Although this goose certainly isn’t regular, it’s not up to the level of mighty either. This goose is a bit more on the mediocre side.
Type: Single-Player, Local Coop
Genres: Platformer, Shooter, Run n Gun
Developer: Blastmode, MP2 Games
Release Date: 5 June, 2021
I was looking at the trailer and images for Mighty Goose (MG), and was rather intrigued by the run and gun gameplay it showed. The gameplay looked so intense, with enemies getting mowed down, but it’s hard to take a chubby goose strolling forward with a shotgun wholly serious. Either way, it reminded me quite a lot of Metal Slug, a series I haven’t touched for a few years, so I was interested in giving this game a shot.
Comparing MG to Metal Slug is pretty apt, as it has many similarities. If you get close to enemies you’ll switch to melee attacks, there’s weapon-heavy vehicles to pilot for as long as you’re able to keep them alive, and you’ll occasionally get weapon drops that’ll make your infinite ammo pistol green with envy. Flying the jet and jumping around in the mecha was enjoyable, and I love how destructive the shotgun is. The homing missiles can take a while to lock on and hit their target, so I didn’t like them much. A key difference is the Mighty Meter, which builds up from damaging enemies. When full, you can activate it to enter a berserker state where you are invulnerable and your weapons are even more devastating. This is great against bosses, although not every stage ends with a boss fight, which can be a bit startling since it feels a bit empty or sudden without overcoming that barrier.
Although a run and gun game, the majority of MG lacks platforming, as you’ll use your movement to dodge attacks, instead of jumping across pits. You start the game off by going on a rescue mission, breaking into a prison in order to free a piggy pal of yours. Although most stages have an objective like this, it doesn’t actually change the gameplay, as saving them happens intermittently as you clear the stage. An ally you break out of confinement will tag along and provide some assistance, but it usually doesn’t amount to much. There is a 2 player option available, and although I can’t try it for myself at this time, a human controlled ally would assuredly do far more for you.
MG can be played either with the keyboard or controller, and I found it works quite well with a controller. Movement is controlled with the ‘L joystick,’ which can also aim your shots in 4 cardinal directions. Your other movement options comes from ‘A’ to jump, while ‘B’ activates a very useful dodge roll. Attacking comes from ‘X’ to fire your primary weapon, which switches to melee if you’re up close, and ‘Y’ fires a secondary, which has a cap of 3-5 uses. The only useful time to use your melee strikes is to punch away the shields, as they stand up to bullets amazingly well. When I stayed too close to enemies and kept punching them, I’d invariably just get hurt. A simple thing I dislike about the controls is how heavily you’ll need to mash the fire button, as opposed to being able to hold it down for constant fire. You can activate auto-fire from the menu, but it’s far slower than mashing the button yourself.
I’m uncertain whether MG is supposed to have a story or not. There’s no opening cutscene or background information given after all, and randomly jetting about the galaxy would make sense for a bounty hunter and a game that could be absent of a plot. However, with a consistent threat you keep fighting against, and the way you topple a tyrant relieved by his defeat, it’s as if the developers wanted to include a story arc, but didn’t get around to it. After beating the game 100%, I really expected the other shoe to drop and some explanation as to what was going on behind the scenes, but it never happened.
I find myself really enjoying pixel graphics when the individual bits are so small that it gives an illusion of smooth edges. This makes everything in the game look crisp and clean. Every so often, there’ll be a very short cutscene, typically involving the goose transitioning from one area to the next. The artstyle doesn’t look quite as good compared to the gameplay footage, but it doesn’t look too out of place. Backgrounds also benefit from having some detail and give a good illusion of depth.
As of my review, I haven’t been able to find a soundtrack for MG, so I tried listening for the music as I was playing. The most prominent song I was able to tune into while playing had an upbeat, jazzy sound to it. I quite enjoyed listening to it, but I’m not sure that it fits the setting or theme very well. One thing I noticed is that there was a quiet moment in the game, with light ambient sound coming in, which suited the atmosphere of the mission well. Shortly after taking note of this though, it switched to the jazz song I recognized, and I thought it’d spoiled the mood a little bit. If you stick with the default honking ability, the honks do the game justice.
- As you unlock power-ups, you have a set amount of points available so you can pick the ones most useful to your playstyle. The options are limited at first, but it doesn’t take long to have several options available. Similarly, the money you pick up in stages can be spent on weapons or vehicles if you’re in a bind.
- Even though the checkpoint system could be annoying, you have infinite lives, so you can retry as much as you need to. Plus, even when dying a few times in the same stage, I was typically making progress and dying to areas further on, instead of getting stuck in one place for a long time.
- The game does get a bit heavy-handed dropping several peons in your way instead of mixing things up with new foes or stronger ones. However, blowing them away is also pretty fun.
- MG is rather short. Even with my repeated failures and what I thought were stupid places for checkpoints, I beat the game in less than 3 hours. There’s still the new game content to play through, but it’s just a harder version of the main game, which I finished in about 2 hours. I don’t know why it’s called the Mirror Universe though, as the stages aren’t mirrored. You do get a nice reward for beating it all, but it only encourages you to play all of the stages all over again. It’s redundancy on top of itself.
- There were some gameplay mechanics that weren’t explained and I don’t know what they do, if anything. For instance, I noticed that after I had no mighty meter, the goose honked randomly, and it refilled a lot of the meter. I wasn’t sure what triggered the honk though. Additionally, the game goes into slow motion at times, and I have no idea why. It’s often not helpful and only slows the action down.
- Enemy projectiles aren’t always distinct and easy to see, especially with all of the effects killing foes can create. It’s fun spectacle, but not so nice when you get clobbered by a stray projectile you lost track of.
- These are minor gripes that might be fixed quite soon, but the level select screen is sluggish to navigate. Also, for whatever reason, my companion kept getting deselected once I got into the stage.
- Something that helps a lot with this game is understanding what it seems to be intending. For instance, unlike Metal Slug, you get 4 hit points instead of dying in 1 hit. The trade off is that you don’t respawn at the place you died, as stages have checkpoints. Since the game doesn’t intend for you to make it through without ever getting hit, it’ll drop occasional health refills, with some bosses being quite generous with them. Survival is the name of the game, and learning to play smart is important.
- If you only have 1 HP left but have a full mighty meter, you might as well activate it when you come upon the next bunch of enemies, because you’ll have no meter left if you die anyways.
- You’ll want to heavily use dodge rolls and learn the timing for when enemies attack, as these make up the main factors in avoiding damage.
There’s quite a few areas where MG is a bit off the mark, and it can add up in ways that are frustrating and a bit disappointing. Moving far back in a stage after dying, instead of what would seemingly have been a more reasonable checkpoint, certainly sours the mood. In part due to the hard moments, I didn’t figure I’d beat the game so quickly, let alone what it considers a New Game+. The steep difficulty curve right from the beginning had me concerned, but if you’re able to adapt to what the game expects of you, it’s certainly beatable.
After I got more accustomed to MG, I found myself enjoying it, but even at those times when I was enjoying the ride, getting hit by projectiles I didn’t even notice could quickly rile me up. Although the reward for beating New Game+ is fun, its usefulness is basically just to S rank all the stages for an achievement, which you’ve already played through doubly to earn it. Since even the reward doesn’t add something new to MG, and the road to it can be frustrating albeit brief, I’d recommend other options over this game.