The year was 20xx… wait, I meant it was 2013 when Keiji Inafune first introduced the Kickstarter campaign for Mighty No. 9 to the world. It was a project that would fill the void of Capcom canceling two Mega Man projects (Mega Man Legends 3 and Mega Man Universe), and everything about the game had fans wanting to throw money at the project. After raising almost $3 million, it seemed like it was smooth sailing with development already underway, but things very quickly went south.As a longtime fan of the Mega Man franchise, it was a no-brainer for me to fund $60 to make Mighty Mo. 9 a reality. I didn’t have over-the-top expectations. Instead, I expected something in the realms of something we’ve seen from Inti Creates, who was working on this game with Inafune. After working on Mega Man 9 and 10, Inti Creates worked on Azure Striker Gunvolt for the 3DS. It was an awesome game and I would have been happy with something in that realm of gameplay and art, but I’ll get into the game’s visuals and graphics a bit later. Long story short, everything leading up to the eventual release of the game was a mess including terrible communication from Comcept, horrible marketing from that godawful trailer from Deep Silver, and just bad planning from Inafune as he tried to release the game on multiple platforms all at once. I could even get into the announcement of Red Ash before Mighty No. 9 was released, but that’s something for another time.A lot of reviews I’ve read called this game nothing more than a Mega Man clone. Well, what do you expect? It’s modeled after both Mega Man and Mega Man X, so there are bound to be similarities, and I enjoyed a majority of it. I liked that Beck had an infinite dash ability, albeit it was a bit broken and felt like something you should have earned like in Mega Man X. The combat system was fast and a bit unique, thanks to some pretty fun stages. What I didn’t like was that you needed to dash through enemies after weakening them in order to absorb their Xei (which is pronounced Cei), which slightly changes Beck’s abilities including a speed boost, extra damage or the ability to pierce opponents. It also makes it annoying that you also need to do the dash on bosses and sub-bosses 3-4 times as you weaken them, or they regain all that life in a short matter of time while not taking other damage.
In the Mega Man series, many of the boss abilities worked in your favor if used correctly, but you can throw that logic out of the window as Mighty No. 5’s and Mighty No. 7’s abilities are just pretty broken in general. Mighty No. 5’s weapon not only works great for speedrunning through stages, but also against bosses quite well. Using Mighty No. 7’s weapon gives you near invincibility, where you can just stand there and swing and not have to worry about damage. With these two as well as Beck’s normal gun, I just never found myself needing to use anything else.
Something else that was heavily criticized was the graphics. I totally agree that indie games with less of a budget look so much better than Mighty No. 9. Previous screens made the game looked so clean and polished, something that would have probably been better implemented had Comcept not tried to release this game on every single system from the start. It’s not terrible, it’s just not great, especially those explosions which looked like they were pulled straight out of a Nintendo 64 game. I love the retro look of games like Vanillaware’s Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, and after Mega Man X7 and Mega Man X8, it’s better to keep the series 2D or 2.5D with the only exception being Mega Man Legends.
Now my biggest gripe isn’t the combat or the art style; it’s the music. There is at least one track in every Mega Man game that I’ve loved to listen to over and over. Mighty No. 9’s music isn’t bad, but it isn’t great and feels a bit lacking.
Last and certainly least are the Missions and Online Mode gameplay. Honestly, this game would have been fine without them. It’s just an assortment of challenges to take on such as “destroy all targets”. You know, like the ones you did in Smash Bros. where you get from point A to point B in X amount of time. It felt a bit like the training missions from Metal Gear Solid. As for the online elements, you know, the reason why the game was delayed for just about a year to fix the code? Well it just wasn’t worth the wait. It’s needless in every aspect, but at least Comcept kept their promise to include it since it was a Kickstarter goal that was made. I think I would have rather seen a Mighty No. 9 Power Battles arcade-style game instead of the race mode.
Out of all the extras, I think it was the boss rush mode that I enjoyed the most. Mighty No. 9 doesn’t have the Robot Masters re-fight… oh sorry, I meant Mighty Numbers re-fight since you end up helping out all the others. Instead, you just have back-to-back fights against each number with all of Beck’s abilities at your disposal.
Was this game worth the $60 I originally pledged? No, especially since I have yet to hear about any of the extra backer awards I should be receiving. For $30 or even $25 used, sure it’s worth playing a few times. I think the bar was set way too high not only from the fans but also Comcept, especially when they tried to do everything at once.
The biggest problems overall is that it fails to offer anything impressive to make it stand out from other Mega Man games. You can feel all the work that went into it, as Comcept tried to create something unique but just misses that mark.
I leave off wondering one important question? Whose idea was it to make the final boss play like the Yellow Devil from Mega Man 1? It should never be a final boss because it’s just an overused concept that plays out better leading up to the last battle.