(3DS eShop)

Game Review

Mighty Switch Force! 2 Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

The sequel, the sequel, the sequel's on fire

In late 2011, WayForward released Mighty Switch Force!, one of the first eShop titles to make significant use of the 3DS's capabilities. You took control of Patricia Wagon, a cop in search of the ostensibly criminal Hooligan sisters, and the puzzles were all based in some way around the 3D effect, popping platforms into the foreground and then sliding them back out again.

It was a fun and interesting evolution of a series that never seems afraid of trying new things. From the page-turning platform puzzles of Mighty Flip Champs! to the gravity gimmicks and planet smashing of Mighty Milky Way! (which, by the by, has the single best ending of any DSiWare title) we've come to expect new and unique approaches to each of the games released under the Mighty! banner.

Mighty Switch Force! 2, then, has a challenge ahead of itself. Specifically, it needs to convince us that of all the possible titles to revisit, Mighty Switch Force! would have the most potential for a strong sequel. It doesn't entirely succeed at that task.

On the plus side, much of what we liked about the original game is present here. Patricia Wagon is again our protagonist and she's still hunting down those Hooligan sisters, only this time she's rescuing them from a blazing inferno. Why they keep stepping back into the blazing inferno in order to give poor Patty another puzzle to solve is something the game wisely never bothers to address.

You once again solve these levels by tracking down all of the sisters, defeating enemies and popping platforms in and out along the way. Once you've rescued them all you then locate the transfer point out of the level and have your time compared against a par.

There are checkpoints scattered around the level, in case you step on some nasty spikes along the way, and you'll mainly be jumping and blasting your way toward a puzzle solution. A radar on the touch screen lets you know where you need to go next, and the trick will always be figuring out how to get there. By shifting platforms out from the background and back in again, you might reveal the way forward, or you might fence yourself in. You'll always need to experiment in order to figure out how to progress, and even though the platform shifting mechanic is a simple one, there a lot of different ways that it comes into play.

If that sounds a lot like the original Mighty Switch Force!, that's because it is. The differences here are minor: Patty has a hose rather than a pistol, there are a few new block types to figure out, and a couple of new enemies are crawling around. Apart from that, despite some good intentions in terms of spicing up the formula, this game is just a bit too similar to its predecessor, and not in a good way.

So much about the game, from its presentation to the nature of its puzzles to the format of its final level, feels like a direct lift. That's fine, in a sense, because puzzle-oriented games can simply complicate their solutions a bit and justify a sequel. Here, however, certain puzzles just feel like direct recreations of ones from the previous title. Considering the relatively small amount of levels in each game, that overlap is pretty glaring.

So those similarities mean that will find you manipulating coloured "lockable" blocks. And there are puzzles that require you to launch Patty around the level in a specific way in order to access the little nooks in which the Hooligans hide. And there are puzzles that see you corralling an enemy into a situation that will kill it and unlock a door. The exact solutions might have changed, but if you've played the original game then you already know how to solve these puzzles, and it's short and unrewarding work to do it again.

There are some new flourishes that show the real potential this sequel should have had. Water redirection puzzles are a great example of this, as they take a mechanic that didn't exist the first time around and force us to master it. There are also some new blocks that either need to be burned away or extinguished before Patricia can pass, but neither of them are actually used in any interesting way, and they won't force you to reconsider any of the strategies that worked in the first game.

That's the problem with Mighty Switch Force! 2. In the first game, we had to learn how to solve these puzzles, and working that out was a fun exercise in lateral thought and forward thinking. Minor wrinkles aside not much has changed here, so there isn't much thought required to get to the solution, though this won't be an issue for new players or particularly big fans of the first game. Despite this, there really should have been more done with the water mechanics and new enemies, because this sequel often feels like a level pack that doesn't even change up the levels very much.

Some of the issues with the first game carry over as well, such as a camera that whips around when you change direction, making it difficult to keep certain enemies and obstacles on screen when you're trying to figure out what to do with them, and the small number of levels means you'll see all of the content rather quickly. The par times are nice to aim for, if you have speed-running in your blood, but apart from that there's not much to keep you coming back.

It's not a bad game by any means, but it is relatively disappointing. The cutesy approach to the character design is as fun as it ever was — and will make this game just slightly embarrassing to play in public — and the soundtrack is great. The controls are tight, but the level design feels slightly uninspired and the new mechanics alternate from feeling underused to being completely unused.

Still, the timing couldn't be better, as running around with a firehose spraying the Hooligan sisters down is a perfect summertime activity, and the addition of a hidden baby in each level makes for a certain comic moment that never gets old. It just feels like a lesser retread of the original, and in a series known for innovation, that feels a bit half-baked.


Mighty Switch Force! 2 delivers a fun experience that we have come to expect from WayForward. The light-hearted charm of the original is completely intact, with cutesy graphics and great soundtrack lending significant flair to the overall package, and fans of the puzzle style and par times pursuits will get good value. The problem, arguably, is that the experience is a bit too similar to its predecessor, with some of the puzzles feeling like straight retreads aside from some notable but underused new elements. If you haven't played the original this won't be a problem, but if you have there's not much new to see here; but if you liked the first title the odds are good that you'll enjoy this again.

