Friday, June 24, 2016

The Explosions Look Like Pizza: A Mighty No. 9 Review

As you likely know, Mighty No. 9’s development has been controversial and tumultuous. The Kickstarter campaign was a success and fan enthusiasm was high. This was short lived, however, as delays, mixed messaging and awful trailers followed. And now, amidst further controversy, regarding some comments allegedly made by developers of this game, Mighty No. 9 has been released. And it' know.

The layout of the game is straightforward: There are eight levels, each of which is presided over by one of the “Mighty Numbers” (Robot Masters)- bosses whose abilities you (Beck) can absorb after defeating them. Do this and by the end you're putting together an ever growing list of skills in order to get through constantly evolving, tougher challenges. It's a tried and true formula for a reason: It works and it pushes, challenges and yet empowers the player.

As far as the level design goes, it’s standard stuff: tricky jumps, tight quarters, evolving enemy patterns. Clear, concise, constant difficulty progression. Rewards for exploration (with a few red herrings thrown in for good measure, a la Ninja Gaiden (NES)).

So far so good.

Beck is armed with an arm cannon (just like.....) and he also has a dash attack which allows him to dash into enemies to absorb their essence (after doing the requisite amount of initial damage to them) . Once you do this you also get temporary gameplay boosts: Depending on the colour of the pixels that surround stunned enemies, you’ll either have the ability to do more damage with shots, run faster, jump higher, or save the energy for health recovery items.

The visuals are a mix of pleasing and subpar, with missing animations (hello non moving mouths during cutscenes) thrown in for good measure. It's all serviceable but definitely last gen quality mixed with some new and some even older than last gen.


Just like the Mega Man games, there were some moments during which frustration was felt not due to organic difficulty but design bordering on slightly unfair or mechanics not working as they should (the aforementioned dash can be a little bit iffy). The game is mostly fair and challenge is usually welcome, but just be ready for some unclear objectives and insta deaths.

There are some post game unlockables including a Boss Rush mode which is definitely a welcome classic.

The game is mostly serviceable, fairly fun and a decent challenge but if you were expecting something on the level of Mega Man VI (the best Mega Man game.....ya, I said it, come at me) or Mega Man X (second best MM game.....suck it) you will be disappointed. 

Oh ya, the sound. Uh, you know. It's there. Serviceable (seem to be using that word a lot). *Make sure to enable retro mode in the options menu.*


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