5 indie action games that are a million times better than Mighty No. 9

By now, everyone knows how bad Mighty No. 9 is. Whether you've actually played the game or not, you know. And though it's human nature to dwell unnecessarily on every negative thing that happens, I think it's time we moved on from this recent fiasco. Luckily, there's really no shortage of great games out there, so I've put together a list of rad indie action titles to play instead of Mighty No. 9.

Gunman Clive

When it launched, Gunman Clive drew a lot of comparisons to Mega Man. Though you wouldn't think it from looking at its hand-drawn art style, it definitely draws inspiration from the Blue Bomber's 2D outings. More than anything, this is just a really enjoyable game with a cartoonish Wild Wild West-style, filled with fun shooting and entertaining platforming.

Gunman Clive doesn't take itself seriously, which allows for some liberties, particularly in terms of its enemies. Sure, ducks are strange enough as far as baddies are concerned, but what do you think about taking on a giant robot boss? Also, at some point in the game, you ride a rocket through space, shoot down asteroids, and eventually battle weird alien creatures.

You can get through Gunman Clive in about 40 minutes. Don't let that short length fool you, though. Loaded into those 40 minutes is a fun Western adventure that you're bound to revisit more than once. This is especially true considering a cool unlock that you get after beating the game the first time.

Shovel Knight

This is a game that keeps getting mentioned now that Mighty No. 9 and its Kickstarter campaign are under such scrutiny, and with good reason. For starters, Shovel Knight proves that crowdfunding isn't broken — developers can actually make good on releasing outstanding games. In addition, sometimes the prospect of a really cool-looking retro-styled title isn't too good to be true.

With gameplay, visuals, and sound rooted in the NES era, Shovel Knight does an excellent job of taking you back to a simpler time as an authentic emulation of NES-type experiences. It also plays exceptionally well, blending bits and pieces from Zelda II and Mega Man while still feeling original.

Super Meat Boy, Limbo, and Braid may have ushered in the indie boom we're currently witnessing, but Shovel Knight is a good indicator that indie games are here to stay.

Super Time Force

If you're all about fast-paced action, Super Time Force is a hell of a choice. Rather than being a typical time-traveling affair, the game handles its time mechanic by letting your past and present selves work together. So if you're taking on a boss and get blasted to bits, you simply rewind time up to a certain point and start over. Only you're not just starting over. Instead, a “ghost” of your past self appears, so when you return to the boss that did you in, you and your character's ghost will both be blasting away.

Even with a rewind mechanic, Super Time Force isn't an easy game. It builds the challenge around its time-based gameplay, and it constantly throws you into tough situations that'll test your run-and-gun mettle. And just like so many old-school action games before it, you're not only battling enemies and bosses — you're also going up against the clock. Now that's retro!

Mighty Switch Force

Sure, Mega Man may be a lovable 2D protagonist, but Patricia Wagon of Mighty Switch Force fame is even more charming. I mean, her name is Patricia Wagon!

Out of all the games listed here, Mighty Switch Force stands out from the bunch. Rather than being heavy on shooting (though there's plenty of baddie blasting in parts), this game is more about challenging you with tough puzzle-platforming. Different kinds of blocks are stacked and placed all over levels, and you have the ability to switch them on and off. The blocks are placed in such a way that you'll always switch some on and some off, so clearing large pitfalls or spike traps requires perfect timing.

Later in the game, things get especially tricky. Like, seriously, the challenge can get pretty harsh, and yet so damn good! Thankfully, you can take your time to figure out solutions. Of course, each stage has a preset par time if you really want to challenge yourself.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, Mighty Switch Force 2 is just as great as the first.

Mutant Mudds

Though the color scheme is a bit richer than you'd expect from a NES title, Mutant Mudds plays a lot like a classic game from the 8-bit era. And, in some ways, it plays even better. As Max, our geeky, glasses-wearing hero, it's your job to take down a bunch of evil, muddy alien creatures using your trusty water cannon. At first, all you can do is shoot with your gun and propel yourself upward with your jetpack. Later, however, you unlock cool new abilities that let you uncover secrets in the levels.

Aside from some tight platforming and shooting mechanics, Mutant Mudds also does a great job of incorporating fun item collection. None of the game's trinkets are ever too out of reach, so it never feels like a chore to snag all of the shiny collectibles.

Oh, and there are even hidden stages in Mutant Mudds. If you take the time to seek these out, you're in for some of the best moments in the game — some of the most insanely difficult moments, yes, but also some of the absolute best.