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User Comments (47)



BenAV said:

I love Mighty Switch Force! so I don't really care if it's pretty similar.
Can't get enough of it.



Klimbatize said:

Really good review, hashing out whether it's worth a pick up. Based on what I'm reading here, I'm still going to get it because I loved the speed running aspect of the first game. It's disappointing that they don't seem to the use the water mechanic to its full potential, but I loved the first one and I love portable platformers so I think it'll be worth the $6.



Electricmastro said:


Mighty Switch Force 1 - Police

Mighty Switch Force 2 - Fire Fighters

Mighty Switch Force 3 - Doctors?

Blue, Red, and White.



idork99 said:

Matt Bozon said: We were inspired by Capcom’s NES era sequels. There was something wonderful about DuckTales and Mega Man’s fearless sequel-izing. They kept cranking them out, and as a fan I kept gobbling them up. This is an area where I think games are different from movies, where it's OK to just “do it again”.

Simply said, if you're an old school gamer, you understand the idea. Sequels were a dime a dozen in the 80's. Movies and games! With that said, back then it was understandable to see companies crank out sequels in games because a. the limited technology + limited development times that developers were allowed, b. almost every other company embraced the "if it ain't broke..." philosophy, and c. we were all naive consumers. If you saw a Mega Man, Mario Bros. logo on the box, you immediately took your wallet out. Personally, I don't mind as I'm a fan of Mega Man 1, 2, and 3! One and Two are not too different but it was more stages for me to conquer. I purchased both then and I recently purchased them all now via the eShop.

Personally, if this sequel feels the same, great! Sign me up for more stages to master!

Side note: I don't understand how they gave this a 7 and the original a 9. If it's more of the same, wouldn't one give it an equal or just a bit off score? Just a thought.



Sjoerd said:

Maybe it's an idea to try and give two grades on a sequel of new entry in a series? One for people that have already playde one in the series, and one for people who didn't, because this game might be an 8 if you haven't played the first one. As for me, I really liked the first one so I'm definetely getting it when it reaches EU and is €5.



Philip_J_Reed said:

if you're an old school gamer, you understand the idea.

I'm an old school gamer, and I understand that idea. That being said, not all sequels are created equal, and the fact that there were loads of them doesn't imply that they were all equally worth having.

As I state in the review, the main problem isn't that the game feels similar...it's that so many of the puzzles feel like straight recreations of those from the previous game. And with such a small batch of levels in each game, the overlap is a problem.

Side note: I don't understand how they gave this a 7 and the original a 9. If it's more of the same, wouldn't one give it an equal or just a bit off score?

Two different reviewers.



DarkCoolEdge said:

Well, it's certainly discouraging to learn that the game is not what was expected but since it still is good enough and the price tag is reasonable, I'll get it at some point along the summer.



Spideron said:

Side note: I don't understand how they gave this a 7 and the original a 9. If it's more of the same, wouldn't one give it an equal or just a bit off score?

Two different reviewers.

So you're saying this probably would be a 9 with a more old-school (better) oriented reviewer?



MetalKingShield said:

Looking forward to getting this when it's out. One thing though - lockable blocks are back? Argh! Hope to see Patricia return in that game without puzzles they were hinting at (Contra-like? Or, even better, Metroid-style!)



idork99 said:

@Philip_J_Reed Point taken fellow old school gamer. Perhaps I'm expecting this sequel to be like Mega Man sequels of the past: same gameplay, more items, more difficulty. But I guess I'll have to have a play to see all the puzzle recreations you speak of and make my own assessment. Thanks for the review and for taking the time to clarify. And apologies for not noticing the different reviewers on both games.



brianvgplayer said:

Does the game have anything like the hyper levels from the Wii U version of Mighty Switch Force? What about the hidden babies mentioned in previews?



MeWario said:

If I had to get this, or the first one, which should I get? This is a series I've been meaning to play but haven't yet.



brianvgplayer said:

Nintendoworldreport's review hints that this game may have an unlockable that's a callback to the Wii U Mighty Switch Force. The review also mentions that there's an extra color added to the lock puzzles.

@MeWario I know it has the hidden babies. What I was trying to get at is that it isn't mentioned in this review. I was wondering how it affected gameplay.



Sanqet said:

Being straight retreads never hurt all the super Mario bros games so I don't know why your being so harsh with wayforward I just hope you do the same with Nintendo when they get lazy and release yet another Mario bros game that plays the same as all the others



gojiguy said:

if they stripped the puzzle mechanics and made this an action game i'd be SOLD



Justaguest said:

I dont like WayForward games at all for some reason. Shantae and Mighty Flip Champs were really boring to me so I dont think Ill be getting Switch force



Supremeist said:

I might pick this up sooner or later. I still can't finish the final level of the first Mighty Switch Force.



