Oh, Mighty No. 9, what happened? You had so much potential but fell short in almost every way. I’ll save you all the history lesson surrounding the game. You probably know it already, so there’s no need to retread through that here. You’ve no doubt seen the reviews this game has gotten. While I won’t say it is the complete disaster some are making this out to be, Mighty No. 9 is still a highly disappointing title in almost every way. There are occasional moments of brilliance, but they are more often than not lost among a sea of mediocrity. Given how I was one of this game’s backers, this game truly broke my heart.
Mighty No. 9 is a spiritual successor to the classic Mega Man franchise. This is of course because Capcom, for whatever reason, refuses to release a new game in the series. This is the main reason folks eagerly backed this game in the first place. While Mighty No. 9 certainly plays like a Mega Man game is supposed to, it doesn’t have the same sort of precision you would expect of that franchise, or of any other competent 2D sidescroller. Everything else about the game suffers as well.
Mighty No. 9‘s most notable gameplay feature can be found with its combo system. In order to finish off opponents, you have to dash through them. If you dash through them fast enough, you will be awarded a bonus that gives you extra speed, shooting power, or limited invulnerability. If you can chain multiple combos together you’ll have all of these abilities amplified. This is essential for getting through some of the trickier parts of the game. However, failing to chain a high enough combo will make it all but impossible to pass through certain portions. As you can imagine, this can become extremely frustrating.
Like Mega Man, you are free to play stages in any order that you want. Each one offers a different sort of environment that comes with its own unique hazards. From skyscrapers with strong winds, oil refineries engulfed in flames, and robot factories, this game has a lot of locales to play through. Unfortunately, they are all so bland and boring looking that each will become indistinguishable from one another. This game is running on the Unreal Engine, but it looks like it was developed for the PlayStation 2. The game is the visual equivalent of cole slaw.
Because misery loves company, the game features a co-op mode where you and a buddy can team up and go through stages together. There are also extra challenges that can be completed outside of story mode. These are good for providing you with a distraction once the main campaign becomes intolerable, but they aren’t much better at offering anything more stimulating. Still, I appreciate the fact that the game has extra modes, even if they aren’t all that engaging or interesting.
From its subpar graphics, uninspired level design, horrendous voice acting, and overall low quality presentation, Mighty No. 9 is a disappointment in almost every way. If it weren’t for the soundtrack which is generally excellent, this would be a completely forgettable and pointless experience. Like I said above, there are some moments in the game when you’re blasting through enemies, racking up combos, and platforming where things start to come together, but they are quickly dashed when some of the persistent problems rear their ugly head. Just when you think things are about to turn around, you get the floor dropped from under you.
There really isn’t much more to say about this game without becoming repetitious. Folks who aren’t very disconcerting may find some sort of enjoyment with Mighty No. 9, but for the majority of gamers out there, it is easily one of the biggest disappointments of 2016. This hurts considering the pedigree of the game and what it could have been. However, we don’t deal with potential here, and the sad reality is that Mighty No. 9 is just not that great of a game. It isn’t horrible, but it’s not worth playing either. I recommend you buy the Mega Man Legacy Collection and get exactly what you wanted out of Mighty No. 9.
This review of Mighty No. 9 is based on a digital version for Steam which was paid for out-of-pocket.