Parents need to know that “Mega Man 11” is a side-scrolling action game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, and is the latest installment in the long running franchise. It stars a humanoid robot who fights enemy robots using a variety of weapons, ranging from an energy-blasting arm cannon to a gun that fires pink bouncy balls. The art style is cartoonish, and there’s nothing more graphic than robots that explode in flashes of light. Parents should be aware that the “Mega Man” games are known for their difficulty, and this one is no different, though there is an “easy” skill level that offers aids such as infinite lives, which should help kids avoid frustration.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
The Blue Bomber has returned after a lengthy break in “Mega Man 11,” a classic side-scrolling running, jumping, and shooting adventure with a handful of modern innovations. The story begins with a flashback of Mega Man’s creator, Dr. Light, arguing for robot intelligence and individuality against his colleague, Dr. Wily, who believes robots should never be anything more than tools for humans. Fast forward to the present, and an elderly Dr. Light has clearly won the argument, having created several intelligent machines. Dr. Wily suddenly appears and kidnaps most of his rival’s robots, promising to transform them into unthinking super-powered weapons. Mega Man volunteers to save the day, vowing to do battle with and defeat the transformed machines and eventually Dr. Wily himself.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
The game’s cartoonish side-scrolling action will be instantly recognizable to anyone who’s ever played one of the Blue Bomber’s previous games. Movement and combat should feel familiar, too, with players forced to make skillful jumps across hazards while both avoiding and shooting at enemies. This forces players to quickly and wisely choose the most appropriate weapons in fast-changing situations. The new Double Gear system is this entry’s biggest departure from previous games in the series, but it fits in nicely, adding new strategic options not just in battle, but also when facing tricky gauntlets. As usual, though, it’s the boss battles that are most memorable, with plenty of challenge coming in the form of bad guys who transform, teleport, and unleash complexly patterned assaults that require great skill and practice to avoid.
All of this said, much of what makes “Mega Man 11” great for nostalgic players might end up turning off some kids (and older players who’ve grown used to and comfortable with modern gaming elements). It’s relatively short compared to most modern games, entirely focused on solo play, and extraordinarily difficult. “Mega Man 11” successfully achieves what it sets out to do — provide a challenging old-school side-scrolling action experience — but its audience may be limited.
RATING AND CONTENT
Recommended for ages 9 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Positive messages: 1 out of 5
Positive role models: 1 out of 5
Ease of play: 2 out of 5
Violence: 2 out of 5
Sex: 0 out of 5
Language: 0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 0 out of 5
Consumerism: 1 out of 5
Release date: October 2, 2018
ESRB rating: E10+ for Cartoon violence