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Mighty No. 9

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Mighty No. 9
Mighty No. 9 cover art.jpg
This game will make you "cry like an anime fan on prom night".
Protagonist(s): Beck
Genre(s): Action
Platform
Run and gun
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Wii U
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Linux
macOS
Release: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One
JP/NA: June 21, 2016
EU: June 24, 2016

Linux, macOS
WW: August 25, 2016
Engine: Unreal Engine 3
Developer(s): Comcept
Inti Creates
Publisher(s): WW: Deep Silver
JP: Spike Chunsoft
Country: Japan
Series: Gunvolt
Predecessor: Mighty Gunvolt
Successor: Mighty Gunvolt Burst


"It's really amazing how millions and millions of dollars was raised for Mighty No. 9, yet Shovel Knight raised a tenth of that, and still created a much better game. And look, I like classic Mega Man, I've even beaten the original three Ninja Gaiden games, so I'm all about NES difficulty, but this was just a chore."
Nathaniel Bandy
"My apologies if some of you were expecting me to get a little more enraged, but I'm not angry. I'm disappointed, and we all know from experience...that's a hell of a lot worse. I am speaking as a backer of this project—I am Mighty Number 3-2-5-4, I am NOT mighty, and I recommend you spend your time and money on something else."
SomecallmeJohnny

Mighty No. 9 is an action-platform game developed by Comcept in association with Inti Creates, and published by Deep Silver worldwide and Spike Chunsoft in Japan. The game was funded via Kickstarter and was intended to be a spiritual successor to the Mega Man franchise.

Gameplay

The game plays similarly to the classic Mega Man games, with the addition of a Mega Man X-inspired dash mechanic that, in addition to letting you cross large gaps and move faster, allows you to dash through enemies after weakening them with your shots to absorb a substance known as Xel (pronounced "Cel") to gain temporary power-ups, such as increased power and speed.

Synopsis

The main protagonist, Beck, is the ninth unit in a series of military-purposed robots called the Mighty Numbers, created by Dr. William White. Alongside him is his partner, Call.

At some point, a computer virus has infected a massive number of robots around the world, causing a robot uprising. Beck is the only Mighty Number who is capable of assimilating the Xels of his robotic siblings to restore them to normal. Now, it is up to Beck, along with Dr. Sanda and his unaffected creation Call to save Beck's siblings and the world.

