Mighty No. 9 impacted the game industry in an interesting way. The Kickstarter title, which people thought was a sure thing given Keiji Inafune was attached, ended up being a spectacular failure. Nearly a decade later another Kickstarter experience, Protodroid Delta, hopes to offer a new experience inspired by Mega Man X‘s classic gameplay. Is this an experience that was worth the investment, or does the Kickstarter curse continue?
The adventure begins with an overview of the type of world Protodroid Delta features. Surprisingly, the situation is pretty good with sustainable power and other positive elements. Among them is advancements in AI resulting in the creation of DeLTA. This event was met with a fair amount of skepticism, which continues until a surprise attack prompts change.
From here the adventure goes in a couple different directions. There is a storyline that reminds me of Mega Man’s central premise, a darker narrative building in the background, along with each stage introducing a new character/group.
Most of the narrative is told through character interactions. Each character has some kind of quirk, along with occasionally using a Spanish word or phrase. It’s an interesting choice, as is including translation notes for mamá or amigo, but not bien (good), though it results in DeLTA being the only consistently interesting character.
Since she is an artificial being comments are taken literally. This is something Protodroid Delta uses like a straight man comedy routine that other characters play off of. It works well for a sassy character like Dr. Shelton, whereas others, such as the influencer inspired Rey Alebrije, come off as more annoying.
Given this adventure is largely inspired by Mega Man X a lot of the franchise’s staples are present. DeLTA has a blaster, which can be charged for a more powerful shot, jump, dash, and sword. Defeating bosses allow DeLTA to gain a new weapon, making certain enemies easier or harder. For this reason stage order impacts difficulty.
Where Protodroid Delta reminds me of Mega Man X the most is the approach to encounters. The vast majority of platforming sections have an annoying enemy or mechanic that needs to be overcame. Thankfully, falling does not result in death. Instead, players respawn at the start and lose a small amount of HP. The vast majority of these sections also end with a healing item.
Once you get the core loop down it’s a pretty straightforward adventure. Start the section, make it roughly halfway through, and then fight an enemy or two. Wide open areas are the same thing, just with various enemies that need to quickly die. Regardless of which outcome you end up with, it tends to feel pretty tedious.
Unlockable Costumes are Always Nice
I might get blasted by an enemy because I didn’t anticipate being stuck in a specific spot, though it won’t result in my death. Most times I merely took a couple hits, or opted to ignore the problem outright. Provided I finished the section, the problem either went away, or I found a healing item that eliminated any disadvantage I might face. That being said, some of the most difficult sections contain secrets.
Finding every secret is rarely more than going down an alternate path, looking behind something, or behind an annoying puzzle. While finding them all is completely optional, I like that they unlock various costumes inspired by Mega Man X characters. It’s a fun nod that makes the task worthwhile.
Protodroid Delta Review Verdict
In a lot of ways Protodroid Delta reminds me of Mighty No. 9. I can see where Mega Man X influenced Protodroid Delta, but it takes some of the franchises worse parts without offering many improvements. Some will be put off by the floaty controls, others unintended glitches or weak art direction, in addition to the other things mentioned. For these reasons it will probably appeal to fans of Mega Man X itching for a new experience, but likely not anyone else.
[Editor’s Note: Protodroid Delta was reviewed on PlayStation 5, and a copy was provided to us for review purposes.]