Monday, July 25, 2016

A Very Angry Mighty No. 9 Review

 Hey all,

(Please forgive me, this is more of a collection of notes than anything, I just wanted to post my thoughts.)

So I just finished Mighty No. 9, lovingly called the "Most disappointing game of all time" by IGN.

Mighty Number 9 follows Megam- I mean, Beck, as he defeats his corrupted comrades and tries to save the world from some sort of hacker. As you can see, I'm an expert on this game's story.

Along the way, Beck collects the powers of the bosses the player defeats and is able to use them at any time.

For an early warning, this game is so bad, and I plan to make it cry like an anime fan on prom night. (GET IT?!)

But enough of that crap, let's get to me ripping it apart! :D

Coherence / Following the rules: "The game must be coherent and consistent, game objects / characters must obey the rules that the game designer sets early on in the experience, no exceptions."

This is perhaps the best part of Mighty No. 9. The game establishes that you will be jumping, shooting, and dashing for the entirety of the game.

There is an exception though, one mission in the game involves the player commanding Call as she utilizes stealth in infiltrate a prison. It's a complete juxtaposition to the rest of the game, and sticks out, in a bad way. The mission doesn't punish the player for not using stealth, and enemies cannot be defeated like they have been for the rest of the game.

Now, I'm not saying that they can't change up the game a bit, but this particular mission seems arbitrary and unnecessary, and seems to just pad out the rest of the game. I'm not kidding about the padding part, there is a part where the player must use Call's hover ability to navigate some deadly spike traps, but the player hasn't been taught how to use this ability / mechanic. It requires a tremendous amount of trial and error to pass this part of the level, which is at the very end. If the player loses all of their lives (and believe me, they will.) during this part, THEY HAVE TO PLAY THE WHOLE LEVEL OVER AGAIN. That's what I mean by padding, that part I just described is designed to steal lives from the player so that they'll have to play the level over again. Oh, I forgot to mention that the boss fight happens right after that "puzzle".

Speaking of padding, the final boss fight feels like it was designed to do that as well, taking roughly 25% of your health per hit, leaving the player with not much time to figure out how to fight it before having to start the level over. Of course, the final boss is a two part fight.

The thing is, with Megaman (Which Mighty Number 9 claims to be a successor to), was that parts that were designed to steal away your lives were fairly few and far between levels, and usually in the middle of levels, not near the end. These life stealing mechanics also came with a warning, by teaching the player the mechanics of the death traps BEFORE the trap has a real chance to kill them. Mighty No. 9 sees this and misunderstands the comcept (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!) by making almost every level have some sort of life stealing mechanic.

Oh yeah, and some bosses have one hit kill moves that either come with little warning, look like other attacks the boss has, or have a tiny window to dodge them. See the theme here about padding the game? The game thinks that difficulty comes from one hit kills and life stealing puzzles, rather than challenging your wit, reflexes, or cunning. It's sad too, since Keiji Inafune should have understood this.

Padding wouldn't be too bad if the combat was interesting, but unfortunately it just isn't. Enemies don't die in a satisfactory fashion, they just kind of disappear, unless you use the game's dash ability. To describe the dash ability, briefly, it's a move where when an enemy has low enough health (i.e. covered in blue or some other color), you can dash into them to build a combo, which only adds to your score at the end of the level.

I also can't forgive the mechanic where holding forward as Beck lands makes him do a special animation that moves a set distance. This mechanic takes control AWAY from the player and can put them into an unnecessary situation where they may lose a life.

Basically, the game has an inconsistent rule set, it's really annoying, and unforgivable.

+ Easy to understand core mechanics. Consistent in that regard.
- Call level
- Padding
- A lack of understanding of their own rules.

Score: 8/20

Do or Show, Don't Tell: "The game must show the player or make the player use mechanics of the game in order for the player to understand them. Allow the player to learn mechanics in a safe environment with minimal punishment so that the game can introduce challenges while feeling "fair"."

Looking at this category, Mighty Number 9 does nothing offensive here. The game is fairly good at showing the player the ropes of the game, albeit be with a bit too much dialogue.

The game starts with a crumbling city and the player is forced to navigate the space using Beck's abilities. The tutorial level has very few death traps and does a letting the player figure out the mechanics in a safe place.