Why It Makes You Cry Like an Anime Fan on Prom Night

  1. The game relies on the outdated "trial-and-error" design to artificially extend its length. This includes cheap deaths, excessive usage of OHKO (one hit K.O.) obstacles, knockback damage, some bosses having attacks that are almost always unavoidable, and unforgiving platforming to ensure the player will die often while having limited lives. If you lose all your lives, you start the whole level again. While it is true that early Mega Man games did the same, it was done because of hardware limitations at the time. Games like Shovel Knight have shown that this "trial-and-error" type of game design is no longer needed and all it does is frustrate players.
  2. At the start, constant gameplay-interrupting tutorials explain very basic concepts to the player needlessly (there is even a point where Professor White essentially says "look, that enemy over there is an enemy!") while critical mechanics such as weapon alt-functions, what the percentages that appear over enemies mean and the entire power-up system have their explanation buried in text menus.
  3. While the game does follow the basic essence of a Mega Man game, it does nothing to improve it and brings back flaws from those games that were solved long ago. It even lacks innovations from the X games such as the Mega Buster and wall jump.
  4. For a game released in 2016 and being a "successor" to the Mega Man games, the content doesn't fulfill expectations for a game released in that year to make up for what it is. Even predecessors like classic Mega Man, and the X series had more replay value and content than this game.
  5. The game's level select informs the player which boss their weapons will be most effective against with an additional option on the mission selector, meaning that as soon as they have defeated one of the Mighty Numbers, they are basically told the order they should play the remaining levels in.
  6. Poor level design in general. The enemy placement makes them hard to hit or avoid, and grabbing onto ledges is often unreliable. The backgrounds are often too visually busy and make objects in the foreground hard to distinguish, especially the signposts in Brandish's stage. There are also no mechanics to prevent enemies from spawning directly on top of Beck.
    • Brandish's entire level takes place on an auto-scrolling highway where touching the road surface means instant death.
    • Countershade's level is just a small set of rooms and corridors the player has to loop through repeatedly since he appears in random rooms. To make matters worse, there are no checkpoints here.
    • Cryosphere's level has ice physics and a large number of platforms that cannot be ledge-grabbed for no obvious reason.
    • Aviator's level has instant death pits on both sides and wind physics, and the boss fight takes place on three tiny platforms.
    • Seismic's stage has chases with instant-kill drills that generally require the player to have power-ups at a specific time or they will die, and several blind jumps with spike pits at the bottom. The Seismic boss fight also requires that the player recognize the grab ledges on either side and use them to avoid his attacks, even though they do not look like any other grab ledge that has appeared in the game up to that point.
    • Dynatron's stage features a pixel-perfect duck-dash under an instant-death spinning wheel, which caused so many problems with people assuming the regular dash would get them under it (since the two animations look almost the same) that a lazy "hint" tutorial message had to be added reminding the player of the duck-dash. It doesn't help that duck-dashing is a thing but ducking is not, because Beck has no crouch animation.
    • Battalion's stage features a fantastically poorly designed secret where the player is rewarded with health (and an enemy that shoots them as soon as they enter), and then, if they take the most obvious exit, gets to enjoy watching Beck immediately land on a landmine and take unavoidable damage.
  7. The game seems to be going for a "style over substance" approach, with its focus on scoring and combos - things that were never Mega Man's main focus (in fact, only the first game in that series had a proper scoring system). It also seems to go for a more fast-paced gameplay style with the dash and scoring systems, which rewards speedrunning but conflicts with the trial-and-error type of level design. The extremely long cutscenes don't really gel with the idea of it being a game for speedrunners, however.
  8. At some point the designers seem to have realized the jumping puzzles were appallingly frustrating and the chaining system wasn't working, and so gave up and gave Beck infinite air dashes. Several sections, especially the updraft jumping section in Aviator's stage and the underwater area in Cryosphere's, are rendered utterly trivial by this mechanic.
  9. Lackluster boss battles. While each one has their own selection of attacks and occasionally have a creative way of fighting, none of them (aside from the final boss) change up their patterns when they are close to being defeated (like most bosses in platformers do). The final boss is especially bad since it's full of predictable attack patterns and drags on for so long that any excitement that could be had is drained away. Bosses also do not have invincibility frames after taking damage, meaning the default buster is powerful enough against them, and it's rarely even necessary to exploit their weakness, even in cases where doing so would be a good idea (ie, not Brandish).
    • Speaking of the bosses, their weapons are imbalanced and the levels are almost never designed to make them useful. Some are outright useless, such as Seismic's Strong Charge (a copy of Mega Man 5's Charge Kick save it can go on as long as the player likes, with a similar habit of getting you killed) and Pyrogen's chargeable Fire Explosion. In particular, the Strong Charge, which performs a slow dash attack which knocks you back if it hits, is the weakness of the very fast, very aggressive close-range specialist Brandish. This works out about as well as one would expect. Others like Battalion's Remote Cannon (a copy of Mega Man 2's Crash Bomb) may end up being the only special weapons a player will use in instances that aren't boss fights. The sword attack from Brandish lurches off to the other end of the spectrum by being outright broken: it is fast, consumes no energy at all in its normal fire mode, does significant damage and destroys enemy projectiles.
  10. If you lose a life during a boss, the boss will mock the Player by sparing out quips, its gets annoying, fast.
  11. While the controls are for the most part well-implemented, the system for switching boss weapons is wretched: the player can only cycle between a limited set of favorite weapons, or pull up a quick-select menu with strange icons representing the various powers, which forces Beck to stand still and doesn't pause the game. It isn't even possible to change weapons on the pause menu.
  12. On the subject of under-powered attacks, the diagonal-shooting alt-fire is so rarely useful that players may well forget it exists at all.
