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Mighty No. 9 is a Mega Man speedrunner's dream

If you've never seen a good old fashioned Mega Man speed run then hit pause on this and check out one of the many, many runs hosted by Awesome Games Done Quick (opens in new tab). Speed running is a recent phenomenon in which players try to finish a game as quickly as possible, often employing extraordinary feats of dexterity, glitches, and other exploits the developers never intended. The Mega Man franchise - with its long history of superb, 2D platformers - enjoys one of the largest runner communities out there.

The developers of Mighty No. 9 - including the father of Mega Man himself, Keiji Inafune - are well aware of speed running's popularity, and have incorporated it into the heart of their upcoming platformer. The result is a fantastically frenetic sense of momentum that really gets you in the zone. You know that feeling: when you're blazing through a game and nothing can touch you. Mighty No. 9 encourages this by challenging you to play swiftly and efficiently at all times.

The swiftness comes from your character's dash. In Mighty No. 9, you always want to be dashing; not only does it speed you up, but it's how you'll finish off most enemies. After a few shots from your blaster, most enemies will be stunned. By dashing into a stunned enemy you absorb it into yourself, thus regaining some energy, and are awarded points. Some enemies award power-ups when defeated in this way, which can make your character faster or stronger depending on the type. These power-ups aren't random either, but rather baked into the level designs themselves.

It's easy to feel flush with power when you get a few power-ups under your belt and are racking up a kill combo in the double-digits. Your character's piercing buster shots (a power-up) disable two or three enemies at once, and then the game lights up with a big combo multiplier as you dispatch them all with a single dash. Keeping this multiplier up is crucial, as it's one of the things Mighty No. 9 grades you on after each stage. That's why it pays to be efficient and tackle every enemy you see. If you've ever played a Mega Man game, Mighty No. 9 will feel right at home; but its underlying mechanics encourage and reward that perfectionist dedication earned by its forebears.

Maxwell grew up on a sleepy creekbank deep in the South. His love for video games has taken him all the way to the West Coast and beyond.