Mighty Number 9 had a very long and painful development. This game had very high expectations, yet it missed the mark time and time again for release. They even had to launch a second Kickstarter for voice acting. But, I’m not here to scrutinize a company’s embezzlements. Instead I’m here to talk about the game. So, hold on tight. This is going to be rough.
Mighty Number 9: The Review
Theoretically Mighty Number 9 should play like Mega Man. Although when I was playing it, it felt as if I was playing some twisted fusion of the classic Mega Man series and Mega Man X. Although neither of these game series’s strengths really came out in Mighty Number 9 due to the overhyped and overused “Xel absorption” tactic which was implemented into the game.
The Xel absorption method is the most non-Mega Man thing in this game. You shoot enemies and then they change color. This means that you can absorb the enemy by using a dash attack. By absorbing them, you can acquire various boosts. These boosts aren’t often necessary and sometimes they can be frustrating.
I remember when I was playing the ice level that whenever I got the speed boost power up, I would become agitated. By going faster, you slip on the floor more and it’s harder to keep your footing. This is especially true in the ice stage where everything is naturally more slick.
In short, the bonuses you earn from the enemies you absorb aren’t that necessary. Other than the rare instances where you earn the equivalent of an E-Tank in Mega Man.
Power Acquiring and Other Pitfalls
Mighty Number 9 tries to address the power acquiring system that is in Mega Man as well. By defeating a boss, you attain a new ability. Often these abilities are useless (unfortunately). The only one you need would be the ice power you get by beating Cryo. It freezes everything. All enemies and all bosses.
So unlike Mega Man games where you have to strategically acquire the powers to defeat bosses in a certain order, you get the ice power and everything else is cake. (Besides Pyro he’s just terrible.)
Speaking of terrible, the load times in this game are horrendous. Every time you die it takes a solid 15-20 seconds to get back into the game. I swear that the whole game reloads itself every time you die, and then tries to find where you left off. It’s that glaring of an issue.
So in short we have a game that tries to play on classic Mega Man series staples while introducing new features. But in trying to give attention to these new features, the game loses it’s goal to play as a traditional Mega Man game. In essence, this game has a horrible identity crisis.
By trying to do too much, this game in effect became none of the things it initially set out to become.
Mega Man games have never had the best stories. You’re a robot trying to take down a bunch of other robots to save the world. That’s it.
Mighty Number 9, however, tries to push every aspect of its story.
The basic plot of this game can be described as follows. A virus is released corrupting all robots. Beck and Call both were unaffected by the virus, because they weren’t on when the virus went live. Now Beck has to stop all the corrupted Mighty Number bosses, and then take down the main virus threat.
That’s all you need to know. But the game berates you with scenes that drag on too long with its dialogue. (Most of the time it’s with characters that are annoying and voice acted horribly).
I didn’t care for the characters in Mighty Number 9. They were mainly annoying and are distractions from the gameplay (if you could call it that).
Holy PS2 game. I never thought that a modern game on an HD console with the budget Mighty Number 9 got would look this bad.
I don’t understand why the developers at Comcept (whoever they are) would make the choice for 3D models as opposed to the beautiful 2D hand drawn art they showed at the beginning of development. The 3D models are hideous and are clearly not done. They look like alpha stage art assets. Not to mention the explosions look like melted cheese on a pizza. How do you screw up how an explosion looks!?It doesn’t run at 60 fps, even though it tries to. The frame drops are frequent, and I would often die simply because the game would skip frames. I would instantly find myself somewhere else and then die because I couldn’t react in time.
You can’t do that in a Mega Man game. Mega Man is all about making quick decisions, and when frames drop and you lose where your character is, it defeats the whole point of the game and the player feels cheated.
Feeling cheated is a good synopsis. When there is too much on screen, the game chugs. Frame drop in this game is more of a problem then the screen flickering in the original Mega Man titles. At least you could deal with those.
It may not come as a surprise, but the sound is one of the most important parts of any video game.
That said, the sound effects in this game are horrible. Simply stated. They aren’t sampled very well and hardly any mixing was done to the music in this game.
The music is all too same-y, and really boring. I had to switch to the 8-bit music, which was a little more reminiscent of Mega Man. Although, none of the musical themes in this game even come close to something like Mega Man 2’s Dr. Wily stage 2 track, or Storm Eagle’s stage from Mega Man 8.
In a Mega Man soundtrack, you need something up-tempo with catchy melodies. Mighty Number 9 simply under delivers in that regard. Nothing in this game is really that attention grabbing. It was hard for me to whistle any of the game’s passages.
The voice acting is some of the worst I’ve ever heard. Poorly written lines of text delivered by incapable voice actors were consistently present. The most grating voices had to be Cryo and Dyna. But, that does not excuse any of the other characters either. I often said during my play through that if the game didn’t have voice acting, then the game would be infinitely improved upon.
The fact of the matter is that whoever was in charge of audio did a sub-standard job, which created sub-standard results. It’s highly annoying and not at all that pleasing to sit through.
This game has 3 different modes. Easy, normal, and hard. But I hardly was able to explore these modes due to a more glaring issue: frame drops.
I mentioned it earlier, but this game would be a decent challenge if it weren’t for the constant frame dropping. There are some good ideas here in the game, but they don’t work, because (again) of the frame drops.
Many times deaths felt cheap or annoying due to this issue. Frame drops make the game way too difficult to play. I inevitably became so frustrated with the game that I got all the way to the final level and decided that I couldn’t do this anymore.
This is coming from someone who has powered through and beat through all the Mega Man games (excluding 7, 8, and 9). Mighty Number 9 feels cheap, and unfinished; which is saying something considering that this game spent a ton of time in development.
The game is a culmination of things that distract and detract from the main feature (which is the gameplay).
Gameplay in any Mega Man game (or clone) should be the main feature. Unfortunately, Mighty Number 9 just has too many things fighting for your attention. This, coupled with the load times and frame drops, really takes you out of the experience.
Mighty Number 9 had tons of good ideas, but most were implemented terribly. This is what is so frustrating. The game had potential and simply squandered it.
Ultimately, what was going to be one of my most anticipated games turned into one of the most mediocre and sub-par games I’ve ever experienced.