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. 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 McGee
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.