When approaching the subject of the action-platform video game, Mighty No. 9, it’s difficult to avoid any kind of reference to the Capcom classic, Mega Man.
Developed by Comcept and published by Deep Silver, Mighty No. 9 is a video game that is considered to be the spiritual successor of Mega Man, due to the game being pitched as a tribute to the retro classic and resembling it so closely in both character and gameplay (for example, Dr. White, in Mighty No. 9 is easily comparable to Dr. Light in Mega Man).
However, despite seemingly good intentions to provide a modern day, upgraded version of the classic Capcom title across multiple gaming platforms, Mighty No. 9 fails to live up to its predecessor, being a rather tough, unappealing and overall lacking game.
The game follows the android Beck, one of nine combat robots known as the Mighty Numbers, who, along with the help of his friends and creator, Dr. White, works to prevent a robot revolt by fighting the other eight Mighty Numbers who have gone rogue.
The gameplay, as mentioned above, is similar to Mega Man, in that players play as Beck who runs, jumps and shoots at enemies with the additional benefit of being able to acquire weapons and abilities from each Mighty Number he defeats by absorbing their ‘Xel’. Much like Mega Man, players work their way through smaller enemy robots prior to squaring off against each of the eight Mighty Numbers, who are essentially, the game’s bosses.
Armed with just an arm cannon, Beck is able to swap his normal attacks for these special acquired abilities, which are rather potent and can prove quite damaging to certain enemies. In addition, Beck is also able to dash through disoriented enemies and knock them out, absorbing their Xel in the process. Linking these kind of ‘aXelerate’ kills together provides a boost to Beck’s speed, health and attack. However, while these special powers are quite fun to utilise, there are moments where using Beck’s standard arm cannon appears to be more useful and effective, which can make these special powers feel redundant.
As a game, Mighty No. 9 seems to punish players for the slightest mistake, rather than teach them, with various situations instantly killing Beck, forcing players to re-do the entire segment over and over. It can be incredibly frustrating to play through a rather dull segment of platforming and shooting only to be “insta-killed” and sent back to a checkpoint that is quite far away. Compared to Mega Man, which encourages players to learn from their mistakes and power through, Mighty No. 9 feels like a game that wants players to fail or at least, give up.
Whilst initially the visuals of the game appear to draw players in, the dullness of later levels and the tired, sluggish feel toward progressing in the game, makes Mighty No. 9 unappealing. With a feeling of being punished for the most minute of mistakes that seem impossible to get right, it’s terribly easy to feel dejected after a couple of hours playing the game.
Mighty No. 9 may be a spiritual successor to Mega Man, but unfortunately doesn’t quite live up to its classic predecessor. It’s a difficult game to enjoy after a few runs, unless you’re an expert gamer with immense amounts of patience. While it isn’t a game I will continue playing, perhaps it might be for others.