Mighty Switch Force! is the third game in the Mighty series of downloadable games developed by Wayforward Technologies. The first two, Mighty Flip Champs! and Mighty Milky Way, were both released on DSiWare. The Mighty titles thus far have featured cartoony art, cute female characters, 2D graphics and engaging gameplay. Mighty Switch Force! is the first eShop title in the series, as well as the first to be released on the 3DS. In the game, you control cybernetic cop Patricia Wagon (Patty Wagon?) as she pursues the Hooligan Sisters across sixteen levels of platforms and puzzles.
In addition to having a Pellet Gun to blast baddies with, Patricia has the ability to switch certain blocks back and forth between the foreground and the background. The block-switching mechanic provides the basis for the game’s puzzles which involve navigating the levels to find the five Hooligan Sisters scattered about each level. Blocks that are in the foreground can be jumped on. Shifting blocks from the background to the foreground will kill any enemies standing in front of them, as well as Patricia, so care must be taken when doing so.
Mighty Presentation - Mighty Switch Force! uses 2D graphics and backgrounds to give it a 16-bit appearance. The characters are very detailed and well animated; the game has a look similar to the Mega Man X series. Mighty Switch Force! also has a ‘cartoony’ aesthetic that suits its lighthearted tone; protagonist Patricia Wagon herself looks like a combination of Maria from the N64 classic Trouble Makers and Inspector Gadget. The 3D actually has an effect on the gameplay, as blocks switch towards and away from the player. For players that don’t care for 3D, the switchable blocks also get lighter and darker to indicate their place. I enjoyed the music in Mighty Switch Force! the synthesizer-heavy tunes sounded like something out of an 80’s anime.
Mighty Simple - The game does a good job of gradually introducing the player to the core concepts you will need to use to solve the game’s puzzles. Early on, players will be stalled at certain points and will be unable to continue until they figure out some new method to get by. There are no tutorial levels or instructions to read, just you, the game, and your brain.
Mighty Fun - Now, simple does not mean easy by any stretch of the imagination, but despite its sometimes crazy difficulty, Mighty Switch Force! never stopped being fun. Even when I was all but ready to impale my 3DS into a wall after having died for the umpteenth time trying to get past a level, I would grit my teeth and try again...and again. While the game does keep track of your time, you can take as long as you want. The only way the game ends is if Patricia takes three hits, and the game is fairly generous in handing out life restoring heart disks.
Mighty Short - I finished Mighty Switch Force’s sixteen levels in just over thee hours, and while I enjoyed it, I was sad to see it end, particularly considering that a new game mechanic was introduced in the final level that I was hoping would lead to further adventures. Completing the game unlocks a more powerful gun that allows the player to finish the levels faster, but unless you just have to clear the levels within the par time, its one-and-done.
Mighty Bare - I was a little disappointed to find no extras in Mighty Switch Force! You have a list of levels to pick from, an icon to reset the save data, and that’s it. I was hoping for at least a sound test mode so I could hear the music without the in-game sounds, but there wasn’t even that. UPDATE: The soundtrack by Jake Kaufman is available for purchase here. Its a 'name your own price' deal, and the music is awesome, so show 'em some love and toss some money their way!
Mighty Switch Force! is a short but sweet game who’s only fault is that it leaves you wanting more. I had a fun time racking my brain though its sixteen levels and am in the process of giving it a second go-round to see if anything new pops up after beating all of the par times. The game sounds and looks great, pushing lots of pretty pixels onto the screen and actually using the 3D effect for something besides window dressing. If you’re looking for a game to challenge your brain as well as your reflexes, give Mighty Switch Force! a go.
*A review code for the game was provided by the publisher.*