Game Title: Mega Man 11
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Retail | Digital
Battery Life: 3 – 4 hours
Cloud Save Support: Yes
Download: 2.1 GB
I thought the Vita was basically a Mega Man machine when it comes to handhelds, but boy, was I wrong. The Nintendo Switch has become the hub for nearly all-things Mega Man, when it comes to handheld gaming. We got Mega Man Legacy Collections 1 + 2, Mega Man X Legacy Collections 1 + 2, and the Switch just got the newest Mega Man game from Capcom.
With this Mega Man overload going on, we have lots of retro goodness, but what about the brand-new goodness? Is Mega Man 11 the melding between the original and X series that I thought it was when it was first revealed? Let’s find out!
This is my review of Mega Man 11 for the Nintendo Switch!
Mega Man 11 takes place during the original Mega Man series, where Dr. Light, along with Mega Man and Roll are working on maintaining robots that are out and helping people in the world. In the midst of this, Dr. Wily shows up and kidnaps 8 of them, aiming to enhance them with the “Double Gear” system, which Wily was once ridiculed for trying to develop. In response, Light gives Mega Man a prototype of that same system and sends him to stop Wily, once again.
The plot of this game I find to an interesting one. Most of the original-series games didn’t have much of a story at all. 11 not only has a story, but gives background info on Dr. Light and Wily, particularly in how they had their falling out and began to be antagonistic towards one another.
Mega Man 11 is a 2D platforming game with combat elements thrown into the mix. Big surprise there, right? Like most series games, you’ll be navigating through side-scrolling environments and shooting down enemies and bosses until you clear it and move onto the next.
First of all, the Nintendo Switch version of 11 is a bit unique in that it contains an Amiibo feature the other versions do not have. Once per day, you can scan a Mega Man-themed amiibo figure during gameplay and you can get an assortment of random benefits, like an extra life or your HP gauge being refilled. It’s a nice little extra benefit for those playing on the go.
Now, let’s talk the game, itself. This is an NES-style Mega Man game, yet it’s not. The Stage Select, Boss Intro music, and even difficulty levels really scream NES Mega Man and cater to people like me that grew up in that era.
However, the modern elements really help things out here. First of all is the Double Gear system. This lets you temporarily activate special powers, mainly being the Power Gear that powers up your weapons (in what would normally be a “charged” version of a sub-weapon) and the Speed Gear that slows down time around you. The latter is especially useful and crucial to the game to be able to freely move around while bosses and enemies are in slow-motion.
Secondly, the item and upgrade system. Although this had a distinct Mega Man X look, the way it handles upgrades is very different and more akin to X8. As you complete stages, you collect Bolts that are used as currency. These can be used for one-time-use items like E-Tanks or Spike Protection (stops instant-death when touching spikes), or permanent upgrades that you can equip to enhance the Double Gear system, increase the probability of health drops, and upgrades of that sort.
The modern features are definitely a necessity as this is not a modern Mega Man game in its difficulty. The levels are long and unforgiving and, outside of the Easy Difficulty, you have finite lives before the stage restarts. It mimics the NES Mega Man games in that you need to memorize the levels as you go so it doesn’t take you as long when the boss inevitably gives you a Game Over and you have to replay the entire stage again.
What about the aspects of the game, though? The only real disappointment I found in Mega Man 11 is how it sets and hypes up boss fights with Block Man and fails to live up to it with pretty much everything else. When you fight Block Man, his “2nd Phase” has him go through a really intense transformation into a giant boss monster that you fight. Naturally, I expected every boss to do this, only to have none of them do it. I wouldn’t call it a major flaw, but rather a confusing imbalance.
Now, looking past all of its features and modernisms and retroisms, what are you getting in this package? As far as the main quest goes, you’re not getting a ton of time. With Normal having finite lives, I beat the game in around 6 hours, 4 of which I’m convinced were nothing but retrying from Game Overs. In all reality, it’s a 2-hour game. Depending on your skill level, though, it may take you up to 8 hours to get past the difficulty and stage-learning. The length really comes more from having to repeat stages after Game Overs than anything else.
There is a good amount of post-game here, though. Outside of the Cheat items you can buy from the shop upon beating the game, 11 sports in-game Trophies/Achievements as well as Challenge Mode, which gives you dozens of special tasks you can do, be it repeating stages under time limitations or going through a special Boss Rush.
Controlling the game isn’t too hard. The nice thing here is that the scheme is customizeable, so you can set anything to anything and go at it under your preferred control style.
By default, you move with the Left Analog Stick or the D-Pad / Arrow Buttons. The L and R triggers are used fot the Double Gear system and ZL/ZR are used for cycling through sub-weapons. A is used for sliding and B for jumping. Finally, Y is used for shooting, and X can activate the special Rush abilities to help you platform.
Graphically, I can’t complain too much. Mega Man 11 takes a note out of X8 and MHX’s book and opted for a 2.5D style into of the NES-style pixel art. THe renders for all the backgrounds look basically perfect. There are a few jaggies here and there on Mega Man, but they’re not exactly easy to see and point out.
Performance is wonderful as well. You get a perfect 60 fps in both docked and handheld mode, so Capcom did a great job with optimization.
Things didn’t change much between the demo and full game, thankfully. Here are my Battery Times, from 100% to 0%
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 18 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 28 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 02 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 11 minutes
All in all, this is pretty good. You’ll get a good half of the game done on a single charge.
In conclusion, Mega Man 11 is a good mix of NES-inspired level design with more modern features to make it more accessible. Although the difficulty makes the experience frustrating from time to time, this is a quality platformer that sticks to its formula with just enough new stuff to keep things fresh.
Final Score: 9/10