Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition (MSF) is a Puzzle-Platformer for the Wii U. It is a port of the Nintendo 3DS title, Mighty Switch Force! with improved HD graphics and gamepad functionality. WayForward Technologies developed and published the game for the Wii U eShop. MSF is the third in the Mighty series of games, a sequel to Mighty Milky Way (DSiWare) and Mighty Milk Champs! (DSiWare and PS Minis). Despite being part of a series, the games have no story connection. WayForward Technologies is a prolific developer working in the industry since the 1990s and has developed a slew of games, mainly working on licensed adaptations. Their most notable games are the Shantae series, Silent Hill: Book of Memories (PS Vita), Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage? (DS/3DS), and BloodRayne: Betrayal (PSN/Xbox Live). Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition released on Nov 18 2012 on the Wii U eShop for $9.99.
The gameplay is where MSF really shines. As a Puzzle-Platformer, the gameplay needs to be fun, exciting and challenging. MSF’s gameplay manages to do all that exceedingly well. The mechanics are simple. Patricia runs through a level where she can shoot enemies and jump on various platforms while rounding up escaped convicts throughout the level. Once she has collected them all then she can exit the level by hopping in her Cop-Robot partner.
The intriguing part of MSF’s gameplay comes in the “Switch” mechanic. In the levels, various blocks and devices are phased out in the background while other areas are phased in the foreground; Patricia has the ability to “Switch” the blocks that are phased in and out. This “Switch” ability allows her to progress through the levels. At first, the things that need to be “Switched” in and out are simple blocks that Patricia has to jump onto while “Switching” in the air. In later levels, blocks that shoot Patricia high into the area in various directions are introduced and she has to use them effectively. For example, she has to shoot a bomb over several of these shooting blocks to destroy a huge brick wall. By “Switching” the bomb from a shoot block that aims up quickly to a shoot block that goes left and finally to a shoot block that aims down, she is able to destroy the hindrance. The platforming and “Switch” mechanic in MSF requires a combination of excellent reflexes, time and puzzle solving in order for the player to reach the level’s exit.
Mighty Switch Force features some really inventive and challenging puzzle/platforming sections that test the player’s intelligence and abilities. Some requiring quick thinking and time in order to pass a “Switch” area that requires the player to jump in the area, “Switch” out blocks and then “Switch” them back so they avoid hitting spikes. Luckily, the game features smart placement of checkpoints, decent amount of health points laid out in the levels and health drops from enemies, and the ability to retry a level during the game. The gameplay is minimalistic in plenty of ways, but its smart use of the “Switch” mechanic makes the experience quite deep and it is rewarding to figure out a particular tough puzzle/platform section in the game.
Graphics and Sound
Might Switch Force features beautiful artwork and gorgeously drawn graphics and sprites. The animations in the game are rendered well and work well with the fast pace nature of the platform aspects. Patricia Wagon’s character design is wonderful giving her a cool and distinctive look while the prisoners despite all being blonde seem to each have their own personality. The graphics are charming, endearing and downright adorable. Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition features a huge upgrade from the sprite-based graphics of the 3DS version.
The soundtrack for Might Switch Force is magnificent. It features highly infectious songs that pair well with the game’s style of gameplay. It is a surprisingly robust soundtrack featuring a great selection of songs across the game’s length. What MSF’s soundtrack does so well is mix the old school chirp tune vibe with some more modern dub-stepy elements to great effect. Particular the track, “Caught Red Handed” is the best example of this mesh and is a damn fine piece of music.
Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition is a solid game that manages to do puzzle-platforming deftly and in fine form. The game feels like playing like a cross between Megaman and Portal. There are frustratingly difficult moments that when the player overcomes them lead to a huge sense of accomplishment and catharsis. The graphics are beautiful and quite charming making the game visually appealing. The soundtrack is a marvel and features some truly wonderful songs. One drawback is a complete lack of even the most basic of a story for the game, but with the other elements done so well, it is a minor complaint. Essentially, Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition is certainly worth buying for any Wii U owner looking for something fun, fast paced and addicting to play.