I have a confession to make: I don’t hate the Mega Man X iOS port. Yes, you read that right. I just don’t. Matter of fact, I don’t think it’s bad at all. It’s not the cheap cash-in mess of a game that it tends to be labeled as, if you ask me. Why do I feel this way? There are actually several reasons, but…
Mostly, I want to tell you about the one thing that really changed my attitude about the game: watching my little cousin play it. She’s a tech-savvy pre-tween who had never played a Mega Man game before she had come to visit this past Summer. Then upon that fateful afternoon we gave her our iPad to play with during a long car ride. We didn’t have a lot of games on it, and Mega Man X just happened to be one of the few. My girlfriend picked it up for me the last time it went on that 99 cent sale, not knowing it had the reputation of being the devil incarnate. I am hardly one to turn down a gift Mega Man game, regardless of quality. Heck, I still have the DOS games on floppies.
So anyway, my cousin decided to give Easy mode a shot. After a few game overs, she had cleared the intro stage and nearly beaten her first boss before the car reached its destination. She asked to play it again later on, and starting from scratch again managed to clear two of the bosses that time, and almost certainly would have played longer if time had allowed. Maybe after she returned home she convinced her parents to get it for her? I’m not sure.
She loved the music and the colorful graphics. She didn’t have a problem with the controls. In fact, she took to them right away without needing us to explain it to her; the pictures on the touch-buttons told her enough. She wasn’t constantly comparing the game to the original, as I couldn’t help but do. I doubt it would have mattered to her anyway. She was just enjoying playing a fun game.
Even on the iOS, with touch screen controls, low frame rate animations and non-scrolling backgrounds, Mega Man X is still a fun game. I think I was just too bogged down in the little details to see it. Maybe this isn’t the game that long-time fans have been waiting for–no, actually, I’m certain it isn’t. But perhaps, for new and casual Mega Man fans, this game might be a lot better than what it gets credit for.
I’ve actually logged many hours on it myself since then, collecting all the achievements and exploring the original content. There are 60 Game Center achievements, another 20 challenges just for the Intro stage, and 3 brand new Ranking Modes to be competitive online with. If you’re experienced, you’ll probably clear well over half of the achievements in a single playthrough; however, others will really take patience, time and strategy. I feel the Ranking Modes are really where the game gets inspired. Score Attack, Time Attack, and Endless mode really got me looking at the game in whole new ways. And they are all included for the price of purchase.
I was hoping to write up a more detailed review sometime, but since the $0.99 sale ends today, I just want to say this:
If you have an iPhone or iPad and a dollar to spare, I say this game is worth trying out. Give it a shot. Decide for yourself. Support the franchise while you’re at it. And if you can, share it with someone newer to Mega Man than you. Maybe you’ll get to see it with a new set of eyes, like I did.
Oh, and as an added challenge, here are my best Ranking Mode scores for you to test yourselves against. Can you do better? Tell me in the comments!
Launch Octopus: 7326
Chill Penguin: 7478
Armored Armadillo: 7806
Flame Mammoth: 7563
Storm Eagle: 7349
Boomer Kuwanger: 7356
Spark Mandrill: 7363
Sting Chameleon: 7324
Total Score: 59565
Launch Octopus: 01’03″21
Chill Penguin: 01’12″55
Armored Armadillo: 01’28″51
Flame Mammoth: 00’58″58
Storm Eagle: 01’01″49
Boomer Kuwanger: 01’37″28
Spark Mandrill: 01’19″24
Sting Chameleon: 01’01″55
Total Time: 09’44″41
Killed by Sting Chameleon on the 3rd go ’round… blasted falling spikes!
Oh yeah, and Happy Halloween!