Mighty Switch Force: review

Mighty Switch Force is a videogame.

Okay, that might be an incomplete picture of this WayForward concoction, but it sure gets the right idea across. It feels impervious to modern fads in its unquenchable quest for an era whose sun has all but set. When the last gap has been jumped and the final level completed, Mighty Switch Force will ascend to the halls of its ancestors, content to raise a pixelated mug of mead in the company of such immortals as Mega Man X and Drill Dozer.

For the present, however, it’s your job to track down the Hooligan Sisters and throw them back behind bars. Scattered high and low throughout the levels, you can’t fly off in your giant patrol robot until each one has been apprehended. As a cybernetic cop, you have the inexplicable power to shift blocks between the foreground and background, swapping ghostly platforms with solid ones and vice versa. Simple platforming tasks become gauntlets of quick wits that start small and ramp up to harrowing mid-air judgement calls. Smashing your little police officer into the screen with an ill-timed block is a very real possibility, the effect of which is both cute and terrifying.

See that little green guy? He wandered in front of a background block and then-- SWITCH!

Puzzles are sprinkled in like tasteful portions of salt, spicing up an already tasty dish to bring out the flavour rather than overpower it. Whether you’re guiding bombs with legs into combustible blocks or navigating complex launching pads a la Donkey Kong Country barrel cannons, thinking on your feet is non-negotiable. You’ve also got a laser gun at your disposal, which is handy for blowing up bad guys to solve puzzles and blowing up bad guys because they’re bad. Never frustrating but always pushing you to think in a different way, Mighty Switch Force sets a smooth pace that wages war on the boring.

A great battle in this war is won in the field of presentation. Planet Land (their name, not ours) is a futuristic world populated with scrolling backgrounds and jauntily animated pixels reminiscent of the GBA days. The 3D slider should remain cranked up not only for the snazzy multi-layered stages, but for a genuinely helpful view of the switching blocks. The happy meter is maxed out with an inconceivably delightful soundtrack that blasts full speed ahead into Radical Town (our name, not theirs) and never, ever gets old.

Do you want to end up like the aforementioned little green guy? Then don't switch right now.

But even if the music can play on to the ends of time, the actual game comes to a close all too soon. The sixteen short levels will fly by in a couple of hours, and matching the par time limits is a challenge made easy with an end-game unlockable. £6 isn’t tough to swallow in exchange for the jam-packed fun you’ll get out of it, but we set our 3DS down with a mournful wish for just a few more levels.

Mighty Switch Force is a videogame that does nothing more than be a videogame, and that’s pretty cool. That doesn’t mean it leans on a nostalgia crutch or works exclusively with retro graphics, but rather that it has a heart-warming familiarity backed up with top-notch gameplay. So raise your mug high and know that somewhere far off in the realm of the Old Games, Wario Land 4 is looking down and smiling.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Written by Stephen K

A lover of video games in general, Stephen will happily play just about any sort of game on just about any sort of system, especially if it's a platformer or an RPG. Except sports games. Sports games are boring.

Leave a Reply