One of the most stylish platformers ever is back!
The developers Way Forward are really building a name as the people for quality 2D platformers. Whether it be the DSi remake of Shantae, or the soon to be released remake of Duck Tales, it seems that when it comes to platforming Way Forward know their stuff. One of their greatest triumphs is the original Mighty Switch Force for the 3DS (and now Wiiu), a superb title involving you controlling a cute, ‘girl cop’ (the art style whilst beautiful doesn’t do anything to alter the perception that games are made for guys by guys), as she races through environments finding other cute naughty girls who have escaped from prison. The title made use of the 3D dynamic by having blocks which can be shifted to the front or rear of the ‘screen’ with a click of a button. This then resulted in a whole bunch of environment based puzzles and mechanics.
Mighty Switch Force 2 takes the concept but changes it by introducing water and pipes! In the original we could hit baddies who were in the way of us and our mission with a small laser type gun. This has now been replaced with a water pistol, as the game has changed it’s mission! This time around we play a cute girl-firefighter! You have to run around saving other cute girls, and once again the environment will be working against you to make your life as difficult as possible. As you race around each level you’ll need to put out small fires, switch those blocks in the right order to access otherwise prohibited areas, and wash away other blocks with your water cannon.
You’ll also find pipes littered around later levels which allow you to affect parts of the level you otherwise could not reach. Hence you might fire your cannon through a pipe so you can wash away blocks elsewhere to allow a creature, (yes the baddies are strange random cartoon ‘creatures) to fall into a space where you can squash it with a block, allowing a door to open! Phew!
The game comes with 16 levels which isn’t a huge number, but is the same as the original. However, it is a cheap digital release and you’ll spend longer on some levels than planned as you’ll find yourself stumped by some. The game then encourages you to replay the levels on a speed run basis, with the game pre-shipping with suggested average ‘par’ times. I’ll be honest, I can’t get anyway near those times, so they are either unbelievably tough or impossible. However in case you all say that many of you reading this have no issue I’m just going to assume I’m rubbish. Completing the levels though is achievable and when you have unlocked a level’s secrets you will feel a real sense of achievement. A typical three star scale (as implemented in Angry birds, or even the recent Luigi Mansion 3DS title) might be a little more appealing. Yet, at it’s heart this is a hardcore, arcade style platform title, so the harsh reality of the time is all the game really requires. It’s a shame that these times can’t be shared online though.
Mighty Switch Force 2, like it’s predecessor, looks amazing. Play it on the 3DS XL, even with the 3D turned on just a little, and it sparkles. The art style is bold, with sprites being chunky, and well animated. The depth of field with the 3D effect turned on is lovely, and really helps with the block shifting mechanism. The music is superb. It’s typical arcade style, ‘tracker’ compositions, but it is rich and full, completely capturing the art style and speed of the game.
At first glance some might feel this is more of the same, but that is a superficial look at the title. The switch in gameplay really does shake up the puzzles, whilst if some levels seem a little familiar that is fine too, as the original too only had 16 levels, and this is a cheap way of expanding your Mighty Switch Force level library without having to spend £40 up front.
Overall this is a good sequel. The game plays great, looks great and sounds superb. It’s right to warn you that when it comes to stats and achievement type motivations it is lacking, but it’s clear that this is not WayForward’s priority. Instead they want you to play to initially solve the level and then, like a Rubix cube, solve it in the best time possible. If you missed the original title, then you must get it, and if you have the first Mighty Switch Force, then you owe it to yourself to get this sequel too!
Update: This game is coming to the WiiU too, as with the first Mighty Swtich Force. Expect HD visuals and second screen only gameplay, but you’ll loose that nice (and rather useful) 3D effect