Mighty Switch Force Review

After procrastinating my purchase of it due to my as of now less hefty backlog, I decided to indulge myself once again and picked up WayForward’s latest title, Mighty Switch Force.  Let’s cut to the chase and get into the actual review, since there’s not a lot of history behind this title.

Mighty Switch Force Review
Release Date: 22/12/2011
Platform: 3DSWare
Price I Paid: $5.99

The set up for the title is that a bunch of female criminals escaped from a transport van, and robot police officer Patricia Wagon must go after them in what I think to be 21 different scenarios.  It is really no more complicated than, cute blondes are loose and a separate cute blonde android that has a power suit must put them back in jail.  There is also a deformed dog who serves as a checkpoint, and a robot that Patricia must get inside via chest compartment, but this game is trying to be as old school with its plot as possible.  Which is not a bad thing, video games are a very unique medium, if the story in a film is bad, the best it can be is interesting visuals.  However, even if a game has no story, it can still be immersive and make you enjoy going through a chunk of the world.

But leaping to the gameplay center, Mighty Switch Force is what I classify as a speedrun title, where the long term goal is to go through the stages in the least amount of time as possible.  But the first problem that I have with games like these is the fact that they only use one time, and call it par.  While par is actually a term that implies that a first class player can do this, the general consensus is that it means average.  So if you cannot get above the par for every level, I thought the game was almost insulting me, when that is only appropriate for one stage that I thought was poorly designed.  But past this, it is a pretty simple 2D platformer/action title that was given a bunch of timing puzzles, and the ability to switch in and out two sets of blocks that can be used to crush enemies or provide platforms.  It is solid, but thankfully the level design is pretty good for most stages, while the other, more nonlinear stages, most of which require exceptional timing, are a pain to play through.

I was actually enjoying the game quite a bit until one massively annoying nonlinear stage popped up. It was filled with blocks that propelled Patricia through the air in one of the four main directions, and you need to switch them into this dimension while you are over their transparent shadow.  That alone is tough to get used to, especially when the game throws in enemies who you need to project at very high speeds, but it was possible after trying a bunch, because I probably played through the intro of every stage past the first three, about ten times.  

But, I did not get past one stage, the 16th, where the switching power that you controlled via the shoulder buttons, was now controlled by the game.  I had to jump through the air and have Patrica in one of those propelling blocks, and have it materialize while Patricia is falling down.  Oh, I’m so sorry, but I don’t very much enjoy having to time something to the tenth of a second, especially when you have it over a pit.  The placed many above Patricia for her to jump into, which works because I have full control of the jumps, but needing to fall at the exact time?  You have officially reached ROM hack level, and lost sight of port fun, the best thing I could say was that it was a unique mechanic at the very least.

No, I did not beat this game, but I’m not one to let length affect my score when it has replay value up the bum.  The visuals are up to WayForward’s usual levels, although the sprites seem to have smaller pixels, and have had to be adjusted to work better in 3D, which felt unnecessary.  And the soundtrack is a bunch of cool sounding chiptunes that I guess fit the levels, but during some instances, I pretty much blanked it out to focus on the timing of my every laser blast so that I could get through a certain stage within a good time limit.

In the end, I do have to say that Mighty Switch Force is a good game, but the difficulty gets annoying near the end, and some of the timing can be very annoying unless you want to replay the stages over, and over until you just have it nailed down.  Music and visuals are very nice, which I’ve come to expect from WayForward, and the main mechanic is used well.  And with a ton of replay value in the well designed stages, the poorer designs shine all the dimmer.  Maybe if you have twitch reflexes from a childhood where you spent 58 hours on a game that should have only taken you two if it weren’t designed to be annoying, then none of this will be a problem for you.  

It’s held back by certain flaws, it manages to be a competently executed and fun product that is worth playing.

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