boxart
Game Info:

Mighty No. 9
Developed By: Comcept and Inti Creates
Published By: Deep Silver
Released: June 21, 2016
Available On: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, 3DS, Vita, Xbox 360, Mac, and Linux at a later date.
ESRB: E 10+
Number of Players: 2 online only, 1 single player
Price: $9.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

After three years of development and pushbacks we finally have the spiritual successor to Megaman in our hands. Was Mighty No. 9 worth the amount of hype and scandal that has surrounded this game? It depends on what you were expecting from Mighty No. 9. People were originally upset after Mr. Inafune told us that it was going to be 3D as opposed to hand drawn art (which had been previously shown). To Infaune’s credit, it did specifically say “Note: All images on this page are concept art and not actual in-game screens.”

The game plays alright. On the Wii U version it did have some very noticeable slowdown from time to time. I’ve also heard that there was slowdown on nearly every system, PC included. There was also a bug that froze your Wii U and you had to manually unplug it. Thankfully there was a day one patch for this. Mighty No. 9 is your typical side scrolling action game where you shoot at enemies and gain boss powers. As you go along and acquire more powers the game gets easier because you’ll now have that boss’ weakness. However there are a few spots where it seems the game design gets rather silly. Most of the levels have checkpoints except for Mighty No. 8, Countershade. For whatever reason they decided going through the entire level without a checkpoint was smart. The level is doable for sure, just a strange design choice. However, to give the credit where it’s due, when you finish a boss you can get extra dialogue from the boss you just defeated on certain levels. This serves two purposes: it shows you the weapon that you should use against the boss; the other is it helps with a stage hazard from the boss you previously defeated. So for example, we’ll use Countershade’s level, when you beat Mighty No. 3 Dynatron she deactivates some instant kill traps in a room where you have to fight a mini boss which is appreciated a lot! Interestingly enough, if you go the wrong way you can actually defeat the miniboss before the instant death traps can activate, which makes the stage hazard a bit pointless. The other part is she doesn’t deactivate all the instant death traps in the level. A nitpick for that last one but just found it strange, as the level itself does happen to be challenging enough without instant death traps. So while it does help a little bit for people that want to go through the game without help they can do that as well.

Mighty No. 9
Highlights:

Strong Points: It plays similarly to Megaman game but a smidge different. While the game is playable, it will take time getting used to it if you’ve played Megaman a fair amount. 
Weak Points: Doesn’t quite hold up to the hype that people were expecting, but not a strong enough deterrent not to try it. 
Moral Warnings: In the side story mode it features a little bit of robo-cannibalism, but the main story mode does not have any issues. 

Some levels happen to be easier than others and I would recommend that you keep obtaining the other Mighties help. While the levels are doable, the game has weird design choices that make it harder than necessary to go it alone. Countershade’s level is filled with instant death traps, such as a bottomless pit, and requires one of the weapons you pick up to ride air currents up. However, the weapon continuously drains and if you don’t get to safe spot to refill your weapon you die. Another example of weird design is Dynatron’s level. When you dash, you have to hold down crouch as well, very unlike Megaman that had an automatic crouching dash trigger. Thinking back, I realized that a lot of the levels have instant death traps. And while I don’t mind instant death traps in games, it seems like there are a lot that’s unnecessary.

One weird quirk of the game mechanics involves back up energy tanks and how they reset when you die. If you have low health going into a boss with a full energy tank, it’s better to use it immediately because you may not have it later. When you take down a boss, you have to weaken them enough in quarter bars of health by dashing into them or being close. For most bosses, this isn’t too big a deal as they don’t happen to take up a big part of the screen. The end boss, on the other hand, does and if you don’t get it just right it will do a lot of impact damage. The end boss also has two forms which is where you need to watch your backup health unless you’ve gotten the attack pattern down. For the most part, the final boss isn’t a problem until you make a mistake. It will hurt, a lot. I found this another weird design choice since the earlier bosses only took up a small portion of the screen. The other time I thought the bosses were strangely designed was when you take control of Beck’s Comrade Call for a mission. She doesn’t have access to Beck’s Xel ability which renders the ability to absorb enemies useless and it feels off, much more so since it’s near the end of the game where your attack pattern has already been firmly established.

I found the actual story of the game to be pretty standard fare, though a bit bare bones in terms of depth. In short: Bad guy takes over the robots, robots destroy the city, main character restores the robots to their former selves, they band together to fight the bad guy. However, what is not standard fare are the voice actors. Some of them are fine voice actors, some of them are awful. Most of the VAs are seasoned studio professionals, some of which voiced characters in Ben Ten. Since the little I’ve watched of Ben Ten didn’t leave a sour taste in my mouth regarding voice acting, I’m assuming it was the voice direction and the director’s issues with how voices should be played out. The two most annoying voices I found were Cryosphere and Dynatron. Cryos’ voice is super annoying and they have her make awful puns, as well as repeat a bunch of lines over and over and over again. Dynatron is similar, having a shtick that isn’t funny. Once again, nothing against the voice actors, but the direction that the directors had the VAs take.

Mighty No. 9
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 70%
Gameplay: 15/20
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 6/10
Stability: 3/5
Controls: 3/5

Morality Score - 96%
Violence: 9/10
Language: 10/10
Sexual Content: 10/10
Occult/Supernatural: 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical: 9/10

The modes of the game are another aspect that I found myself with mixed opinions. Challenge mode is going through AR and levels previously completed and doing different challenges through them. You can also do it with multiple people. It’s a nice little extra but doesn’t happen to add all that much, at least for single player challenge mode. Multiplayer, on the other hand, is extremely disappointing, especially since they delayed the game 3 extra months in order to create it. Multiplayer almost never works. I got maybe one multiplayer session working after a long wait. I’ve also seen other people’s reviews to see if I was alone on this and those that have used multiplayer found it extremely glitchy.

Ray mode is essentially hard mode for the game. Ray is a character you can unlock and is driven made by her need to consume. Unlike Beck, she does not save the bosses she absorbs, she eats them. It’s a weird change but the key part here is how it plays. She is a constant health drain that requires her eating her enemies or losing all her health. It also happens to drain pretty fast, but you can restore it through random health drops thankfully. The other difference in playing as Ray is similar to playing as Zero from Megaman, such as getting in close and fast. Not a bad addition, but it is considered DLC. This mode came with the launch copy editions, such as mine, but is priced at $4.99, while DLC for Beck is $2.99.

As for the moral content, I found the game to be fairly clean if you exclude Ray mode and her robo-cannibalism. The characters don’t swear, they’re very supportive, and technically no nudity since they’re all robots. The most you could call suggestive is Call, but only because she wears a short skirt but her behavior isn’t at all suggestive, just the skirt. As I stated before, Ray is the only issue since she eats other robots and Beck doesn’t want to hurt anyone.

As for my final thoughts for this game… it’s okay. I don’t think it lives up to what was promised from the kickstarter but I also don’t think the game is as bad as people make it out to be. There’s a lot of controversies, sure, such as having an anime before its out as well as multiple delays but does it happen to deserve all the hate it’s gotten? I’d say no, but I also don’t think I went into Mighty No. 9 as with high hopes as others. I didn’t back the game and after hearing a lot of the things Inafune said made me a little wary, so I went into this game a little pessimistic, and got a game that I expected. In the end, though, I hope that Inafune can pick himself back up, address the complaints and possibly come back for round two.

--Kevin Kenel


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