Published on May 31st, 2012 | by Duke0917
Review: Mighty Switch Force!
Developer: WayForward Technologies
Publisher: WayForward Technologies
System(s): 3DS eShop
Release Date: December 22, 2011
WayForward Technologies has been around for a while now. In recent years they’ve been giving a lot of their attention to the eShop and DSi Shop, releasing games like Mighty Milky Way and Mighty Flip Champs!. Late last year, WayForward created another title in the “Mighty” series, Mighty Switch Force!. How does it fare compared to the other titles in the series? Pretty good if I do say so myself. There are a few nitpicks here and there, but this is a great downloadable game for the the 3DS.
The story is, well, very bland. Can also be very confusing if you think about it. You play as Patricia Wagon, a robot police officer whose job is to track down a group of escaped convicts known as the Hooligan Sisters. These girls create an army of monsters by throwing a chemical on the ground in order to get in Patricia’s way? Yes, we can only assume that the Hooligan Sisters stole that chemical at one point and just so happen to use it to their advantage. You also have two side characters to help Patricia out; Ugly Twitching Dog and Corporal Gendarmor (I’ll explain their roles later on).
Mighty Switch Force! is a puzzle platformer where you run, jump, and solve puzzles in order to find the hooligan sisters. Controls are simple; move with the Circle pad/D-pad, jump by pressing the B button, and look around by holding down the X button and moving the camera with the D-pad. There’s also a pellet shooter you can use to defeat enemies and destroy breakable walls by pressing the Y button. In every incident, the levels of the game that is, your goal is to find all five Hooligan Sisters. You have three hearts that count as your health and you lose one by taking damage from enemies, falling into a pit of spikes, getting crushed, or falling into a bottomless pit. Ugly Twitching Dog acts as a checkpoint in the levels; you’ll find him sleeping until you pass by him. If you die and have at least one heart left, you’ll be placed by him and continue on. However, if you die or take damage with only one heart left, you’ll be sent back to the level select screen. Don’t worry, you can easily recover lost health by finding a Heart Drive. Once you find all the Hooligan Sisters in a level, you have to track down Corporal Gendarmor, who acts as the end of the level. Nothing to it, right?
Completing incidents may sound simple, and will even be easy to do the first few levels, but it does get tricky and more difficult as you progress to later incidents. To solve most puzzles, you need to use your Siren Helmet, which will “SWITCH” the positions of certain blocks. This is necessary to make transparent blocks usable, and usable blocks transparent. There are different types of blocks that do different things, such as shooting you far distances and locking other blocks. There will be times when you have to just stand there; thinking about the properties of each block you see, figuring out when to activate your Siren Helmet, how to make your own path, etc. You can’t always stand there though, as there will be other times when you need to make split-second decisions while in the air, or when being bombarded by enemies. It’s moments like this when the game has that crazy action feel to it, which WayForward is well known for making. At the same time however, if you’re not patient with this game, you may find yourself getting frustrated, and not enjoying the game at all. I say this because you will die, A LOT. It’s not like you have to find the Hooligan Sisters in a particular order either, you can go about completing most levels anyway you want. Just know that some methods will make the levels harder.
Once you complete the main game there’s still more to do (Thanks to the recent update for the game), which is good considering the main weak point of Mighty Switch Force! is its short length. After the credits roll, you get a nifty weapon upgrade and 5 bonus levels. Though I do appreciate challenge in a game, these levels are just punishing. There are so many moments where you have to be precise with everything, and one little mistake will result in either death or having to start a puzzle over. There is absolutely no room for error in these levels, even when you learn them by heart. Though the weapon upgrade can make things easier, these levels are still no pushover. They are a nice reward for completing the main game, but the ridiculous difficulty spike is quite rage-inducing.
If you don’t time your “SWITCH” correctly here, the spikes will get you…
Each level has a PAR time, which you can try to beat by completing the level as fast as you can. This is when replay value comes into play, though there’s no reward for beating the times other than a blue star next to the incident on the level select screen. All of the times can be beaten more easily with the weapon upgrade, which is even required in some cases if you’re trying to beat every PAR time. Those who see no point in it will probably be disappointed, but for me there’s such a feeling of satisfaction after beating a PAR time, I even find myself trying to beat my own times later on. Definitely one of the more addicting parts of the game.
Mighty Switch Force! looks great, and keeps that crazy, energetic, cartoon art style that other titles in the “Mighty” series have. Every character and enemy is in an animated motion, from Patricia Wagon doing a flip at the beginning of a level, to the Hooligan Sisters trying to break free from their chains. The areas you run through look decent, though they are all very similar in appearance and don’t really change till near the end of the game. The 3-D effect is at a nice balance as well, but it’s not necessary to have on in order to play. Seeing Patricia getting smashed into the screen with the 3-D on will give you a good laugh or two.
The music in this game is fantastic, there really is no way else to describe it. It sounds like something you’d here at a rave party or some night club, and it just works fantastically with the game. Listen for yourself:
Jake Kaufman, the man that produced the soundtrack for this game, has also done work for the other titles in the “Mighty” series, as well as other games like Shantae: Risky’s Revenge. If you’re interested in hearing more tunes, or want to download the entire soundtrack, you can do so on Jake Kaufman’s website, and even name your own price via PayPal. Technically, it’s possible to get it for free, but it wouldn’t hurt to spend a buck or two if you really like the music.
The story for Mighty Switch Force! is just there, there’s an incredibly huge difficulty spike, and it’s very short to play through. However, with a fun mechanic that gives you control over blocks, great visual effects, and an amazing soundtrack, this is a fun game that shouldn’t be over looked by fans of the series. I honestly can recommend this game only to those who don’t mind a challenge and enjoy puzzle games, but even if you’re just a little bit interested in this game, definitely give it a shot.
+ Fantastic soundtrack
+ Characters are animated with personality
+ Manipulating puzzles is fun
+ PAR times encourage speed runs
– Huge difficulty spike after the credits
– Short length
Final score: 4 out of 5