Mighty No. 9 isn’t all about Beck, and subsequently, it isn’t all about action. If Beck represents the fast-paced side of Comcept’s flagship title, then Call almost certainly represents thoughtful, defensive side of it. I got to play as Call behind closed doors with Deep Silver, in the Prison stage I mentioned in my last article on Mighty No. 9.
Naturally, Call controls much differently than Beck: she can dash slightly further than Beck and slow her fall with jets on her feet, but she can’t absorb enemy Xels when weakened. Her arm unfolds into a bow that fires projectiles, but those projectiles are weak and more apt at stunning enemies than destroying them. She doesn’t have transformations, but she does have a shield that reflects projectiles. Oh, and she can also crawl to get beneath walls and through tight spaces.
In the prison stage, the objective isn’t necessarily to get from one side of the stage to the other as fast as possible. Instead, you’re tasked with finding and collecting prison keycards to access a number of locked doors that let you progress to the next area. The enemies here are security-centric: cameras that fire at you if you’re seen, turrets that fire volleys of shots at you while climbing up ladders, and so on.
Call’s stage actually had the trickiest platforming section I’ve yet to experience in Mighty No. 9, recalling some of the sections in Mega Man ZX where the player must use Model H to hover carefully over terraces of spikes and perform quick dashes in tight spike-filled corridors. These areas present a challenge uniquely designed to fit Call’s play style, and because of that, the gameplay doesn’t suffer from the staggered pace at all.
Another thing to note is the game’s incredible ability to teach you what you need to know without using tutorial windows. For example, one of the first things you have to do in the prison area is crawl. All of the security bots fire projectiles just high enough for Call to duck under. Later, when Call must fight a large boomerang-throwing enemy, the player can use this knowledge to crawl under the boomerang, pop up on the other side, and open fire at its exposed weak point.
There’s a bit of resource management involved in playing as Call as well—her shield, for example—will run out of energy. Every now and then, she’ll pick up another pack (literally a little pack she carries on her back) that will recharge her shield. Having the shield in certain areas is crucial to getting through alive, so choose how you spend it wisely!
You can look forward to playing as Call when the game releases on September 15th.