First Impressions: Mighty Switch Force

The Mighty series just got a lot mightier

While Shantae will probably always be the series WayForward is best known for, it's also been quite successful on Nintendo's download services, especially with its two previous Mighty releases, Mighty Flip Champs and Mighty Milky Way. Now the developer is looking to continue that success with its first 3DS eShop release Mighty Switch Force. And while the game is yet another radical departure from the previous releases in the series, it's every bit as unique and one of the most polished eShop releases to date.

The basic premise behind Mighty Switch Force revolves around helping officer Patricia Wagon round up the five Hooligan Sisters who've escaped custody and are hiding around each level. Once you've captured all five sisters, you must then make your way to the extraction robot Corporal Gendarmor, who'll whisk you away to the next level. And while merely finishing the level will allow you to unlock the next one, if you finish the level under the par time, you'll earn a nice little blue star for your efforts.

There's a host of platforming and shooting throughout each level, but it's the unique "switching" gameplay that's the most interesting twist. Pressing A will cause Patricia Wagon's Siren Helmet to flash, thus shifting the machine matrix of the level and causing various blocks to activate and others to deactivate. This can be anything from a regular block that will move in and out of the screen to special blocks that will allow Patricia and any enemies to shoot out of them in the specified direction. You'll soon find that switching these slabs, sometimes even on the fly, plays an integral part in your navigating the trickier sections of each level.

WayForward has always had a knack when it comes to creating a responsive and very playable gameplay scheme and Mighty Switch Force is no exception. The jumping and shooting mechanics work like a charm and give you all of the tools you'll need to safely manoeuvre your way around. And when you toss in the unique switching mechanic, you've got a game that challenges not only your reflexes but your problem-solving abilities as well. Of course having the par times to tackle adds in a nice layer of replay value to keep you coming back even after you've beaten the stages.

From the moment you fire up Mighty Switch Force for the first time, you know that you're going to be in for a visual treat. The vibrant colour scheme and the high level of detail really bring the world of Planet Land to life on screen. Toss in the sheer depth the 3D display brings to the table, and you've got what is easily one of the best-looking games we've seen to date on Nintendo's 3DS system. Of course, not to be outdone by the striking visuals, the up-tempo soundtrack the game features is every bit as impressive and matches the intensity of the gameplay perfectly. There's even a little voiced dialogue to spice up the audio package.

As impressive as its two previous Mighty releases are, WayForward has managed to take the series to new heights with this third title. Not only is the switching idea well implemented, but the visual and musical presentation the developer has built around it all is equally incredible. If you haven't put Mighty Switch Force on your 3DS must-have list, do it now.

We'd like to thank WayForward for sending us the preview build of Mighty Switch Force.

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