Platforms PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, 3DS, Vita, PC
Genre Platformer Platform Played PlayStation 4
Developer Comcept, Inti Creates Publisher Deep Silver
Mighty No. 9 feels like a generic knock-off rather than the spiritual successor it claims to be.
Mighty No. 9 follows the story of Beck, a robot who looks eerily similar to Mega Man; blue paint job and blaster included. Beck was created by Dr. White and when the entire robot populous suddenly go mad, Beck and Dr. White must work together to figure out who is behind this dastardly plot and take down the mad robot menace along the way. The basic premise of the story itself is interesting, but Mighty No. 9 fails to convert the sound premise into a coherent and entertaining story.
Mighty No. 9‘s failed narrative is mostly due to the phoned in voice acting, laughable writing and poorly produced cut scenes. Each actor throughout the campaign radiates a sense of not wanting to deliver the poorly written lines of dialogue, which does not help the bland narrative story. Characters themselves are poorly explained and after completing the story I still struggle to understand the motivation of each character or even remember their names; but I did not forget the incredibly cheesy and cringe-worthy dialogue. Mighty No. 9 is the first game I have ever heard characters shout the words “poppycock”, “cheese and biscuits” and “peas and carrots”. It becomes incredibly hard to take Mighty No. 9’s story and impending threat seriously, when such awkward lines are delivered. Even worse, each “cut-scene” (and I use the term lightly) has very little production value, with characters’ mouths refusing to move when they deliver dialogue. Mighty No. 9’s narrative is forgettable and more of a nuisance than a positive feature.
While Mighty No. 9’s narrative is worth forgetting, a spiritual successor to one of the best platforming franchises in the gaming industry must definitely deliver when it comes to platforming prowess – unfortunately this is not the case. Mighty No. 9’s platforming controls feels stiff and unresponsive for a majority of the time, which caused many deaths along the way. While deaths in a platformer are to be expected, there are dozens of times Beck would fall to his death simply because the character refused to acknowledge a ledge was able to be grabbed. While it is a simple error Mighty No. 9 produces a retro expectation for each level – run out of lives and you must restart the entire stage. Due to something as simple as the inability to detect if a ledge can be grabbed, it ended up costing me dozens of attempts at the same stage simply in order to hope that Beck would finally grab the ledge.
Adding to the frustration of the archaic stage restart model is the amount of cheap deaths throughout Mighty No. 9. These obstacles can be random pieces of the environment falling out of nowhere, precariously placed instant kill devices and falling debris. Most levels are straight forward and most enemies can simply be avoided in order to speed run through each stage, but Mighty No. 9 delivers cheap deaths consistently. Each Mighty No. 9 stage feels bland and basic, and without these obstacles sprinkled throughout each level Mighty No. 9 could easily be completed in a few hours. Instantaneous deaths can be an important tool to any platformer, perhaps to increase the difficulty of the final few stages; Mighty No. 9 instead relies of these cheap mechanics in order to simply lengthen the amount of time spent on each level. It never felt like Mighty No. 9 was testing my skills, rather halting my progress with inconsistent controls and frustratingly placed instant deaths; before asking me to attempt the entire stage once more.
Beck’s main weapon is a blaster cannon strapped to his arm and although Beck can assimilate other powers from each boss encounter, Beck’s basic weapon is usually the best form of attack. Beck can destroy enemies outright, but it is encouraged to simply damage enemies enough so Beck can assimilate them and acquire timed bonuses to attack, speed and damage resistance. The assimilation dynamic is an interesting premise, but defeating each low level grunt feels too easy and makes combat less enjoyable. Enemies never provide much challenge along the way and instead end up being a time consuming factor rather than a difficult obstacle.
Mighty No. 9’s boss encounters however provide an excellent sense of scale and challenge with thrilling battles. Like the Mega Man franchise each enemy is weak against attacks from another boss, which is where Beck’s assimilation abilities become most prevalent. Acquiring the fire form will allow Beck to have an advantage when facing off against the ice themed boss, which adds an interesting factor when deciding which boss to hunt down next. Each boss has a unique theme and attack pattern, which made experiencing each new battle exciting and challenging. I loved facing off against the variety of unique boss encounters as this is where Mighty No. 9 comes closest to reaching the spiritual successor status it claims to achieve. While the boss encounters are definitely a bright end to each stage it is unfortunate that the cheap deaths, generic platforming and laughable story provide a chore along the way.
Each stage in Mighty No. 9 is generic and it becomes difficult to tell them apart in most cases, with a bland overall visual style that is reminiscent of a Time Crisis arcade machine. Making Mighty No. 9‘s basic visual style worse is the fact each level is plagued by framerate issues that can slow the platforming action down to a snail’s pace, or simply freeze the entire level in place forcing a manual restart. Honestly Mighty No. 9’s only positive visual standpoint is the unique character design of each of Beck’s alternate forms. Each design looks fantastic and incorporates the Beck’s original character model with each boss design, creating some excellent Voltron-esque visuals.
Aside from the standard campaign in Mighty No. 9 there are an array of bonus features and modes to be unlocked, but most are bare-bones and broken. Players can unlock Boss Rush and Challenge stages that feature timed goals, but most of these miniature challenges are completed within 30 seconds or are simply copy paste challenges for each of Beck’s different forms. Mighty No. 9 also includes cooperative challenges, that for some reason can only be experienced online – with absolutely no local coop options. This wouldn’t be horrible if the online experience worked, but at least 80% of the time the process of finding an online match would break the game and force me to restart. After hours of attempting to find an online match and countless manual restarts, I have still not been able to experience any of the online multiplayer options.
Mighty No. 9 ultimately fails to produce a smooth platforming package. While the concluding boss encounters of each stage are thrilling to experience, it is a shame that what must be completed in order to reach these battles is so poorly implemented. Mighty No. 9 attempts to offer a little of everything, but instead of ensuring each feature is polished and well-presented Mighty No. 9’s array of features feels unfinished and uninteresting.
Mighty No. 9 was touted as the spiritual successor to Mega Man, but unfortunately Mighty No. 9 falls significantly short at reaching those lofty goals. Mighty No. 9 instead feels like a platformer that has lost its way. Unable to achieve the platforming mastery of retro platformers and struggling to produce unique platforming ideas.
- Thrilling and challenging boss encounters.
- Design of Beck’s alternate forms.
- Poorly delivered voice acting, laughable writing, poor story.
- Stiff platforming.
- Basic stages littered with cheap deaths.
- Frame-rate issues, game freezing.