  13. Bosses have constant annoying voice cues for their attacks, some of which are so long that the bosses cut their own speech off.
  14. The "dash into enemies" mechanic demands you constantly stay near enemies, which leaves you open to take damage from them. The bonuses you get for dashing into enemies cannot be activated manually and are not explained in the tutorial. The game also constantly forces you to use the dash and punishes you for not using it. Enemies take too many hits to kill if you don't dash into them, every level has obstacles that require overly precise use of the dash, and bosses quickly regain health unless you dash into them. The level design does not consistently provide enough space for safe dashing either so those overly precise dash jumps are very easy to mess up.
    • Due to the poor level designed mentioned above, some sections can be completely skipped by just dashing non-stop, such as the underwater sections in Cryosphere.
  15. Several bosses, especially Cryosphere who spends a good 80% of her boss battle either too high to dash into or invincible, do not seem to have been designed with the above mechanic in mind at all.
  16. Because of the power-up mechanic based on dashing into enemies, enemies do not drop health as in the classic Mega Man games, making the game needlessly unforgiving.
  17. If you die you lose your E-Tanks regardless if you used them or not. Normally, you'd want to save E-Tanks until after you've had one run at a boss to see what its pattern is, but you can't do that. The only way to get E-Tanks back for a boss is to have enough lives that the game starts handing out pity E-Tanks at the boss checkpoint because you died enough times. Just to make this even more "fun," some bosses had OHKO attacks.
  18. Dr. White, Dr. Sanda, and Call constantly talk to you during levels to babble about nonsense, and their speech boxes can block your view of spikes below while their speech can prevent you from hearing audio cues for boss attacks. These audio cues can help the player avoid a boss' attacks, and since some of them are one-hit kills, hearing your allies' dialogue instead of the boss' can cause a cheap death.
  19. Call's level is annoying, as she is far less mobile than Beck, can't dash into enemies, and she says every single action she does non-stop in her typical monotone voice.
  20. The final boss is missing several frames of animation.
  21. Despite this game being aimed at children, there are some moments were it can be outright inappropriate, even for Mega Man standards. One example is Call, in that not only does she have an arrow in the front of her dress that for some bizarre reason is pointing down at her abdomen, but her skirt is cut so short that, whenever Call crouches during the Prison stage, the player can literary see her underwear and sides of her butt-cheeks underneath her dress.
  22. The online mode is a worthless addition to the game and is almost completely broken; lag is a common occurrence regardless of connection speeds, collision detection is spotty at best, the frame-rate is very inconsistent, the game can crash while on a loading screen, and sometimes the boss door fails to open, leaving both players stuck for the timer to hit zero. After it does, the game awkwardly cuts to the boss fight.
  23. The credits are 4 hours long because it lists every single backer, there are 71,494 backers in total and most of them are listed as anonymous. It is possible for the credits to last longer than the game itself.
  24. Despite Mighty No. 9 having a structure that is built around picking any boss you want in that order, this game takes pages from Mega Man X6 by having some levels that are cheap or (at times) are impossible to do unless you do that level in order, which you wouldn't know unless you look it up.
    1. Seismic's stage has a section were there are breakable objects on the ground which require the player to use the Remote Cannon because Beck's blaster can't be aimed up or down.
    2. Battalion's stage has a lot of grounded bombs that are near-impossible to avoid without the Freeze Gun.
    3. Cryosphere's stage has ice physics, and there is also a section that, without the Gyro Boomerang, is nightmarish to pass through.
    4. Brandish's stage has a bunch of enemies that can only be effectively defeated with the Electric Seed.
  25. Due to a false positive, some anti-virus programs see the game's .exe file as malware.
  26. Lackluster plot that rips off the plot from Mega Man 10. Beck himself is a boring protagonist with little personality and the plot never focuses on him. All he does is follow orders from Dr. White. On the topic of the plot, there are quite a few plot holes:
    • If Beck and the other Mighty Numbers are combat robots designed for militaristic purposes, then why did Professor White make them hate violence and fighting? One of them is literally built out of machine guns and missiles.
    • Talking about Dr. White, he is unlikable and lacks common sense because he caused this game's robot crisis and forced Beck to extract the virus from the Mighty Numbers when he could've ordered Beck to extract the virus from any infected robot and then develop a cure afterward.
    • Graham, the supposed main antagonist, never does anything, his actions are never explained, he's randomly replaced with Trinity near the end and is never mentioned again.
    • The game contains several geographical inaccuracies, for example, the game claims that the United States of America has 52 states when it actually has 50 states. They may've counted Washington D.C. (actually a federal district but oftentimes mistaken as a state), and Puerto Rico (which is an incorporated territory but not a true state) as states, though. However, since both Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico have both held statehood referendums with the majority of both voting in favor of statehood, this may in the future become retroactively accurate.
    • The game is set in the future, yet the intro says "It is the present year" without specifying a date.
    • Why must the virus samples come specifically from the Mighty Numbers? Can't Beck just extract the exact same computer virus from any of the ordinary robots?
    • The reason Brandish is able to resist the virus when the rest of the Mighty Numbers aren't is never revealed.
    • Dr. White being Blackwell's son is never explored.
    • The ending is almost insulting. It's nothing but a few images that don't explain anything and nothing regarding the plot is resolved. The post-credits scene is also an obvious sequel bait.
    • The post-credits scene makes Dr. White seem like a villain. It doesn't help that he created Trinity, the primary antagonist of the game, seemingly to do the specific things she was doing. Many fans felt Dr. White's story played out like the game was trying to set him up as the Dr. Wily of the next game.
    • The game's DLC suffers from this too, as Raychel's backstory and cause of her Xel deterioration are never revealed either.
  27. Trinity is just one of several designs proposed for Call, but that ended up losing in the poll for backers.
