For years gamers have wanted a new Mega Man game, yet Capcom continues to do other things or make mobile Mega Man games. Then, one day, Mighty No. 9 appeared on Kickstarter with the promise of being a spiritual successor and one of the key people from the original Mega Man games behind it. Based off these two facts alone, Mighty No. 9 got the support of the gaming community and was a successful Kickstarter campaign. Several years later we have the final product, but will Mighty No. 9 be worth the wait or did it sound better in people’s minds?
Mighty No. 9 tells a story vaguely familiar to Mega Man and popular anime series Cyborg 009. Beck is the ninth robot in a series and working with the good doctor, needs to fight the other eight robots, which have their own unique abilities, after they go rogue. It seems a brilliant, but evil, man maybe behind the attack, though you learn this and more as you progress. If there is an issue with the story, it’s that a lot of it feels tacked on.
You’re never given a reason to care about them attacking the city, outside of how you might feel if you had this happen in real life, with a lot of the dialog and story going to flesh out the characters. In theory it’s great that Mighty No. 1 through 8 are more than just the master robots from Mega Man, but at the same time, they’re not that interesting either.
A lot of them boil down to cute/amusing ideas or simple motivations. Like the electric one, modeled after the Japanese god of lightning, has something of a lisp and uses zzz in place of s. The idea being, she is lightning based, so it’s suppose to reference the sound electricity or whatever makes. The fire based one is little more than a pyromaniac, so he speaks in a really simplified way. Again, the idea to give these characters depth is great, but there simply isn’t much here besides novelty.
The same is true for the gameplay too. If I had to explain Mighty No. 9 to someone, I would describe it as a platformer that meets enough requirements to be considered different from Mega Man from a legal standpoint. A lot of the key components are there, eight master robots, every robot follows a naming scheme, every level is filled will brutal platforming leading to the boss, the boss gets a brief introduction, you steal and can use their power upon defeating them and so forth, but it also does its own thing to.
The average stage boils down to memorization and implementation. Most likely you’ll die a number of times learning the subtitles of the level, which is nice, even if it doesn’t last long. Almost every challenge boils down to using a rush move at the right time, platforming skills or just finding a way around it. Like one the first level there is a dash section where jumping or moving incorrectly will result in an instant death. However, you should have ample life to just run across the flames on the bottom and get to the end taking minimal damage.
Similar to Mega Man, the main attraction to Mighty No. 9 are the bosses. Every boss has their own movement and attack pattern, which you must figure out if you want to be successful. To help make things harder or at least more interesting, they have their own element that makes them annoying. One of the bosses sticks you with a drum that you need to get off and uses all the ones currently on the field to attack you, where as another boss does the same attack, but you need to figure out which version of it they’re doing. Needless to say, you’ll probably lose a number of times before you’re successful.
Mighty No. 9 feels less like the spiritual successor of Mega Man and feels more like a game where the developers were inspired by it and attempted to create their own version of it. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, but Mighty No. 9 was marketed and funded based off the aforementioned idea. So instead of getting Mega Man 11 or whatever you want to call it, we got a fairly cheap looking game that has a couple of short stages, with a fairly bland story, a bunch of challenges and some familiar mechanics. Needless to say, unless you’re looking for a hardish platformer or something that remotely resembles Mega Man, then you might enjoy Mighty No. 9, but if you were hoping for an amazing platformer or a new Mega Man, you will be disappointed.
[Editor’s Note: Mighty No. 9 was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]