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Mighty Switch Force Review

With a library teeming with smartphone ports and simplistic original diversions, the 3DS’s eShop has been a bit underwhelming. If not for the Ambassador Program games and a sporadic Gameboy title, players could be forgiven for not investigating its meager archives. Yet, with the forthcoming unveilings of VVVVVV, Dillon’s Rolling Western, as well as the release of Mighty Switch Force, Nintendo’s downloadable service is starting to gather momentum.

Propelled by the enchanting sprite-based artistry and clever stage design which have become hallmarks of WayForward Technology’s output, Mighty Switch Force is a prototypical model for future eShop titles. Succinct, stylish, and satisfying, the title merges elements from the developer’s past successes into a pleasing puzzler which recalls the blissful charm of the 16-bit era, albeit highlighted by a dazzling three-dimensional sheen.

Each of the game’s sixteen stages compel the cyber-suit clad Officer Patricia Wagon to round up a quintet of scattered criminals. Although the leggy law enforcer has a pellet gun to blast impeding enemies and obstructions, her most useful tool is a siren mounted on top of her helmet. Pressing either the “A” button or the portable’s triggers initiates a phase shift, which transposes the position of certain blocks. Yet, platforms alternating from background and foreground positions are just the beginning of Mighty Switch Force’s puzzle-set. Other blocks function like the barrels in Donkey Kong Country, sending Ms. Wagon or foes flying through the air. Of course, shifting does carry a sense of menace- any creature caught against an anterior block will be smashed into oblivion- resulting in a stylish shattered glass effect on the top 3DS screen.

Gratification stems from the title’s increasingly complex set of conundrums. Early levels require players to carefully maintain a rhythm between consecutive midjump swaps, with later stages requiring precise timing as Patricia is propelled between multiple launch blocks. Fortunately, the bottom screen of the 3DS functions as a radar, indicating the location of the nearest convict, saving players from haphazardly scouring each recess of the often labyrinthine levels.  Yet, even with the locator, gamers aren’t going to beat the title’s prohibitive par times during their first (or likely even their tenth) run.

Once the game’s puzzles are been scrutinized and solved, Mighty Switch Force reveals its other identity- a concourse for speed runs. For the obsessive, each of the game’s stages conceal countless opportunities for shaving milliseconds off a player’s completion time. Whereas the game’s environments could be traversed safely when employed a restrained pace- reckless speed is also possible, accompanied by an elevated sense of risk, of course. The downside is that gamers not preoccupied with precision will wonder why the title’s run and gun mechanics seem so subordinate.

Likely both groups will appreciate Might Switch Force’s delivery. From the protagonist’s forward-flip stage entry, comical convict animations, and adorable end-of-level drawing, the title upholds WayForward’s status as guardians of sprite-based grandeur. When supplemented by the higher screen resolution and three-dimensional abilities of the 3DS, the game’s translucent effects and parallax backgrounds are irrefutably dazzling; hopefully the developer will confer a cartridge-based title. However, Jake Kaufman’s soaring chiptune soundtrack may be the game’s greatest virtue, delivering a driving set of upbeat tunes, which ranks among the best music to emanate from the portable’s speakers.

Mighty Switch Force is a no-brainer for platforming speed runners, who will relish the game’s spotless controls and inspired stage design. Although others may find the convict-capturing trek a bit too transitory, the title’s $5.99/€6/£5.40 price and joyful aesthetics helps offset any burden of brevity.

A copy of Mighty Switch Force for the 3DS was provided by the publisher for review.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

29 comments

  1. I haven’t downloaded anything but the Ambassador games to my 3DS. Sorry but I don’t want to play old ass, small screen, Black and white games on a color, 3D portable.

  2. If it’s a Wayforward game, I’ll check it out. They are the one developer that makes kick-ass old-school games like they used to.

  3. Good review.

    One question- has anyone ever had a sale on Nintendo Points? Or are they ALWAYS retail?

  4. I’ll kill for WayForward to make a cute looking, but deep as hell Metroidvania game for the 3DS.

    Tell em, Deagle!

  5. Shantae 3DS game. Who’s with me?

    One question- how’s the difficulty level- I had trouble finishing Mighty Milky Way.

  6. Why didn’t you guys review Aliens: Infestation? I mean besides a quick mention from Shipwreck on the CAGcast, this game seemed to get no love at all.

    I’m sure Desert would have liked it.

  7. Is this out yet? I remember hearing about MSF a few week ago, check the eShop, and NOTHING…

  8. Has anyone had any download problems with the game. It’s big, but it kept pausing or timing out on me.

    • Took me about 12 tries, with a lot of ‘time out’ errors. Then I tried the next day and all went well. Still, it took about 20 minutes to download.

  9. Bought it last week.

    If this had a level editor and a way to share online, then I would have paid $30 for a cart.

  10. I might have to pick this one up. $5 would have been a no-brainer.

  11. Great review, Deagle.

  12. Actually, I’ve downloaded a few 3DS eShop games. I want to see more reviews.

  13. I still need to try some of WayForward’s games. You guys are always pimping them in your reviews and on the podcast.

    • Just avoid Bloodrayne: Betrayal and maybe Centipede. All the other 2D ones kick ass.

      My favorites (in order)

      Shantae
      Batman: The Brave and the Bold
      Contra 4
      A Boy and His Blob

  14. Just say the “You may also like” notice for Flashbanging the Bears, which may have been your best show ever. Had to listen again.

  15. Grabbed this and VVVVVVV today?

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