Review: Mighty No. 9 (PS4)

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Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation Vita

Extras:

  • PlayStation TV Compatible No
  • Cross-Buy Yes
  • Cross-Save No
  • Cross-Play No
  • Cross-Chat No
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Title: Mighty No. 9
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (2 GB)
Release Date: June 21, 2016
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Comcept / Inti Creates
Original MSRP: $29.99 (Disc) / $19.99 (Digital)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Mighty No. 9 is also available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PC, Mac, and Linux.
The PlayStation 4 disc version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Mighty No. 9 is currently the third biggest console game Kickstarter to date behind only Shenmue III and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Lead developer Keiji Inafune previously worked for Capcom on the much beloved series Mega Man.

Inafune left Capcom years ago and still felt the world would want another Mega Man-type game. He was clearly right as Mighty No. 9 hit all of its stretch goals and is currently scheduled to arrive on all of its promised multiple platforms in the near future.

The development of this game has been controversial. Hitting all its stretch goals put a strain on the studio. Multiple delays ensued and the engine needed to be completely changed over the many years of development. I personally played what I believed to be a completed version of the game at E3 2015. The game then was hit with two more delays until it finally hit PlayStation 4 in Summer 2016.

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Gameplay:
The controls are simple yet rewarding scheme. Your go to button will be R1 which is a dash mechanic. Square shoots your weapon and Cross jumps. The other buttons can be mapped to your choosing when switching between powers.

As you progress through each stage you will encounter enemies that need to be taken care of. You have a choice in how you kill them. You can use the basic blaster attack and keep shooting them until they die or you can shoot them a few times until they get stunned and then dash through them and absorb their body.

… the somewhat lackluster story …
Once you absorb them you have a chance to get a brief power boost to speed, defense, or damage. You can feel the difference in how you character, Beck, plays when he has any of these slight boosts. They’re also indicated by colored circles above Beck’s head and last about fifteen to twenty seconds.

Similar to the games in the Mega Man series there is a desired order in which to attack the different bosses. Once you beat the first boss you then have a new power that you can use in small chunks of time to damage enemies or fight other bosses. There are very few times where you use your changeable powers against enemies that are not bosses.

Mighty No. 9_20160902201908Mighty No. 9_20160902202752

You can take on any of the stages in just about any order you choose though there are a few that unlock only after completion of certain number of stages. This aspect of the game plays into the somewhat lackluster story.

Figuring out the patterns to each boss encounter is the road to success. Also figuring what new power will do the most damage to them quickly is what gets you through the campaign multiple times. The game does a good job of hinting at some of these weaknesses but this could be easily overlooked and doesn’t effect your choice as to which order you want to take on the bosses.

… The game does have significant replayability …
Each stage is a prelude and a hint to the boss encounter. When you fight the boss with the drill mechanic you are in a mining facility. When you fight the helicopter style boss you are ascending a large tower to the top platform.

Each boss has its own unique personality making every level feel different. The mechanic to get through each level however doesn’t change much, but each boss encounter is a different fight.

The game does have significant replayability as Speed Runs, One Hit, and Boss Rush are a few of the different modes you can play after completion of the game. Another reason to dive back in is that there is an overall score mode for each level.

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Visuals:
This is a 2D side-scrolling game with some solid looking graphics and the level design fits the look well. Even when there was a ton of action going on I didn’t see any dips in performance or frames.

Where the game that doesn’t look good is in the cutscenes. In between levels as you progress through the story you are met with a series of cutscenes that tell you what’s going on with the story. There is not a good way to put this. They look terrible!

… an 8-bit music track you can select …
There appears to be a white outline around the characters and their mouths don’t move at all. The facial reactions also don’t seem to fit the mood the game is trying to set with each scene.

Now there are visuals that look great. Each time he defeats one of the Mighty Numbers there is an awesome cutscene of Beck getting his friends to snap out of the spell they’re under. Beating each boss is a satisfying feeling, which is rewarded with a cool looking scene of Beck grabbing a new power.

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Audio:
Music is great and spot on for each level and every one of them has a theme. The music fits these themes perfectly. There’s even an 8-bit music track you can select in the settings.

Online/Multiplayer:
Though the game contains no multiplayer, there are online leaderboards for speed runs and other score chases.

… Then something cool happened …
Conclusion:
If you were expecting a Mega Man clone with Mighty No. 9 then you will be very disappointed. If you want to play a game that’s tough and punishes you for the simplest mistake but is oh so rewarding when you complete a level or figure out the pattern for a boss, then this is the game for you.

Initially it was so frustrating that it made me want to chuck my controller across the room. I beat my head against the wall for hours as I was trying to figure out how to get further in this game. Then something cool happened. I beat the first boss.

It was one of the best feelings of accomplishment I have had while playing a game in a very long time and it was all smooth sailing from there on. After beating each level and figuring out the next level to complete, I was able to enjoy the game.

Score:
7.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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