One thing this game does wrong, however, is that it never explains the powerups mechanic, which I will explain. Some enemies give you powerups for defeating them by using the dash ability. These powerups range from being very helpful (shots got through enemies and objects) to outright useless (run faster, which messes up your jumps. You read that right, a powerup that makes things harder).

The lack of information on the above is really not forgiveable, unfortunately.

+ Easy to understand
+ Good tutorial
- Power ups

Score: 15/20

Exercise the Brain: "Learning is fun, variety is learning. Multiplayer games are great at this."

This game has no puzzles. Bosses are easily defeated by the primary buster attack, the abilities from defeated Mighties mean almost nothing in the context of a fight.

One thing I do like, though, is that abilities from defeated Mighties can be used in levels to create shortcuts or unlock extra lives, so in a way, levels have weaknesses. It's a neat idea explored in Megaman X previously, and utilized here as well.

Levels do a good job of providing the variety that the game needs, bringing in different mechanics. Some of these mechanics are not fun, however, for example, the mine level is all just death traps, and unforeseeable instant kills. See above if you want to hear my complaints about the one hit deaths.

Unfortunately, platforming is incredibly trivial thanks to the dash ability. Timed jumps? That's for suckers.

It's a real shame, too, since this game would have been more interesting with some actual platforming. I don't know why Beck can dash infinitely in the air, it just seems silly, really. Allowing the player to mash the dash button in the air doesn't really add much to the game, and takes so much away. Wouldn't you agree?

+ Level variety.
- Platforming is lame.
- Instant kills, rather than defeating the player through good design.

Score: 5/20

Content is king: "Neat particle effects does not make a great game. "Keep the great, trash the okay". A game with 10 hours of great content that the player will remember with 20 hours of padding is a 10 hour game, let's face it."

The levels in this game, full of death traps, sneaky mechanics, and other crap, are not fun. They wouldn't pass the "good" bar, at all.

To give an example:
Inafune himself says that this puzzle is TOO HARD. This puzzle is STILL IN THE GAME.

On a side note, the art style in that version of the game is better, am I right?

- Watch the video. Read this part.

Score: 2/20

Player Choice Matters: "Let decisions have weight, don't leave decisions up to the player that ultimately mean nothing, that's not fun."

This category doesn't really apply, since the game is linear and all the "puzzles" have set solutions. I will say there may be some fun in there for the speed running community, well, if they're masochists.

The player can play the levels in any order and can choose to receive assistance from exploiting boss weaknesses. The bosses in this game, like Megaman, each have a weakness to another boss in the game. Players can choose to exploit these weaknesses or not.

The game could have been made better if certain power ups in some levels would unlock extra lives or powerups, like in Megaman X. Sadly, the developers didn't think this part through, and only rewards the player for doing "difficult" jumps, which aren't difficult at all.

+ Player's can tackle the game in whatever order they wish.
- Boss weapons mean nothing.
- Puzzles are easy.
- Boss powers not fully fleshed out.

Score: 14/20

Consider this review as a collection of my thoughts as I played through the game, I didn't have fun. Very few games can make me say that I dropped the controller in surprise, and unfortunately Mighty Number 9 is the latest to claim that honor.

Final Score: 44/100

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Post EVO update

Hey all,

Sorry it's taken me so long to post an update, I was really busy getting ready for EVO and such.

Before you ask, I got third in my pool, I got to winners finals and then didn't pull through, whoops. I played Ryu, whom I don't normally play, literally hadn't played him for more than 4 hours total. Somehow, as if by luck, I got into winner's finals.

Anyway, I'm not here to talk about that. I'm here to talk about the latest goings on!

Chang-e has been seeing incremental improvements to the UI, and more dynamic systems for character movement! I've got 135+ moves to script, I have to make it easy to script! In the coming months I'll be working on polishing the combat and finalizing details there.

Not a lot has changed from last time, but just know that I didn't break it. Lol.
As for the Zombie game, the game itself is approaching completion! There are plans to add single player content to teach players how to play the game, and then it's art polish!
Look forward to seeing it on Steam Greenlight! ...At some point.
Also, your eyes aren't lying to you, there are more than two teams! Teams can also be any size or arrangement! We are planning on adding another multiplayer mode too, so stay tuned...?
Anyway, hope you enjoyed this quick update, I'll try my best to write these more often / less crappily.