Mighty Switch Force Review
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On 01/13/2012 at 12:00 PM by Nick DiMola
Fun while it lasts, this unique puzzle platformer ends just as it's getting started.
For those who like puzzle-platformers and don’t mind replaying levels to extend the experience.
It’s almost eerie how much Mighty Switch Force reminds me of an SNES game. It’s not bogged down at all by story, character development, or anything that normally keeps a game from moving forward. Players are dropped into a world with no explanation of who they are, how to use their abilities, or what they must do in order to complete the level. Despite all this, it comes naturally, as if you’ve played it before and already know exactly what to do; a sure testament to the game’s fantastic design. Unfortunately, like many an SNES game, it’s over all too quickly.
Not unlike Mega Man, the main character has the ability to run, jump, and shoot forward. While the character’s design is seemingly constructed for action, the tools are used almost exclusively for puzzle solving. This becomes apparent when first utilizing the game’s signature switching mechanic where players will alternate blocks from the background to the foreground with the push of a button.
A variety of blocks are introduced as the game progresses, each providing a different ability. The most simple of blocks do nothing more than form a platform, however they can also be used as weapons to kill enemies on the field. When brought to the foreground, anything in their way will be slammed forward into the screen. One of the other blocks uses this transition for a different purpose. When brought to the foreground, the purple block will fire anything in its path in one particular direction.
You'll need to use these blocks in order to get around a level and reach specific locations in order to round up five girls that I can only assume are escaped convicts due to their attached ball and chain. The tactics you must employ in order to reach these girls is truly what makes the game great. This includes utilizing your whole arsenal in original ways in conjunction with the various blocks in the game.
Many times you’ll find yourself in a location where you don’t have direct access to the blocks you need to interact with. In order to move forward, you’ll need to provide safe transfer (ie: alternating blocks to build a bridge) to enemies so they can reach a critical location. When they get there, they can be shot, causing them to explode and open a new pathway. Other times you can switch the blocks at the right moment, slamming an enemy into the screen causing a door to open. Sometimes you’ll even need to use sets of purple blocks to transfer yourself and an enemy around simultaneously. Each and every level brings about a different challenge, all of which are extremely redeeming to figure out.
Unfortunately, the game feels like it ends prematurely. With only 16 levels, Mighty Switch Force is just too short. Because it explores the concepts it establishes with such finesse, players will be left wishing for additional well-constructed puzzles. With each level taking five minutes at most on the first playthrough, the game can be completed in a matter of about an hour to an hour and a half.
The only design that might keep some coming back for more is the par time. Set at a frustratingly low time, players will need to best most levels in no more than two minutes. It’s certainly no substitute for more content, but it may keep some players busy for longer than the initial playthrough.
Unquestionably, Mighty Switch Force is a game of quality, but it’s also a game of brevity. While I believe most players are accustomed to a more brief experience given the downloadable platform, this falls short of even that expected length. Those looking for something unique and memorable should give Mighty Switch Force a shot, but know that you’ll be done and looking for something else after a single night.