Mighty Switch Force! 2: review

The first Mighty Switch Force! was a fast-paced, high-spirited 2D platformer with some crafty 3D effects and– great news– so is the sequel. Largely unchanged at heart, it would feel more comfortable as DLC rather than a full-on follow-up if not for a fresh coat of paint that alters some of the core mechanics. Officer Patricia Wagon has switched professions, trading in her laser blaster for a back-mounted Super Soaker to fight fires rather than crime. This new lease on life keeps the overtly familiar setting from growing stale, and has a few novel tricks up its sleeve to boot.

Swapping blocks from the foreground to the background is still only a button press away, platforms arranged just as deviously as ever, and tracking down the scattered (albeit reformed) Hooligan Sisters is still the goal. The catch is that now everything’s on fire. That’s where the portable hose comes into play, allowing you to douse flames and spray down enemies– a far more satisfying tactic than zapping them with passé laser beams. Regulating pressure between “measly trickle” and “busted fire hydrant” takes a certain amount of delicacy, especially when flames lick from beneath your very feet. Some of these fiery traps really turn up the heat during touch-and-go platforming sequences, but water is just as useful for puzzle-solving, which stands out as one of the biggest new additions.

Physics are not a priority.

Miniature rounds of Pipe Mania are built into the levels, standing as impassive guardians for you to poke, prod, analyse, and solve. Blasting water through one of the openings will send it gushing through a system of pipes, often requiring a clever fury of switching before punching down an impenetrable wall or nailing an out-of-reach bad guy. Combined with blocks that lock their colour set in place, thereby messing with the cycle of background/foreground switchery, these conundrums can get pretty tricky. Although this does slow down an otherwise breakneck pace, solving a room can take mere seconds if your brain is really on the ball. If not, brief trouble/frustration/tears may ensue.

Speaking of tears, your eyes might start watering if you’re allergic to the most beat-based boss slice of euphoric music magic this side of Radical Town. The same style of upbeat enthusiasm from the first game returns, capturing a brand new dash of electronic rhythm and diving into the deep end of the dubstep pool. Recognizably jaunty pixels show up for the party, still aligned in pleasant layers of 3D but this time wreathed in the rosy glow of burning buildings. Mighty Switch Force! 2 will keep your senses warm and happy from beginning to end.

Hot enough for ya? (Admittedly we stole that one from Patricia.)

Like the original game, however, the end approaches swiftly and without mercy. Going back to achieve par on every time limit is still enthralling as ever, and an Ugly Secret Baby is stashed away in a hidden corner of each level (because why not?), but it still won’t take more than a couple of hours to beat up the final boss. Whether because of the relatively unchanged nature of the series or the emphasis on slower puzzles, the lack of content doesn’t feel restrictive, particularly since the moment-to-moment action is so good.

Is Mighty Switch! 2 the superior game overall? Probably not; instead, it simply fills the large shoes of its predecessor and does things just a little bit differently. Either one is a fine choice as your first foray into Patricia Wagon’s exciting hobbies and has a grand chance of scratching that itch so many physics-based experiments of the modern day platformer can’t reach. This is more Mighty Switch Force!, plain and simple… and that’s hard to argue with.

critical score 8

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