  28. Despite the game using Unreal Engine 3, the graphics are terrible and below the standards of 2016 titles, with textures looking like games from late 2006/2007, animations that look on par with a Nintendo GameCube title, and character models that look ripped from a low budget anime. This is more insulting considering what the first concept art and early gameplay looked like.
  29. Awkward cutscenes that feature static 3D models of the characters with close to zero facial animations that look like they're practicing ventriloquism.
    • Text boxes and some of the concept art for dialogue sequences could have been used, so it wouldn't look so cheap. Hell, character portraits that change to reflect the tone of the conversation and what emotion each character is conveying would have sufficed, similar to what games like Gravity Rush are able to do.
    • To add insult to injury, Mega Man 11 also has static 3D cutscenes but those are much more pleasing and characters actually move their mouths when talking.
  30. Sonic Adventure level of voice acting. Certain characters don't seem to express as much emotion as they should or just plain overact. The worst offender is Call, who sounds emotionless throughout the whole game. The dialogue is often childish and unfunny or makes the characters sound like complete morons. For example, during the ice level, Dr. Sanda calls you to express surprise that the ice-powered robot has covered the ice level in ice.
  31. The Wii U version is by far the worst version of the game, with long loading times, frequent crashes, and the worst framerate issues out of all the versions usually going up to 36 frames per second. It was even reported to brick consoles.
    • Even worse, sometimes they are hard crashes, forcing you to unplug the console and plug it back in to fix the problem. It got so bad, that they had to make a patch to fix most of the crashes and loading times, but framerate issues still persist.
  32. The infamous "make the bad guys cry like an anime fan on prom night" line from the Masterclass trailer made it sound like they were mocking many of their fans.
  33. Many gamers claim the game has unskippable cutscenes, however, many can be skipped by pressing the Start button, but the game itself does not mention this anywhere.
  34. Questionable engine physics and collision detection in some parts of the game, especially Cryosphere's level where the ice physics are so bad that they nearly ruin the smooth controls by making them a lot more slippery and stiff, and can lead to getting hit by enemies most of the time or either falling to your death by complete accident when it wasn't your fault and was likely a result of bad game design, and it doesn't help that the other levels suffer from this problem too such as Dynatron with the instakill spinning wheel that your dashing ability doesn't collide well with due to poor collision detection, which completely ruins the smooth controls and makes the game feel unpolished at times.
  35. Extremely glitchy, bugged and broken beyond repair, mostly with the aforementioned Wii U and PlayStation 3 versions of the game where they have many game-breaking bugs and crashes that render the game completely unplayable.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The character designs are great and creative, despite the terrible graphics and the aforementioned issue with Call.
  2. To be fair, the level design isn't that bad despite the unfairness:
    • The City stage is actually decent since it teaches you how to defeat enemies, use your dash and grab ledges while progressing in difficulty.
    • Pyrogen's stage is a nice throwback to Flame Man's stage Mega Man 6 but isn't nearly as trial-and-error (though it still is) and adds more mechanics.
    • Cryosphere's stage has a really neat mini-boss with 2 robots launching a ball to each other, which also repeats but with the freezing mechanic later on, something that is a nice design choice since it teaches you the main mechanic before adding the obstacle to the mix.
    • Dynatron's stage is really fair to the player and decides to focus on actual obstacles instead of cheapness aside from the horrible duck-dash part.
    • Seismic's stage uses the drills in fairly dynamic ways and in that stage you can get a lot of use of the ReXelections.
    • Battalion's stage has neat puzzles involving jumping on or destroying moving crates depending on what's of your convenience.
    • Aviator's stage is pretty memorable because it's set piece changes a lot during the stage, which also affects the platforming and enemy placement itself.
    • Brandish's stage isn't much frustrating other than that one enemy and you can get good use of Battalion's and Countershade's weapons on it, it also has the set piece changes mentioned previously.
    • Countershade's stage AT LEAST tries to spice things up with the sniper fire gimmick, which was necessary because otherwise the level structure is painfully lazy.
    • The Prison stage has some decently clever card placement.
    • The Robot Factory stage allows you to use multiple weapons for one puzzle, which gives it replayability.
    • The Xel block gimmick in the Battle Colosseum is very smart.
  3. The boss weaknesses don't guarantee victory.
  4. The EX Mode, like it or not does add a lot of replayabilty to the game, it even lets you train with your weapons, something Mega Man games lack.
  5. It takes a lot of advantage of the new hardware, making the ReXelections have unique models and levels have more inmersive mechanics.
  6. When you defeat a boss, that boss will appear in another stage and assist you. Unfortunately, their appearance in the stage also tells the player that the stage boss is weak to that boss' weapon, even if they somehow missed the "advice" button appearing in the stage select.
  7. The controls are solid, aside from the above-mentioned issues with switching weapons.
  8. The dash mechanics are kind of satisfying, even if not explained all that well.
  9. The ranking system is decently fair, since it doesn't require perfection for an S rank and won't give you a D rank for just losing a life.
  10. The sound effects are really well done, even if they're too loud.
  11. It offers the hard mode, hyper mode and maniac mode, which offers extra play time if you thought the game was too easy to beat.
  12. Awesome soundtrack, some examples include Trinity's theme or the intro stage's music.
  13. Inafune admitted the game's problems and took responsibility for it. That's better than most indie game developers, who are so arrogant and greedy that they snuff out criticism to continue scamming people unabated.
  14. Inti Creates at least made an effort to keep the pre-release hype for the game going with the release of Mighty Gunvolt back in 2014 for the Nintendo 3DS, and later on other platforms.
  15. Inti Creates now owns the rights to the still-born Mighty No. 9 franchise, and made a sequel to Mighty Gunvolt. That sequel being Mighty Gunvolt Burst, released in 2017 for the Nintendo Switch, and later on many other platforms during the next few years. This sequel was not only an improvement over Mighty Gunvolt, but a massive improvement over Mighty No. 9.

