The Mighty Switch Force! series has finally made its way to the Nintendo Switch in a fully complete collection! This Mighty Switch Force! Collection features four critically-acclaimed games of the series: Mighty Switch Force!, Mighty Switch Force! 2, Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition (which is a remake of the original) and Mighty Switch Force! Academy. Relive these classics on your TV and on the go or dive into the series for the very first time.
In case you haven’t played the Mighty Switch Force! games before, the series is primarily a puzzle/platformer akin to games like Mega Man and Shantae. However in this series, you play as a member of the Mighty Switch Force who is tasked with retrieving the five prisoners that have escaped from prison in each level. The puzzle element in the game is the “Switch” ability, allowing you to sound your Siren Helmet to switch between two sets of blocks – bringing some to the foreground and some to the background. Not only that, but they can also be used to defeat enemies in strategic ways. Other blocks that do different actions are introduced throughout the game, keeping the experience fresh. Sometimes, utilising these blocks and switching back and forth between them requires some swift reflexes.
Mighty Switch Force! originally released on the Nintendo 3DS and the inclusion keeps true to its original presentation. Playing it in TV Mode was quite difficult on the eyes as it was never intended to be blown up the way it is, so I instantly went on to play the Hyper Drive Edition which features HD hand drawn graphics that better suit the presentation. The crux of the game is certainly very streamlined, featuring bite-sized levels that can be completed within a few minutes. It’s a perfect game to be able to pick up and put down on the go.
Mighty Switch Force! 2 shifts the gameplay as in the sequel, you are not a police cadet and rather a fire fighter. Instead of having the regular zap gun, you are equipped with a fire hose that gives you the ability to put out fires. This new mechanic presents a slew of new puzzle ideas, such as needing to put out fires and spraying your hose into sections that snake around.
Mighty Switch Force! Academy is definitely the black sheep amongst the collection with it taking more of an arcade presentation. In this game, the camera is zoomed out to display the entire stage and each one is almost symmetrical with itself. This version has the ability to be played co-op with up to four players, so it’s a great way to take the Mighty Switch Force to a party. Other than that, the gameplay is mostly the same as it is in the original entry however with it being zoomed out so much, it’s difficult to play in handheld or tabletop mode.
The gameplay is all very smooth, without any technical hiccups – not that I had any concerns going into a game made by WayForward. The Nintendo Switch editions feature fantastic HD Rumble effects that WayForward are known to do. Each jump and landing creates some tactile feedback that makes the game feel that much more intuitive; when an explosion goes off, you’ll feel it – even to the point of a train going by.
Each level in both the main entries is tailor-made as the puzzles within them are expertly crafted in order to utilise the game’s unique mechanics. They rarely contain any open empty spaces that are not needed, so you won’t find yourself wandering around aimlessly. The sequel definitely shows some improvement and takes much more creative liberty without diminishing what made the original so beloved.
As mentioned previously, Mighty Switch Force! Academy takes a much different approach and whilst it may be lacking in some aspects compared to the main entries of the series, the arcade aspect certainly benefits from it.
Both the main entries of the Mighty Switch Force! series have very basic storylines that simply provide context without having to drag it out. In the first entry, prisoners wearing suspiciously scandalous clothing have escaped and you need to retrieve them to take them back to prison. In the sequel, you join the fire department, tasked with putting out fires all over the city and rescuing civilians… who are also wear suspiciously scandalous clothing.
The series is clearly not about its story but it perfectly sets the scene with reason as to why you are doing what it is you are doing. It does make the game somewhat repetitive and robotic, simply proceeding from one level to the next, but it works nonetheless.
Graphics / Art Direction
As both games were released on both the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U (in one way or another), you can toggle the Hyper Drive Edition between the classic 3DS version graphics and the Wii U’s HD graphics. However as the sequel had pixelated graphics on both systems, you are not able to play the sequel in HD. That could’ve been understandable back when the sequel initially released however in 2019 as apart of an ultimate collection on today’s modern consoles, it seems lazy that the sequel didn’t receive the same HD remake treatment.
Music / Sound Design
Whilst it may emit feelings of nostalgia for fans of the series, the soundtrack for the Mighty Switch Force! games come across as generic and lacking. It’s not bad by any means, however it lacks a lot of the flare that many other WayForward games have the tendency to have.
Final Score: 78%
The Mighty Switch Force! Collection is a well done compilation of the series to date, allowing fans of the series to traverse it all again with one last purchase and newcomers to delve right in with all that the series has to offer. The series offers some well designed puzzles that offer more skill-based challenges than mental ones, but this may be just the right amount of difficulty for those wanting some straightforward pick up and play action.