Switch and spray your way to safety.
Puzzle platformers really are the mainstay of the Nintendo handhelds and WayForward’s sequel Mighty Switch Force! 2 on the 3DS Nintendo eShop is a shining example of the genre.
Once again, the player takes on the role of Patricia Wagon, the protagonist from the original game. This time around however, Patricia is making use of her firefighting skills and rather cool water cannon to solve her way through the multiple puzzle levels.
So, in each level Patricia has to rescue five “damsels” and then make it to the extraction point. The “damsels” are generally fairly well spread out and the player will have to not only put out fires with the water cannon and deal with various enemies by pushing them into harm with the water or filling them until they explode, for example, but also utilize the games core mechanic – switching.
Within each of the levels are blocks which can, through the simple press of the shoulder button, be switched from the background to the foreground and vice versa. This is what makes up the majority of the puzzles, in a variety of different ways. Each level will introduce some new way in which the blocks can be used, or some new block which has a totally different use, leaving the player to discover new solutions and mechanics every time.
Which can make the first run through of a level somewhat slow, as the player works everything out. This can be a bit worrying when you complete a level in seven minutes to discover the par time is 55 seconds. However, this is one of the ways that the game tempts you back for more. There are not a huge number of levels in Mighty Switch Force! 2, so the developers have come up with other ways to extend the game. The par times, for example, exist for each and every level, and they seem impossibly quick. But that is the challenge – learn the level and these times are possible, at least for most gamers. Also, there is a screaming baby hidden in each level, usually in a very difficult to get to place, that the player can try to rescue on a subsequent playthrough.
Aside from the limited number of puzzles, Mighty Switch Force! 2’s other main issue is that the game doesn’t let the player bask in the glory of mastering any mechanic before throwing something new at them. Each level mixes things up, but it would have been nice to see multiple levels using the same mechanics just so the player knows that they have truly mastered them before moving on.
Visually, the game is without fault. The little sprites that represent our hero and those she has to rescue look cute, and the levels themselves are well detailed, giving the game a classic puzzle/platformer look. The audio too is of a high standard, and manages not to be too annoying.
Mighty Switch Force! 2 has a lot to offer fans of the puzzle/platformer genre. The presentation is without fault, the controls are tight and easy to learn, and the puzzles are challenging. However, the length of the game is short, and replayability will depend on how obsessive the player is. But the game is fun while it lasts and is well suited to mobile gaming. Pick it up if you get the chance.