping, shooting, ledge-grabbing. Everything you’d expect. Nothing wrong here, the controls and feel are fine; Beck moves as you’d expect, and for the most part, the main mechanics aren’t too bad. After shooting an enemy enough times, you can dash through them to absorb their Xel for extra points, but some give you boosts in your attack, speed, and armor abilities, while some may even work as a health tank.
There are 8 levels to choose from the start after your initial tutorial. 8 robot masters and if you defeat them, you gain their powers. Mega No. 9 likes to call these simple weapons “ReXelections,” note the X. Without saying much else about the weapons, they all suck. The fire weapon literally makes you explode and takes way too long to charge to be effective, the ice weapon has such an extremely limited range, and the list just goes on. At no point did I enjoy the weapons; I just stuck with the regular blaster.
Also, the game seems to have it out for your buttons, since a lot of the boss attacks require you to mash directions and jump to escape them. The bosses themselves have really simple patterns and overall get monotonous and irritating. Also, they have maybe two lines in total for each action they do, and yes it does get annoying rather quickly.
The levels as well are uninspired and boring. They follow a one-track mind, having no semblance of structure besides tired gimmicks and cheap enemy placement. They’re a chore to get through, and the screen size overall makes it difficult to get a full grasp on what’s ahead. Also, going underwater in the game is excrutiating, dragging the pace to a crawl while making the dash ability way too good. You can effectively skip a lot of the water sequences with a simple series of dashes, and that’s good. Because being in water sucks.
If you want to know more about the game, well that’s all there is to it. Eight starting levels, eight boring bosses, eight useless weapons, decent controls and overall forgetful characters. The graphics as well are just bland and lack any personality, much like the characters, which all look like they were ripped straight out of Pokemon Rumble U. The levels themselves lack any flow and just look bland. Do I really need to note the explosions and flame graphics here? You’ve seen them.
Mighty No. Man tends to have massive performance issues, as well. Framerate issues throughout, crashes on some consoles, and that’s on top of the random animation issues on some enemies, making them animate like a slideshow rather than what I think is 30FPS? I dunno, really. The game also barely passes graphically as a PS2 title, let alone an Xbox 360 launch title, and this is on the PS4, too. At least the loading times are fair here, but be warned that the Wii U version apparently has abysmal loading times after deaths (30-45 seconds, about the same as Bloodborne v1.00).
And what about the voice cast? Well, they all sound bored, and as such, every character just doesn’t sound right. The only character that even sounds good is Call, and she’s a flippin’ robot! That’s when you know the voice acting is poor, when the actor told to sound robotic sounds better than the rest of the cast. Also, they have an exceptional sense of horrible puns, Cryogen being the big one here; doling out ice puns throughout the boring, irritating, ice-physics-riddled stage. Dr. Sanda for some reason, likes using every regional exclamation in the book. “Crikey!” “Jiminy!” He exclaims, as his voice sounds like he’s trying to talk half-submerged underwater.
The music as well, is nothing to write home to. There’s certainly an instance of effort here somewhere, but it’s forgetful. The only thing stuck in my head is the opening theme, which is used as the boss intro sting as well.
So what else am I supposed to say about Mighty Mega Man? Well, don’t buy it. Don’t play it off your friend’s account. Don’t even torrent it. It’s not worth your time. This review was barely even worth my time. But I had to write it, because I’ve waited three years for this game to come out; a year’s worth of delays later, here we are. Four million dollars later, here we are. A game, a cartoon, another game with an anime, and two DLC later, here we are. The worst game I’ve ever reviewed on the site; not because it plays like garbage, but because there’s no soul in it. It’s an effort, too true to its predecessors, to be fun. Because let’s be honest, I’d rather play Mega Man than Mighty No. 9.
(Also, the Vita version is nowhere to be found. No surprise there.)