REVIEW – Mighty Switch Force! 2 (3DS eShop)

Mighty Switch Force! 2 Logo

 

Game – Mighty Switch Force! 2
Version – 3DS eShop Download
ESRB Rating – ‘E 10+’ – Everyone 10 and up
Price – $5.99
Release Date – 6/13/2013
Publisher – WayForward Technologies
Obtained – Purchased from the 3DS eShop

 

The original Mighty Switch Force! challenged gamers with a combination of platforming and shooting elements. The sequel adds new fire-based gameplay elements to try and shake up the original formula, but can it hold a candle to its predecessor? Read on to find out!

 

Story/Plot

Planet Land has been set ablaze, and it’s up to Officer Patricia Wagon and her partner General Gendarmor to save the day! This time, she’s traded in her Pellet Gun for the Infinity Dousing Apparatus in order to put out the flames and save the newly reformed Hooligan Sisters and Ugly Secret Babies from a fiery demise.

The story in Mighty Switch Force! 2 is restricted to the digital instruction manual that comes with the game, aside from a brief in-game cutscene in which Planet Land is seen bursting into flames before the first level starts. Because the game is so mechanic-driven, the lack of a story doesn’t take away from the overall experience. In fact, it’s quite nice to be able to quickly jump from level to level without having to sit through story elements that don’t need to be there.

 

Gameplay & Controls

If you’ve played through the first Mighty Switch Force!, then you already have a very good idea of how the game controls. Your Siren Helmet can move platforms between the background and foreground, which makes for some very clever puzzles. Some of these involve defeating enemies by switching a platform from the background to foreground while an enemy is in front of it, causing them to be sent flying out of the screen. Others require precise button presses and timing to move platforms in an out of the background in order to navigate Officer Wagon across pits and spikes. This mechanic carries over from the previous game, and as a result many puzzles and challenges are recycled from the previous game.

Enemy Smash

Blocks in the background are transparent (the two on the top), while those in the foreground are solid green (the bottom two). Those on the bottom were switched by pressing “a” in order to send this poor guy careening into the 3DS screen.

                The new elements in Mighty Switch Force! 2 come from Wagon’s new “Infinity Dousing Apparatus”, a portable fire hose that is used mainly to put out fires and defeat enemies. A mix of new and old enemies can be defeated in a variety of different ways. Some of them require you to fill them up with water until they burst, and others need to be shot at with a stream of water until they plummet to the ground. There are also new kinds of challenges, including a few that involve putting out flaming platforms as you jump across them and switch blocks around with your Siren Helmet. The combination of new and old mechanics can make for some tricky situations.

The real challenge of both the original Mighty Switch Force! and the sequel come from trying to beat each level in under the given par times. These require quick thinking, precise jumps, well-timed button presses and solid knowledge of how the maps are laid out. To be able to perfect each level requires multiple playthroughs and a whole lot of skill. Some of the par times are extremely difficult to beat, but they are not required to progress to the next stage. After you have played through the game a special unlock allows them to be beaten much easier (but they remain challenging nonetheless!). Trying to beat the par times in each level reveals the beauty of Mighty Switch Force! 2’s level design: a sense of flow and finesse emerges as you constantly shoot, switch platforms, and jump between them with perfect timing, and it almost feels as if there is a rhythm to each stage. It’s a bit slower than it was in the original game due to the nature of the hose mechanic, but it’s still an incredible sensation that is unique to the series.

Water Fill

Standing in one spot as you fill an enemy with water or dissolve a mud brick slows down the gameplay a bit.

                My favourite new addition to the game is the inclusion of an “Ugly Secret Baby” in each level. These can be quite difficult to find and recover, but the fact that every time Officer Wagon walks up to one she punts them off the screen and shouts “You’re safe!” makes it oh-so-rewarding in a mildly sadistic, but still very humorous way. Finding the baby in every level will also unlock a secret reward.

Mighty Switch Force! 2 includes sixteen levels with par times and a hidden “Ugly Secret Baby” for each of them, as well as a final boss. It’s a shame that there’s only one boss in the game, and it feels like there was some missed potential in that respect. It took this reviewer about eight and a half hours to 100% the game, but newcomers to the series may take a bit longer as they familiarize themselves with the controls and mechanics. The game is pure platforming goodness, with plenty of challenges to face and overcome, but overall it feels like a slightly weaker game than its predecessor in terms of challenge and length.

Ugly Secret Baby

Hurry! What would the world do without ugly babies?

Visuals & Sound

Mighty Switch Force! 2 doesn’t look very different from its predecessor, but that’s not a bad thing in the slightest. The sprites are all gorgeous, and the animations are fluid and interesting to look at. Little touches like the way the Hooligan sisters react when you spray them and the flickers of fire throughout each level truly bring the game to life. The guys over at WayForward are known for their love of the female physique, and that still holds true in this game, where character models are just as curvy, bouncy and jiggly as ever. Enemy designs are interesting and fun, even though many of them are brought over from the original game. The 3D functionality assists in determining whether a platform is in the foreground or the background, and smashing enemies into the screen makes for a very cool visual effect.

Platforming Screen

Looking at screenshots on a computer just can’t compare to how beautiful they look on the 3DS screen.

                The soundtrack in Mighty Switch Force! 2 is excellent, to say the least. It includes remixed songs from the original, as well as new compositions. Siren-like sounds help to immerse the player in the flaming Planet Land, and the songs are all incredibly catchy and full of energy. You can listen to and purchase the soundtrack here, and I would highly recommend doing so (it’s name-your-price, so you can get it for free if you want, though it is definitely worth supporting financially).

Album Cover

Seriously, this soundtrack is amazing

Conclusion

                Mighty Switch Force! veterans won’t find that a whole lot has changed in the sequel, but there’s enough new content to challenge and entertain new and returning players alike. It lacks some of the length and difficulty of its’ predecessor, but the difference is still largely inconsequential. Between the gameplay and aesthetics, Mighty Switch Force! 2 is definitely worth the low price of $5.99.

 

Final Score:  8.0 out of 10

 

+ Challenging levels

+ Gorgeous visuals

+ Catchy soundtrack

+ Top-notch gameplay

+ Plenty of replayability between par times and “Ugly Secret Babies”

- Many concepts, enemies and mechanics carried over from the original

– Slightly less lengthy and challenging than than Mighty Switch Force!

 

Mighty Switch Force! 2 Trailer:

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Alexandre Trottier has a soft spot for sprite-based 2D platformers. That soft spot is mostly the result of beating his head repeatedly over hard surfaces thanks to challenging games like Mighty Switch Force, Super Mario Bros, VVVVVV and Super Meat Boy. If you know of any other 2D platformers he should play to fulfill his masochistic gaming tendencies, send him a tweet @NF_Alexandre. He’d also be very pleased if you checked out the NintendoFuse forums, used the “share” buttons below, and left a comment or two!

 

About the author:

When Alex was young, he used to cry whenever his parents tried to hand him a game controller. Having complete control over the life of a red-clad Italian plumber was just too daunting to him. Nowadays, he only cries when the controller’s taken away.

Hailing from the frigid tundras of Canada, Alex plays video games not only to entertain himself, but also as a source of warmth to get him through the winter. He loves all genres of video games, the more difficult the better. Some of his current favourites include VVVVVV, Pikmin 3 and Rayman Legends.

Alex – who has written posts on NintendoFuse.