REVIEW – Mighty Switch Force!

A review by Jeremy Hardin

Game – Mighty Switch Force!
Version – 3DSWare
Time Spent Playing – 3.5 hours
Price – $5.99
Obtained – Review Copy courtesy of Nintendo of America

Story

Space Hooligans have escaped custody and are wreaking havoc all over Planet Land!

HQ calls on cybernetic peace-keeper Patricia Wagon to bring these renegades to justice. With the help of Corporal Gendarmor and her trusty Pellet Gun, there’s nothing she can’t handle. When the going gets tough, Wagon activates her Helmet Siren, altering the world around her in 3D space. Even the third dimension can’t hide criminal ne’er-do-wells from the long arm of the law. Enter the mechanical shape-shifting, dimension switching world of Mighty Switch Force and blow crime away.

Gameplay and Controls

Players take control of officer Patricia Wagon as she seeks out the 5 Space Hooligan Sisters through 16 different levels, known as Incidents.  Your job as the player is to track down the 5 sisters who are hidden, sometimes in plain sight, throughout each level.  The challenge and enjoyment comes from the clever use of foreground and background puzzle elements.  Not only does officer Wagon wield a nifty pellet gun, she also has a rather unique ability via the use of her helmet siren, switching foreground and background objects.  By simply pressing either L,R, or A players activate the siren causing clearly marked objects in the background to ‘switch’ to the foreground and vice-versa.  Combining the switch ability with your pellet gun, which allows you to blast baddies and obstacles alike to smithereens, makes for some fun times.  As your progress through the levels, you’ll have to take care to time your jumps as you ‘switch’ things up.  There seems to be an ample supply of spiked floors which remove one heart and start you back at the last checkpoint.  There are also plenty of strategically placed objects which, if you are not careful when ‘switching’, will smash you against the screen in a delightful animation.  The aforementioned smashing also applies to enemies in the same way.  You can lure enemies onto the path of a background object and smash them with a ‘switch’ that is constantly satisfying.

Of course, where would the challenge be without limited life? So naturally, the folks over at WayForward have generously given you 3 hearts and a moderate amount of health pickups scattered throughout each level or dropped when an enemy has been defeated.  One would think that if this much health abounds, there is not much of a challenge. Not so I say, not so.  See, the real detriment to your 3 hearts is yourself.  I can’t tell you how many times I died because my timing was off during a jump and a ‘switch’, either resulting in me falling into spikes or getting smashed into the screen. No really, I died so many times, yet I always went back for more.  Thankfully, there are some checkpoints scattered throughout each level, represented by what looks to be an odd looking dog, I think?

I already mentioned that timing is important.  So on that note, let’s talk about Par times.  Every level has a Par time which you are encouraged to beat.  In case you wondering, no I didn’t beat any of the Par times.  Yes, I suck at setting time records.  Besides, I was too focused on just beating the level.  To add a bit more of a challenge, each time you get smashed into the screen or land on spikes you are brought back to the last checkpoint, but your time keeps on ticking.  I would like to point out that if you get hit by an enemy, the effect is different, as you just lose 1 heart per hit.  Once you lose all 3 hearts, Officer Wagon screams and her suit dissolves from her body, leaving her quite like Samus Aran.  Then, she bursts into a handful of shiny star bits that bounce around the screen, in 3D no less and you are returned to the title screen, fun!  After you capture the 5 sisters, you must make your way to Corporal Gendarmor who flies in and lands somewhere in the level.  How do you find him you ask? Okay, so maybe you didn’t ask but I’m going to tell you anyways.  On the bottom screen of your 3DS is a generic radar which shows you the general direction of not only Corporal Gendarmor, but also the sisters.  This may prove helpful when trying to beat those Par times.

Controlling Officer Wagon is easy and her movements are fluid and precise. I mentioned before that ‘switching’ is done using L,R, or A.  Players shoot with Y and jump with B, everything is quite simple.  I never had any issues with the controls.  There was one other feature of the controls, panning the camera, which I hardly ever used.  While pressing X, you can pan the camera just a bit allowing you to see ahead or behind you.  I’m sure this is useful when trying to judge distances or check for upcoming enemies.  However, I never found much use for it as I viewed it hindering my attempt at a low time/score.

Visuals and Sound

Anyone who is familiar with WayForward knows that the team puts great effort into the visuals and style and Mighty Switch Force! is no exception.  From the character designs and level layouts to the smallest details, such as the little star bits that bounce around after you die or defeat an enemy, or the goofy looking face the enemies make as they smack into the screen complete with cracks in the glass, the visuals are sure to please.  The 3D effect was done quite nicely and looks great the whole way through.  You will notice it the most with the subtle things, such as the lightposts in the foreground or when the enemies fly into the screen and it looks great.  The music is just as enjoyable and catchy to boot! There were many times I found myself tapping my foot along to the beat of the techno themed music and I always enjoyed listening to the voice of Officer Wagon as she shouted out, “Justice served!”

Concluding Overall Impressions

Mighty Switch Force! is, at just 16 levels a short but sweet game.  I mean really, the graphics are crisp and fun to look at it and the 3D effect is subtle but well done.  Both the music and sound bites are catchy and the gameplay is challenging and fun.  The replay value exists in those Par times you want to beat, which is helped of course by a certain unlockable after your first play through.  Wait, what? Just play the game to find out more!

Final Score: 5 out of 5

OFFICIAL PAGE – Mighty Switch Force

About the author:

Jeremy’s love of gaming, especially Nintendo started in the late 80′s when his parents bought him and his older brother an NES. Many hours were spent playing Mario and Duck Hunt. Eventually Jeremy graduated to bigger and better games and systems, like the SNES, GC, Wii, 3DS, and finally to the Wii U. Ask him what the defining moment of his childhood gaming was and he’ll answer, “the day I beat Zelda 2.” To this day that game holds a special place in his heart. His favorite types of games are platformers.

Jeremy started blogging for NintendoFuse in October 2010. He started off as a lurker on the forums who won a free copy of And Yet It Moves on WiiWare. From there he realized he liked the forums and the site and wanted to remain a part of it. He was brought on board shortly thereafter and has helped post news and reviews for the past couple of years. Currently Jeremy has taken a step back to focus on family and school. He assists in minor back-end site maintenance from time to time.

Jeremy – who has written posts on NintendoFuse.