Just under three years ago, I, along with 16 thousand others, backed the supposed spiritual successor to Capcom’s <em>Mega Man</em> franchise. Capcom made no effort to scratch the <em>Mega Man</em> itch so people willingly laid down their money at the feet of Keiji Inafune, one of the mastermind’s behind <em>Mega Man</em>’s creation, and made <em>Mighty No. 9</em> one of the most successful video game Kickstarters in the site’s history. </p>
Something that had so much potential slowly turned into a controversial figure as Comcept continually delayed the game with vague reasons, looked for more funding outside of the whopping four million raised through Kickstarter, and tried to fund other titles before finishing Mighty No. 9. It was an odd set of circumstances that kept Mighty No. 9 firmly in the news. Although much of it leaned towards the negative end of the spectrum, I always held out hope. I’ve never been burned by something I funded through Kickstarter — well not until I finally got my hands on Mighty No. 9.
Mighty No. 9 has glimpses of greatness. Sadly, they’re only glimpses. The majority of the game is a frustrating mess that feels like an ill-advised Mega Man clone than a true spiritual successor.
You can’t completely dismiss Mighty No. 9 because the ideas at the core of the game, such as the dashing and absorption mechanics, are good. When everything comes together, Mighty No. 9 can be a blissful experience as you dash through enemies, switch between robot master powers on the fly, and dodge obstacles at the last possible moment. Unfortunately, those moments are few and far between.
You can nitpick the PS1-quality graphics, the laughable voice-acting, or the bland levels. The fact of the matter is that Mighty No. 9’s biggest problem is its poor design. This poor design comes from a severe lack of polish and bug testing. In all honesty, it seems that Comcept wasted most of their time implementing the troublesome netcode over actually making sure the game worked. Levels are unbalanced concoctions of randomly spawning enemies, spiteful insta-kill gauntlets, and unfair boss battles. In all my years playing video games, I have never gotten more visibly angry at a game than I have with Mighty No. 9.
On top of all that, the Wii U version of the game isn’t optimized, so any time there are particle effects or a lot of moving objects on screen, the game slows to crawl, which makes the already frustrating level design absolutely infuriating. I cannot count how many times I died thanks to slowdown or a stuttering frame rate. Also the abysmal optimization makes load times a chore to sit through and the kicker is it happens every time you die.
I can’t say for sure if the other consoles fare better in the way of optimization, but my experiences with the Wii U version killed any goodwill I had for Mighty No. 9.
For all the talent involved and its huge budget, it’s depressing to play a finished product like Mighty No. 9. I don’t know who’s to blame for this massive screw-up, but one thing is for sure — don’t buy this game! It’s not worth its $35 price tag at retail or even the $25 needed to buy it digitally.
There are much better ways to get your Mega Man fix than spending your time and money on this dud of a game.