Mega Man Mobile review: How to ruin a classic
When Capcom announced it was going to bring all six classic Mega Man games to iOS and Android at two bucks a pop in 2017, we thought: “hey, what's the worst that could happen (apart from touch controls being bad)?” Well, a whole lot apparently.
Seeing the screenshots for the first time, we wouldn't blame you if you thought Mega Man looked crisp on your smartphone's screen. We wouldn't even blame you if you got a tad excited to step into the boots of the Blue Bomber for some side-scrolling adventuring, even if incited by nostalgia alone. However, once you see the games in motion, you'll immediately know that this is not the Mega Man you love and remember. No, these six “classic” titles starring one of the most beloved 8-bit video game characters are not 1:1 ports of the NES games, they are not remakes or anything of the sort. Instead, they are a shameless, flat out offensive cash-grab on part of Capcom, who, at this point, just seem to be trying to bury the franchise.
We just can't wrap our heads around it. It was just six years ago when the excellent Mega Man 9 and 10 came out. What happened? How did Capcom screw up so badly? What were they even thinking?
The games are incredibly slow and choppy, the controls are horrid, there are graphical assets missing, and the audio occasionally screws up. And that's 8-bit NES games running on hardware multitudes more powerful than Nintendo's humble console. It's actually somewhat amusing how much Capcom screwed with these “ports.”
No, there is nothing wrong on your end. That's just how Mega Man runs on modern smartphones
And this is (approximately) how the games should have performed. But hey, apparently that's too much for modern smartphones!
Furthermore, apart from all the technical problems, Mega Man 1 through 6 simply feel off on mobile. It's not due to the terrible touch controls either. Each game has two speed settings – default and fast. The default setting is unbearably choppy, while the fast one is marginally better in some respects, but it's still way off from emulating how the old games ran on the NES.
Otherwise, the stages seem to have made the 30 year jump untouched in terms of level design. That's good, we guess? Unfortunately, all the courses, which were pretty challenging to begin with, have been made tenfold harder by the atrocious speed of the games and the overall unresponsive and cumbersome control scheme.
It's not that hard to get an 8-bit game up and running on a smartphone with a few gigabytes of RAM and a processor fast enough to emulate PlayStation 2 games. NES emulators ran better on Nokia Symbian phones 10 years ago, than those games perform on the iPhone 7 and the Google Pixel. I bet I could dig out my old PowerPC iMac G4 and still get those titles running better on it. You get the idea.
What happened, Capcom? Between canceling Mega Man Legends 3 in 2010 and releasing these horrible, horrible ports of classic titles 7 years later with noting in between, we can't help but wonder, why do you hate the Blue Bomber so much?
Bottom line is, save your money and forget about these games.