Mighty No. 9 Preview

The classic styling of Rockman Mighty No. 9 should do the trick.

I like 2D Mega Man titles. They make me really, really happy, and the best ones do it for one specific reason: They’re (mostly) designed well enough that there’s very rarely any outright cheap moments. And you know the feeling—dropping down directly on an enemy you couldn’t have seen coming. Keiji Inafune, director and creator of so many Mega Man titles over the years, knows how to direct his team to making some of the greatest platformers of all time.

This time, there ain’t no Mega Man, jack. This is Mighty No. 9, not simply a different skin on an old game. Players take control of No. 9 “Beck”, who (like Mega Man) has the ability to take on the skills of the other 8 robots that have gone crazy and violent. When the other robots have been messed with to become evil, Beck has to defeat them, take their abilities, and integrate them into himself (which is his special ability) to take the others down. It’s what you expect from Mega Man in terms of general structure: select one of the available missions, and go to town.​

Mighty No. 9 is not just a love letter to the classic side-scroller, but a complete rebuilding of the Blue Bomber into a sort of… silvery bomber. And that’s totally okay, because everything that is Rockman is here: arm blaster, tough-as-nails platforming, closed end-of-stage boss fight against a more powerful opponent—all of what we remember from our “scream at the TV” youth (without any accompanying cheesy cartoon, though that sounds like a possibility). And it’s wonderful.

The one thing so far that differentiates Mighty from its source material is the minor, power-ups picked up after dashing through a damaged opponent. Some opponents will leave behind a temporary power-up after they’ve been dealt their final blow, which might speed Beck’s run a little or improve his blaster for a limited time. This can help build combos in areas of multiple enemies, where an elemental attack will take out a minor baddie in one shot when it may normally take two. So in addition to running and gunning, the goal of combos adds to the experience to prove just how badass/hardcore/better than your friends you are.

Mighty No. 9 has been pushed back a few times now, but it feels ready to be played by everyone for PS3, PS4, Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, 3DS, and PC. September 15, 2015 feels a long way away, but it can give enough time to sharpen those platforming skills. Don’t mind me, I’m plugging Mega Man X back in for practice!