ChaosCore Engine

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mighty No. 9 - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Mighty No. 9 by Comcept and IntiCreates was released today! \ o /  As a backer, I'm super stoked to see an investment of mine come to fruition! But...I have some thoughts. None of this has to do with the events leading up to launch, though they are mentioned and referenced often.

The Good

This game is (mechanically) a love letter to all classic platforming fans. The difficulty isn't so much that the game is unbeatable but if you're expecting a total cakewalk, you're in for a few surprises at least. The achievements are very interesting to say the least (do a stage without having feet on the ground for more than 1 second, etc etc etc).

The story is pretty straightforward and to be expected. You play as Mighty No. 9 - Beck - whose bros have all gone insane thanks to a robotic virus propagated by some entity that totally isn't in the first stage. Beck can Absorb the Xels (particles that make up robots, pronounced 'cells') of enemies and turn them into energy or, in the Mighty No's cases, purify them of the robotic virus. 

Mechanically, the game is pretty diverse. Jump. Shoot. Dash. Dive. Switch forms. Absorb. Rinse and repeat. It's a platformer, so over-complication on this front would be pretty bad. Thankfully, Comcept/Inti did a great job of keeping the control scheme simple and fully customizable. 

If you're willing to overlook some things, Mighty No. 9 is - at its core - a really good game. But now we dive into...

The Bad

Graphically, this game leaves a lot to be desired. Pizza memes and prom nights aside, the animations are fluid and great, but the stylized art direction feels conflicting in a lot of areas. Lighting is well done, but colors don't match on several stages. Particle Effects are horrendous aside from the Xels, and I can only assume this downscaling and compromise was done due to the fact that the game is releasing on 9 PLATFORMS. I'm willing to bet that the graphical quality looked amazing until they hit the porting process. I know for sure the Vita wouldn't have been able to handle the quality, much less the older versions of the 3DS.

Bugs? We got those. There are dozens of bugs. Despite the backers giving tons of feedback during the beta period, it seems like some of those reported issues are still in the game. Beck can backdash INTO THE BOSS DOOR and get stuck. Collision bugs. Misaligned hitboxes. I sincerely hope Comcept never uses whoever QA'd this game again, because it looks like they just collected a paycheck and stopped.

The Ugly

If you are a backer and went into Mighty No. 9 expecting more than what we have, allow me to educate you in hopes that you'll see things from a fresh perspective.

"This game looks like garbage"

Mighty No. 9 had a budget of $4m. $4m is hardly enough budget for any AAA title, much less one releasing on 9 platforms. Factoring in Kickstarter and other rewards they had to provide, I'm figuring that MN9's actual budget was to the tune of $2.8m - $3.5m. Considering licensing costs for 9 platforms as well as localization...It's not hard to see that compromises had to be made in several areas. Of course this game looks like garbage. You're not going to drive off the lot with a Ferrari with only $800 in your pocket.

Games get delayed. Some games get delayed a lot. I backed this project fully expecting several delays. Does it suck that we had to wait another year? Heck yeah. But given the current product we got, imagine what it would have been if it weren't delayed. 

"I regret Kickstarting this. This isn't what I paid for"
This is something I see a lot and have seen since people started bowing out because of Dina. Across the board, the only people actually saying this have this gross misconception that a Kickstarter is a pre-order. It's not a pre-order. It's an investment. And part of investments is that sometimes you don't see the fruits of your investment at all, and sometimes it's not what you expected. Consider this a reality check.

Additionally, please see my This Game Looks Like Garbage point above. It can be said for this too.

"I blame Dina for this"
2014 called, they want their drama back. I've shouted this from the rooftops in the backer forums, but Dina had no control over what happened with this project, much less anything in development. Anyone actually bringing this up in 2016 is just trolling or looking for drama.

"Inafune, why you do dis"
At Waku Waku NYC in 2015, I had the honor of sitting down, talking to and eating lunch with Keiji Inafune. This man's passion for this project is unparalleled. I'm sure that the state of the project was heartbreaking, but pinning the blame solely on his shoulders is not fair. See my conclusion for the tail end of this one.

"Why was a post-crowdfund made for a cartoon? We didn't ask for this"
Obviously, if people backed it, they wanted it. The great thing about Kickstarters and crowdfunding in general is that it's completely optional. I'm pretty sure that there's outside funding going into the animated series.

"Why didn't Comcept communicate better to backers?"
A lot of people don't know this, but backers found out about the delays the same time as everyone else did. We had no notice. And Comcept was/is horrendous about responding to their email box. Granted, this is probably due to the overwhelming tidal wave of "GIMME MUH MONIES BACK FEMINISM" emails, but it doesn't excuse not having someone at the helm to feedback to the users and more importantly - the backers.  They only had one person staffed on PR throughout the project as far as I'm aware, and we have no idea if anyone took that mantle up after Dina left.

This actually is one of my biggest gripes with the project. We should have had our HumbleBundle keys on the 18th. We should have been notified if there was going to be a delay. We should have been informed.


I think that Mighty No. 9's hamstring was that the project was overambitious. The studio as a whole was inexperienced, and I feel like IntiCreates was tasked with something monumental and given table scraps for funding to accomplish it. Not to mention porting this thing to 9 platforms(360, PS3, XB1, PS4, 3DS, Vita, PC, Mac, Linux) is nearly unheard of for a Kickstarter. In fact, I don't think ANY Kickstarter project has launched on that many platforms. We know that Comcept is capable of greater things (ReCore). We also know that there's a sequel beginning. Just like MegaMan, the first game didn't necessarily yield critical acclaim, but MM2 went to be the one of the most memorable and amazing games in the classic franchise. 


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