Monday, June 20, 2016

Three Video Games to Play If You're Disappointed in Mighty No. 9

Review embargo dates for Mighty No. 9, (Keiji Inafune's long-suffering Mega Man successor) have finally arrived, bringing with them a tide of tepid responses. The PS4 version, at the time of this writing, has a Metacritic score of 65, while the Xbox One version carries a cool 58. After months of delays, a handful of minor controversies, and a slowly withering sense of trust in the creator, the world is finally getting a taste of Inafune's return to game development.

But maybe you're not into it. It seems plenty of people aren't. So if these reviews have you crying like a backer on release night, maybe check out these other games. They may be different, but they're of similar scale and scope to Mighty No. 9, and some of them may even be cheaper.

OXENFREE (2016, Night School Studio, Windows, OS X, Linux, PS4, XB1)

Oxenfree is a melancholic adventure game about teens, grief, sibling relationships, radios, and ghost stories. It's very dialogue heavy, with a unique dialogue system that forces you to interrupt other characters if you ever want to say anything, much like real conversations between more than three teenagers at once.The plot is touching and emotional, and the characters are all really well written. If you like Paranormal Americana style horror (Horror is a strong word, but it's definitely a ghost story), give this one a go. The developers just recently added a New Game Plus, where you can replay the game after finishing and get different options and endings.

HYPER LIGHT DRIFTER (2016, Heart Machine, Windows, OS X | PS4/XB1 to follow)

Hyper Light Drifter is a top-down 2D action RPG in the style of the original Legend of Zelda, albeit with a slick visual style and a distinct Souls-esque vibe. This game is just dripping with style, really. You have to see it. In fact, here's the intro. The game is somewhat challenging, as befits its heritage, and gives close to no outright information about plot or setting.

SHOVEL KNIGHT (2014, Yacht Club, Windows, 3DS, WiiU, OS X, Linux, PS3, PS4, Vita, XB1, Amazon Fire TV)

Shovel Knight is the closest in style to what Mighty No. 9 was expected to be. It's a 16-bit inspired sidescrolling platformer with impeccable sprite art, an amazing chiptune soundtrack, and extremely charming character design and humor. This game is available on just about every modern system out there, and it's well worth the price of admission. It also has a ton of DLC, including extra characters and stages. Certain versions of the game also have special cameos--Kratos appears as an optional boss in the three Sony versions, for example.

There are, of course, plenty of other great titles out there if you want a quick and simple video game fix. I don't have time to describe them all here, but while you're at it, you might check out Dex, Ronin, or Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist.

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