About a year ago Mighty Switch Force was released on the 3DS eShop and it was a fun downloadable title that offered platforming, action, shooting, and puzzle solving all wrapped up into one game. WayForward Technologies has recently released an updated version on the Wii U eShop aptly titled Might Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition. If you played Mighty Switch Force previously for 3DS you can now experience the game in high definition 1080p glory. There are also new “Hyper” versions of each level that will almost guarantee to make you pull your hair out, and the artwork has been completely redone to look much more sharp and clear while you play on your large TV.
In regards to any story, Patricia Wagon is a peacekeeper and HQ calls her when a slew of Space Hooligans escape custody and start causing havoc all over. Equipped with a gun and a special helmet with a siren that allows her to shift certain items in the environment into different dimensions. Patricia is a cybernetic officer who needs to catch five of these escaped prisoners before moving on to the next level. Don’t look much further than that if you want a deep narrative, as there’s no real story to Mighty Switch Force aside from the simple premise. Instead, the game focuses on strong platforming and puzzle solving.
Patricia essentially has three different moves to help her capture the Hooligans and bring them back to jail; Jumping, shooting, and ability to phase blocks in and out of the world to help her solve puzzles in front of her. The Wii U GamePad is used to play and you use the left stick (or D-pad) to control Patricia’s movement, B for jumping, Y for your gun, and a few others buttons for switching blocks in and out of phases (whichever button feels more comfortable can essentially be used). You are also able to hold the X button to look around slightly at your surroundings but the range is quite limited and it barely gives you any peripheral vision outside of the default camera edges, so it’s not really that useful as it should be.
As you control Patricia and try and round up the five Hooligans needed to progress to the next level, you will notice that as you begin each stage you’re given a Par Time aim for and you are encouraged to get better and faster at each of the stages. For a Time Runner, this game is built for you, as you can always attempt to shave off precious seconds off your best runs. For those that don’t really care about leaderboards or beating times, there’s little incentive to replay levels other than personal satisfaction.
The main puzzle-solving element found in the game has to do with Patricia’s ability to phase certain blocks and items in and out of the stage with her special helmet. Not only will Patricia use these blocks to navigate the stages and reach higher areas, but there are also tricks that can be used to attack enemies. There are even certain blocks that when “phased in” while an enemy is on top of them that will cause them to shoot out the direction the arrow on the block is facing. The beginning stages are very simple and don’t provide much challenge, but a few levels in and you’ll be scratching your head on what you’re exactly supposed to be doing, eventually switching phases in rapid succession to progress.
Like most games, Patricia has three hearts that will become depleted if she’s touched by an enemy, lands on spikes, or gets pushed by a block by her own doing. Checkpoints scattered around the stages will allow you to respawn nearby if needed. If you shoot and defeat enemies though they will usually drop hearts to replenish your health if it’s needed.
The game looks absolutely gorgeous in HD. The artwork has been completely redone and redrawn resulting in a sharp and fantastic image on a big screen TV or the Wii U’s GamePad. Animations look fluid and even when you’re using boosting blocks; nothing becomes blurred or washed out even at high speed. If you’re playing on a TV the GamePad will display ’The Hooligan Tracker’, a radar that shows you the direction of the five criminals you need to collect to progress. If you decide to play solely on the GamePad it may not look quite as crisp when compared to the TV (although it looks close), but it is a great way to get a few levels in when the TV is being used. While the artwork is fantastic, the sound is just passable. There are numerous sound effects for all the actions and explosions. There is a soundtrack too, but when writing this review I was trying to think of any of the stages music that stood out and nothing came come to mind. It’s not an instant classic soundtrack by any means, but it suits the vibe of the game very well.
I really only had one gripe with the game, and it seems to be a large oversight. For a game that is so focused on Par Times and being as quick as possible, it seems absurd that there’s no online leaderboards or ghost data downloads, even if it’s only friends. The game is all about replayability and bragging about your Par Times, yet there’s no built in way to show this with anyone. Sure there’s the Miiverse channel, but it’s cumbersome and hardly an official place for this kind of stuff. With this being an update to a game that’s been out for about a year, it seems like a huge oversight and missed opportunity to prolong the life of the game.
So if you’ve played Mighty Switch Force previously on 3DS is Hyper Drive Edition worth your ten dollars to ‘upgrade’ to? It really depends on what you value for your gaming dollars. The high definition upgrade is really pretty to look at, but hardly worth the ten dollar price alone. While it has the original levels, there are now new Hyper versions of each level to unlock which are extremely difficult variations of each stage already in the game. Essentially Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition is an updated title with HD graphics (which are done superbly), the aforementioned Hyper Drive Mode (hard versions of each level), and the ability to play on your TV or GamePad. It is a fun game that will challenge your gaming prowess, especially the Hyper Mode levels, but it’s a very short title without being too complicated. In the end it is quite a fun game for ten bucks, and I have no problem recommending it.