So let’s talk about Mighty No. 9: I think the stale taste has left everybody’s mouths by now. To put it simply, that game was a disaster with so much potential to be great. A true successor to the Mega Man series, with one the series’ most notable leads, Keiji Inafune, at the helm. Sadly, after many delays, the final product is not what most of the backers had wanted.
However, Might No. 9’s main protagonist Beck still has so much potential to be awesome. Thankfully, developer Inti Creates (who, in full disclosure, worked on Mighty No. 9) hasn’t given up on this misunderstood new bomber. Instead, they have decided to pair him up with their all-star IP Gunvolt and give them both a true 8-bit style 2D action game titled Mighty Gunvolt Burst, which might be what many backers of the Mighty No. 9 KickStarter originally ask for.
Being a sequel to Mighty Gunvolt, Mighty Gunvolt Burst comes off as a more fleshed out version of what the game could have potentially been, had Mighty Gunvolt not been released as a free 30-minute experience. Under the 8-bit mask, both Beck and Gunvolt have new abilities and skills that will exceed the expectations of fans and potentially create new ones.
The game begins with a choice, which character will you play through the game as, Beck from Mighty No. 9 or Gunvolt from Azure Striker Gunvolt. Each story is relatively similar, while the abilities will differentiate the two. There are also some clever nodes sprinkled throughout the game’s campaign for those who played through Mighty No. 9, including stages and enemies.
Additionally, the bosses from Mighty No. 9 make an appearance and, as you might have already guessed, act as the end level bosses of each stage. These similarities made to Mighty No. 9 constantly had me wishing that this was what the original Mighty No. 9 was, and yes, I know I should just move on. However, unlike Mighty No. 9, the animations of each character and enemy are smooth and quick, while the action is kept at a moderately difficult pace.
Fighting your way through the levels is the only real objective of Mighty Gunvolt Burst. There are some areas that come off as repetitive or feel like you’ve played something similar before; if you’re a fan of Mega Man games, this will happen quite often. While it just shows how much Inti Creates knows about this genre and its storied history, I would have liked to see more risks being taken.
That’s not to say that they didn’t add some deep new upgrade mechanics. In the in-game menu, an option to customize a gunshot is provided where players are able to create their own attack. Basic options such as which kind of bullet do you want are given first, but then it allows you to choose the size, length, amount, style angle, and many other options. In order to create more powerful bullets, you’ll have to spend points earned in-game.
At first, creating an effective shot might be difficult, the stronger the shot the more spendable CP points you’ll need. However, after getting wrecked multiple times by a few of the bosses, I forced myself to learn the different systems and menus in order to progress at an easier pace.
Although the game has difficult moments, players don’t have to worry about lives. Each time you die, you’re sent to a check point or to the beginning of the level with no real consequence. I must admit that I was happy about this feature — especially after the 14th time I died on boss. With that said, I often prefer the “lose everything when you die” method from past games of this genre. Luckily for those masochists out there, there is a higher difficulty that unlocks after the game is completed.
Mighty Gunvolt Burst begs to be a game for speedrunners and strikes all the right chords for fans of this type of gameplay. A few of which include, combo mechanics that reward point-blank kills, a gameplay clock, an on-screen death counter, and of course many secrets to be discovered for a perfect playthrough. Coincidentally, the speedrunning community is most likely the same group that still plays Might No. 9 to this day.
The collectibles in the game aren’t always the easiest to snag, and some even require multiple playthroughs if passed up. These collectibles are usually fruit or sweets that I find look adorable as 8-bit icons. Additionally, there are secret stickers that can be collected by destroying enemies or behind destructible walls.
The music in Mighty Gunvolt Burst is absolutely awesome, I’ve always been a pretty big fan of retro tunes and I think Inti Creates has figured out how to deliver in this category. Each level has it’s theme and each attack is accompanied by a satisfying retro sound.
Playing through the game will last you a few hours a character. It’s also possible to take a stab at some of the achievements the developer so kindly listed in the menu. Beck and Gunvolt might feel similar in the beginning of the game, but as you collect points and gain skills they fall into their more unique rolls.
Mighty Gunvolt Burst is a game for fans of both Mega Man and Mighty No. 9, essentially what we have been asking for all along. Inti Creates has taken it upon themselves to deliver a worthy successor to the blue bomber while adding their one charm to customization options and skills.
Mighty Gunvolt Burst is something that you’ll want to show your friends who quit playing games in the 90’s or youngsters who haven’t experienced a true retro style game. In a generation that pushes hardware to limits, Inti Creates continues to deliver these five – six hour long experiences that push our 2D action platforming skills to the test. Now if only we can get Beck in a proper Azure Striker Gunvolt game.