So, Mighty No. 9 came out. I played a few of levels and it's just as disappointing as everyone's probably already told you. Luckily, I played our roommate's copy of the game, so I didn't back or pay for the game. If I had, I'd probably have a much, much worse opinion of the game, because every single element of it reaks of a cheap, lazy rip-off.
It's sad, because you can almost feel a good game buried somewhere deep within Mighty No. 9's upper crust of sheer unapologetic laziness. The game has tight controls and you can play at a pretty breakneck speed if you can suffer through the frequent framerate drops and bad enemy placement. But that speed comes with the awful dash system, an unintuitive, stupid system that requires you to dash through enemies to score points and get power ups. This sounds like an interesting bullet point on the back of a game box, but there's too many downsides. For instance, the game encourages you to dash through multiple enemies to rack up a combo, but your normal shot can't go through enemies. So if two enemies are lined up, then only the front enemy will take damage and enter a "dashable" state. You'll either have to keep shooting that enemy until it disappears, or dash into it to get the points, only to take damage from the enemy behind it. If this game was just going to be a Megaman clone anyways, why not add a charge shot to shoot through multiple enemies? It would've worked perfectly. You CAN get a damage upgrade from absorbing red enemies, and those bullets will go through multiple enemies, but that upgrade is on a timer and slows down your rate of fire, making it actually detrimental in boss fights. Speaking of boss fights, you can only do permanent damage if you dash through them. If you don't, then they recover all their health back. It's so dumb. Why would you dash at a boss when they normally do damage on contact? You have a gun that can shoot from across the screen. You'd normally want to be as far from the boss as possible. If they wanted you to fight closer, why not give you a melee weapon at the start?
Everything else about the game are just stale toppings on an aggressively bland cake. Graphically, it looks like a below average Dreamcast launch title. The level design is barely there, occasionally directly ripping from classic Megaman games but without the clever ways those levels would prepare you for shit (hope you liked Megaman 2's underwater spike-wall drops). The music can barely be heard through the annoying sound effects, and what you can hear isn't good. The characters suck, the bosses suck, and the writing sucks. And you might say, "Well, Brad, Megaman games never had good writing!" Yeah, that's true, but they also didn't pepper every moment of the game with terrible dialogue and awful voice acting. I never had to go through a Megaman level while a character pops up in the bottom of the screen via codec to yell for his mommy and list off all his unique personality quirks. Megaman never frequently interrupted the gameplay to show off their unanimated, lazy, unentertaining cutscenes (except 7 and 8 which no one likes anyways). For being such a shameless Megaman clone, it fails to capture anything that made the Megaman games so universally revere. Just a few months before Mighty No. 9's kickstarter launched, Shovel Knight launched their kickstarter. Financially, it made roughly 14% of what Mighty No. 9 would make. Despite that, it looks better, has fantastic music, plays wonderfully, and is a much more successful homage to Megaman and NES platformers than Mighty No. 9 could ever hope to be. Not only that, but Shovel Knight came out on time and even released a full, free expansion before Mighty No. 9 even launched.
Mighty No. 9 is an embarassingly mediocre game created from an embarassingly mismanaged Kickstarter campaign. Comcept should be ashamed of themselves for wasting their fan's money with such blatant disregard, especially considering that many of their backers still haven't received the rewards they paid for, or even had rewards taken from them like the beta. Frankly, I'm not convinced that the game is "better than nothing".
SEE YOU ON FRIDAY!