Let’s pretend God decided to answer a single question of my own choosing.

Let’s say he descended from Heaven and made a beeline towards me, his Host tugging at the hem of his frock and hissing “No, no, no, this is a bad idea.” And let’s say he looked at me kind of sideways-like (so I wouldn’t be blasted into a pile of ash, you see) and boomed “My child, tell me which of the universe’s mysteries you’d like revealed.”

I’d say to God, “Why does Mighty No. 9 look so god damn shitty (and pardon me for taking your name in vain, O Lord)?”

And the world would presumably drop its collective hands in its collective face and moan in disbelief. But at least I’d have an answer. Because as things currently stand, I’m truly stumped.



I admit I’ve been taking a “wait and see” attitude towards Mighty No. 9 since Keiji Inafune dropped his much-earned “Ha ha fuck Capcom!” Kickstarter bomb. Though very much intrigued by the game, I’ve never considered it a Mega Man replacement, nor has it done much to make me stop standing outside Capcom Japan’s offices with a boom box and a hangdog look on my face. But as a fan of shooty-action games in general, I’m OK with Mighty No. 9’s existence.

And I guess I’m still OK with it, but I don’t understand what Comcept is playing at. From what I’ve seen of the Humble Bundle demo released at the end of September, Mighty No. 9’s visuals are totally Garbagetown.

It’s not even a matter of “Oh, I don’t like the art style.” Sure, sprites would be nice, but I’m not anti-3D by a long shot. I think Mega Man X8 looks pretty neat, for instance, and that game uses polygons on a 2D plane.

But Mega Man X8 also has vibrant backgrounds, environmental effects, and other jazzy things MN9 is evidently devoid of. Admittedly I’m going by what I’ve seen of Johnny’s Spotlight of the game, but I don’t think I need to play the demo myself to spot everything that’s wrong with Beck’s dull, dull world.

So, again, it’s not MN9’s art style I’m at odds with. It’s the game’s presentation. A few things I noticed while watching Johnny’s video:

– The characters’ mouths don’t move in cut scenes.

– Their models seemingly don’t blink, either. Dr Sanda just stands at the Level Select screen and stares into your soul.

– The characters typically stand still instead of emoting via body language, like normal human beings (or sentient robots). Their facial expressions don’t even change. It’s super awkward to watch scientists mourn over their rogue robot children while seemingly engaged in a game of freeze tag.

– Stuff falls over in Pyro’s level, and that’s cool — except the towers clip through the foreground. They also leave no residual damage, not even scorch marks.

– Dr White’s lab is the most boring lab in video game history, holy shit. Boxes! A blue background! Stunning! Even Dr Light’s lab had personality back in the NES games.

"Nice day for waiting to get kidnapped by my estranged son."

“Nice day for waiting to get kidnapped by my estranged son.”

– I’ve heard from multiple sources that you can’t speed up the game’s text. You either sit through the s-l-o-o—o—-w voice-assisted exposition, or you skip through the whole thing.

– The game’s tutorial text doesn’t match any changes you’ve made to controller options. Not the end of the world, but indicative of the laziness that’s plaguing MN9’s presentation.

If we were still a year away from MN9’s release, I’d say “OK cool, this is all stuff that can be changed.” But we’re not a year away. This game is supposed to be done. The delay into 2016 is reportedly to deal with issues related to the multiplayer feature.

This lazy-ass demo couldn’t have come at a worse time, either. Much of the gaming universe (including myself) is enraptured with Undertale, a highly unique and indescribably emotional RPG that was produced with a fraction of MN9’s Kickstarter budget, and far fewer delays.

Even Toriel is disappointed in you, Comcept.

Even Toriel is disappointed in you, Comcept.

Yacht Club Games also just released the Plague of Shadows expansion for Shovel Knight, and it, too, is very neat (hey! I wrote a review!).

In fact, when I look from Mighty No. 9 to Shovel Knight, then back to Mighty No. 9, I can feel my mouth involuntarily make a tight line.

Man, I predict a rough road ahead for poor little Beck.


  • Levi Gratton

    It looks better than the PSP games that it was trying to emulate with a smaller team on a smaller budget. Don’t know why people expected more.

    • http://www.nyteworks.net/ LBD “Nytetrayn”

      Can’t say I agree so much there. HD difference aside, I don’t think it seems too far off from Maverick Hunter X, which is fine, but the little details really stick out.

      I mean, people were blown away in the NES games when Mega Man would blink. That we would come this far and not even get that much or any sort of body language, from lips flapping Star Fox-style to just some arm movement as they talk, is kind of crazy.

      • Levi Gratton

        I agree the lack of small details is….weird, but I don’t think anything mentioned above is worthy of an article and the phrase “lazy ass demo”.

        As a game in and of itself it’s solid, it has a good FEEL and in Mega Man games that was the real reason to play it. The game just felt good to play, and so does MN9.