Nowadays, the Nintendo 3DS eShop is a-hoppin’ with an eclectic mix of… well, everything. But, unless you were living under a rock during the first few months of the 3DS’ life, we remember when it wasn’t like that. Back in the early days, the eShop was a barren wasteland with only a couple of old Game Boy games driving people to Nintendo’s online store.
But then came a surge of original content that gave 3DS owners a reason to visit the eShop. It began with Pyramids in late October and ended with Dillon’s Rolling Western in February. In between, there was Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive!, Pushmo, Swapnote, VVVVVV, Mutant Mudds, Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword, and, of course, Mighty Switch Force!. These nine products – to various degrees – gave fans an actual reason to check out the eShop.
Now, Mighty Switch Force! is the third game in the Mighty series of games from WayForward Technologies, developers behind Double Dragon Neon, Contra 4, A Boy and His Blob (Wii game), and the Shantae series. Both of the other games in the Mighty series – Mighty Flip Champs! and Mighty Milky Way – released on the Nintendo DS through DSiWare.
Mighty Switch Force! stars Patricia Wagon, a cyborg police officer, as she attempts to round up a group of escaped female convicts. You must help her by switching blocks from fore to background in order to help her traverse dangerous chasms and use the blocks to defeat foes. And other than a boss fight at the end, that’s pretty much what the game is all about. TO THE ANALYSIS!
First off, I believe that composer Jake Kaufman needs to take a bow. The man behind the music of many WayForward games keeps adding gem after gem to his catalog of video game music. The music for this game is great and keeps you entranced with the game. An absolute joy to listen to.
Visually, everything seems to work. There’s nothing that really stands out but nothing is bad about it. 3D works great for this game. The visual setting is easy on the eyes. It was well done.
But of course, it wouldn’t be a good platformer without good gameplay, and Mighty Switch Force! nails it. The controls are fairly simple with Super Mario-type controls for simple actions (D-Pad/Control Pad to move, Y to shoot, B to jump) and pressing either the R trigger or A button to switch the blocks. Easy access for anyone to just jump right in.
As for the in-game mechanics, WayForward seems to nail that as well. You always feel like you’re in control of Patricia and no death ever feels cheap. A sign of a great platformer.
Also, once you get past the original 16 levels and beat the boss, you unlock a larger blaster. This particular blaster can easily break through blocks your old blaster couldn’t and take out multiple enemies in one shot, allowing the player to speed through levels easier and making the Par Time. Just a word of warning: it has quite a kick-back so don’t stand too close to an edge when you fire it.
I’m having a difficult time trying to justify the length and replayability of this game. I know that it’s a cheap download title but, given what has come out for the eShop this past year or so, I feel like there should be more to it.
But let’s shrink the list a bit to get a good feel for the length. Instead of comparing it to all games in the price range – like RPGs Crimson Shroud and The Denpa Men, both coming in around 10+ hours at least – let’s compare to two platformers that came out around the same time: VVVVVV and Mutant Mudds.
VVVVVV can be finished in about one hour. But from the way it was designed, it has tremendous replayability. You want to go back into the game to beat your best death count while getting as many of the trinkets as possible (Best playthrough so far: 340 with 19 trinkets). And even after that, there are special levels developed to be played after the main game. It is an amazing value.
Mutant Mudds already had good length with its initial release, having 20 levels, each with their own secret level, that were all difficult to get through the first time. And with the power-ups that were given to you, you could experiment to see what the best way through a level was. And just to top it off, developer Renegade Kid adds on 20 additional levels, doubling the initial length. Thank you, Jools Watsham.
Mighty Switch Force! has 21 levels, including the added five bonus levels. Other than trying to beat the Par Times, which becomes easier with the larger blaster, there isn’t much on length or replayability. I don’t feel like going through a level I beat the time on like I do playing through the entirety of VVVVVV for the tenth time. I don’t feel like I accomplish as much as I do playing through Mutant Mudds. It just feels like something is missing from this.
Maybe it’s a testament to the game leaving you wanting more. The quality is apparent and shines through pretty well. But it just doesn’t quite leave you with the same satisfied feeling as its contemporaries. Whatever the case, let’s hope that same quality rolls over into the sequel. And hopefully, the quantity can be satisfying as well.
The review copy was provided by the publisher.