Mighty No. 9 has a lot riding on it. As one of the most successful and high profile kickstarted video games of all time, there’s definitely pressure to make sure that the thousands that pledged money ahead of time get what they expect. As we move closer to its release on September 15, the picture is getting clearer and it looks like fans of Keiji Inafune’s previous work will be satisfied.
Mighty No. 9’s hero, Beck, an android that is trying to help control a situation where robots all over the world, including Beck’s former allies, have gone haywire and grown violent. One special trick Beck has up his sleeve though is that after defeating enemies he can absorb them to obtain temporary power-ups. Beck can also obtain brand new forms that vary the gameplay. Some of these forms though felt very niche, while others were a lot more helpful in your average combat situations. Regular old Beck will feel familiar to fans of other side scrolling shooting platformers such as Contra and of course Mega Man. Run right, jump, dash, and shoot.
Also familiar is its overall look and feel. Mighty No. 9 goes right for the nostalgia heartstrings. Its colors, sounds, characters, and storyline all harken back to a simpler time.
Experts and novices may have widely different experiences and feelings while playing Mighty No. 9. Veterans will take advantage of the added layer of depth absorbing enemies and dashing about brings. Setting up weakened enemies to be chain absorbed is satisfying, and is a great way to rack up points. However, it’s easy to see inexperienced players or first timers that just want to survive getting bored quickly. There’s nothing particularly ground breaking about Mighty No. 9’s running and gunning. Sure the forms mix things up, but it takes a skilled player to understand when each form is best utilized. This is very much a game for hardcore fans of the genre that will appreciate Mighty No. 9’s nuances.
Speaking of difficulty, both the shooting and platforming in Mighty No.9 can be challenging at times. There are a wide variety of enemies each designed and placed deliberately to give you a hard time. Also, those enemies and the stage environments make nailing certain platform jumps hard as well. There are, of course, your typical ice and water levels that will give you unneeded stress. You might land a jump and then be instantly greeted by a forklift/bulldozer type robot waiting to plow you right back into a pit.
Mighty No.9 feels like a very safe game and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a genre that could use a little more love, and Mighty No.9 is shaping up to be a game that delivers. If what you want is a no-nonsense Mega Man-like side scrolling action platformer, then it’s unlikely that Mighty No.9 will disappoint you. However, If you eliminate the nostalgia factor and the respect for Inafune’s past work and vision, what’s left is just an above average action platformer and not a whole lot more.