Klimbatize said:

Not sure why people seem so confused about the score. Reading the review, it's made pretty clear why the game nets a lower score than the original even though the game is so similar. The first one had the challenge of trying to figure out specific puzzles. If nearly identical puzzles are included in the sequel, that takes away the challenge, mystery, and "ah ha!" moments from the original. I could definitely see that costing the game a couple of rating points.

If the game had unique puzzles in each level, I'm sure it would have earned a higher score.



Philip_J_Reed said:

So you're saying this probably would be a 9 with a more old-school (better) oriented reviewer?

I'm saying Corbie played the first game and wrote a review that explained how he felt about it, and I played the second game and wrote a review that explained how I felt about it.



BulbasaurusRex said:

@Philip_J_Reed I can understand if you simply didn't enjoy this game as much as Corbie did the first one, and the similarities certainly need to be stated in the review, but I hope you didn't take off points because of those similarities. Stale sequel or not, equal games deserve equal consideration regardless of which one came first. If I'm looking to get just one game in a series, I'd like to see objective opinions on which one is best.



Philip_J_Reed said:

If I'm looking to get just one game in a series, I'd like to see objective opinions on which one is best.

There's no such thing as an objective opinion, silly. I can only provide mine, which is subjective, and in return you can only provide yours, which is equally subjective. Likewise, no one piece of media can be "objectively" better than another...it all comes down to preference, which is why the review above the score is always the most important thing. It's an explanation of how I arrived at my score. If the things I'm discussing would cause you to arrive at a different score, that's what you go with.

Having said that, of course the game was reviewed based on its own merits.



OptometristLime said:

If I could interject briefly...
We can all agree that a sequel has certain expectations based on the special qualities of its predecessor. That unmistakable familiarity that sometimes pervades a sequel, will be an evident force in the player's mind; gamers do not like to be tricked into eating the same meal twice, once with a different "special sauce"!



Hyper_Metal_Sonic said:


Pretty much the last line of the review sums up that problem. It shows that this sequel is solid, but it's more of the same, and for people who have already played the first one, it could be bothersome because there's almost copy/paste similarities. However, the last line indicates that those flaws aren't going to be an issue if you haven't played the previous entry.

This is one reason why number scores stink, it distracts from the content.



Objection said:

@People complaining that it got a lower score for being more of the same.
: Yes, let's reward lazy sequels with the same score as the original because we want the same stuff over and over. When I saw they added the fire/hose concept, it looked more interesting to me than the original. But if it's practically the same levels or same kind of levels with a new skin, that's not as good as the original which (for all the reasons I wasn't huge on it) was a creative game.
If anything, the fans of the original are the ones not being objective, not Phil.
@Phil-Well-worded sequel, good detail on the approach and level reuse.



Capt_N said:

Hm,... The part of this review that bothers me is the apparent similarities; even sounds like almost extreme, or @ least very much similar. I've been waiting, & saving for this title for awhile. While I would love for (both) significant gameplay improvements, &/or new challenges to conquer, I understand that game devs can only tap so much from an idea spring. This sounds like right now this isn't a really big issue for this series, although it could become an issues, if WayForward isn't careful. I also know that sometimes copy/paste of puzzles/stage layout/music/etc. from a prior game in a series is normal/standard fare for video games; Super Mario Bros. 2 Japan comes to mind. I also want to support WayForward(though I'm not keen on letting them think I'll spend on sequels w/o much efforts, though I am not accusing MSF2 of that, I'm just making a point.), in addition to the fact I've been waiting for this game for awhile. I can't say I'll definitely get it now, as the only thing stopping me, is knowing it may go on sale a year from now, like what exactly happened to the original/first MSF. I can only say I may get it now. I still am plugging away, & have been ever since I got the original title on sale last summer, though I haven't been playing it steadily, which would account for the fact I haven't beaten it completely yet 1 year later, so those reused puzzles aren't fresh in my mind.

Edit: I will probably, though not definitely, get this game this summer, if not now. I can give WF a pass on reuse this time.



brianvgplayer said:

Why no talk about what was added to the game like more colors added to puzzles, the hidden babies, and another unlockable that was mentioned in another review? I also asked if this had the hyper mode and got no answer.



edcomics said:

Although the later stages get a bit too hard for a casual player like me, I really love these games. #2 throws in some nice changes to shake things up, though it would be nice if there were some surprises hiding in those mud blocks. Maybe later in the game... The animated characters are really fun and cute. The robot needs his own game!



WebHead said:

Pretty fair review and score I think. Still worth $6. I downloaded this and I have to warn you guys: This one is harder.

(Or maybe I just stink lol.)



Vanya said:

There are some funny idea floating around about what a "sequel" is and what constitutes a "series". Last time I checked the point of a sequel is to give the fans of the first game more of what they enjoyed and add a bit more to it.
I think that's exactly what Way Forward did here. Could it have been better? Of course. Hind sight IS 20/20. That said the score on this review is fair enough.
As for the series thing? Mighty Switch Force is now a series. The rest of the family of Mighty! titles can hardly be considered a series given they have nearly nothing in common. Except for some notable exceptions (I'm looking at you, Castlevania 2 and Zelda 2) games i a series share the bulk of their features with out straying too far.
Just my two cents.

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