MG Postmortem: Mighty Mode

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Hey all! In my previous articles I mentioned I was working on Mighty Goose 2. During the process of designing the game I’m constantly looking at the first game and analyzing it’s components. While I’m reflecting on the first game, I might as well split that process up into postmortem-esque articles! This is one of them and today’s topic is ‘mighty mode’!

Mighty Mode

Game design lesson: When you let people play your game, they will always do things you wouldn’t expect. This also works the other way around!

I’m often caught off guard by this, and confronted by the fact I do not playtest enough. For Mighty Goose the feature where this became most apparent to me was ‘Mighty Mode’.

What is Mighty Mode?

Mighty Mode is sort of like an invincibility mode that lasts for a short duration. The idea behind this is that when players are in a pinch, they can power through it by activating Mighty Mode. Whilst in Mighty Mode, all attacks are supercharged. Meaning, you can blast your way through most encounters in the game. It only lasts for a short while, so it doesn’t trivialize the game as a whole.

In terms of balance and flavor I’m pretty happy with the mechanic. It was inspired by the ‘Devil Trigger’ in DMC (and also ‘Super Saiyan’ from Dragon Ball). It lets you feel super cool, but not too long. So it stays special! It allows ‘better’ players to do speedrun-esque cool stuff and it helps weaker players to defeat harder encounters.

One of the fun details of mighty mode is that you can extend the duration of it by killing or hitting enemies. Making good use of the extra power is rewarded by just a little bit of extra time spent in this super mode.


However, looking through various playthroughs you can see some players just not even discovering this power until very late in the game. Something is going wrong here. This is such a shame, as it’s one of the coolest things in Mighty Goose!

Why are players missing this? I can think of a few reasons. Let’s analyze:

  • In the first level there is a short ‘tutorial’ popup in place which explains the mechanic.
  • It’s a wall of text though, so some people just skip that entirely!
  • The first level has several of these popups. People just want to get into the action (popup fatigue).
  • There is a lot going on in Mighty Goose. The moment Mighty Mode is introduced, some players are just really focused on staying alive and shooting.
  • More experienced players of the genre are more accustomed to the level of sensory input and just ‘get it’.
  • When the player can activate the power, the UI displays a full bar with an input icon for the shoulder buttons. This could be more explicit, can use a sound effect, etc.
  • In rare cases some players don’t have a full Mighty Meter when the tutorial popup shows up. This is a disaster🤦‍♂️
  • In summary: the game was sloppy in teaching the player.

How to do this better?

When outlined in a list like this, it becomes easy to think of ways to do better. Just using some common sense:

  • Don’t dump all mechanics on the player at once.
  • Show > Tell. Practical Example: if there is a wall jump to explain, first show another NPC doing it.
  • Give players a safe environment to learn (avoid sensory overload).
  • Funnel the player through learning your mechanic (this means they must learn/perform/master it to proceed)*

*Personal opinion: As an experienced gamer I’m always annoyed when I have to go through one of these ‘tutorial funnels’. You instantly recognize when you fall into one, because you’ll be trapped. Trapped until you learn the thing. Often I think these are too long. The worst is when there is some nagging sidekick talking you through it. Designers want to make sure players leave their little tutorial area with some level of skill mastery. This always completely pulls me out of a game universe! Okay, old man is done yelling at cloud.

To be fair, the tutorial popups were added at a late stage. Originally the game had no tutorials at all. They were required though. Without them, some players were completely lost. For a next installment I think some more elegant tutorials are required in the design from the start. At least we know what not to do!

Mighty Mode 2

Mighty mode will make its return in MG2, but it’s hard to say how we’ll introduce it. Currently I’m still in a wild brainstorming phase where I’m just throwing down ideas in an unstructured style. Slowly but steadily a game structure is beginning to take shape!

I’m playing around with the idea of not giving the player mighty mode at the start and having it be something you need to unlock. In this version concept it would also play a major part in the story of the game.

Of course, since MG2 will be a lot more melee focused, mighty mode might also influence movement and combo's? You'll have to wait and see.

If there's one thing I know is, I'll start playtesting these mechanics early and often. People need to get it.

What do you think?

I'm curious to hear what you think about Mighty Mode. Did you find it a cool mechanic? Did you think it was OP? Did it save your ass in a critical moment? Let me know (on twitter, discord, mail, patreon whatever)!

Thanks for reading, you're great! Have a nice day!