Reception

The game received a mixed-to-negative reception from critics, fans and Kickstarter backers alike upon launch. Review websites like IGN and GameSpot were receiving copies of the game before backers. The game's design, graphics, content, voice acting, and technical issues were criticized, and critics agreed that the game had utterly failed to live up to expectations. Before the game had a release date, the developers started another Kickstarter for a different game.

Trivia

  • The promised physical awards for the game came out an entire year after most versions were released and just like the game itself, they were less than stellar with even false advertisement of the NES/Famicom boxes for the game, along with the manual not even fitting in the Famicom box. Thankfully, Fangamer sent out improved versions of the Famicom Manual to fit in the box, but it just shows how much of a mess this game was in the end.
    • Some of the Kickstarter rewards still haven't even been delivered yet. The game's bad launch made lots of people fear supporting anyone who wants to start a Kickstarter for a game.
  • The developers said that even if the game wasn't perfect, it's "better than nothing". Even the Sonic Twitter made fun of it. In fairness to Inafune, he did not actually say the infamous "better than nothing" line; instead, it was a comment by his translator Ben Judd, who was also a former Capcom employee during Inafune's tenure.
  • PS Vita and 3DS versions were planned to come out shortly after the other versions but still have yet to see the light of day as of this writing. It's possible that they were quietly canceled due to the game’s poor reception and sales along with the 3DS and Vita's waning popularity and eventual discontinuations thanks to the Nintendo Switch. If they do come out, it would be too little too late at this point, as hype for the game has already long since died out and people have moved on to other, better games (and again, Nintendo and Sony stopped supporting the 3DS and Vita respectively). To add insult to injury, they even promised that the PS Vita and 3DS versions to come out by the end of 2017, and neither versions showed up, shows you just how much of a mess this Kickstarter campaign was in the end. A article explains it best of what happened.
  • As of June 2016, this game has the longest credits list ever, running just under 4 hours as the company listed every single person who donated money via kickstarter.
  • One of the backers was SomeCallMeJohnny (real name Juan Ortiz), a YouTube game reviewer whose reviews have been featured a lot on Crappy Games Wiki and Awesome Games Wiki as well. He is listed in the credits as Mighty No. 3254. For more games he reviewed, see this and this for more games that he reviewed.

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