Collection games are always interesting for me to review. I never really know if I should review each game separately or as a whole. Anyhow, when I got the code for Mighty Switch Force Collection, I didn’t realise just how long the series has been around. Originally released on the Nintendo 3DS waaaay back in 2011 (or is it 2012?), developer Wayforward Technologies has now brought this collection to the Xbox One and includes the original Mighty Switch Force, Mighty Switch Force 2, Mighty Switch Force: Hyperdrive Edition, and Mighty Switch Force Academy.
First up is Mighty Switch Force. Players take control of officer Patricia Wagon (don’t worry I rolled my eyes too). Your job is to hunt down the escaped convict Hooligan Sisters. The Hooligan Sisters are basically scattered throughout the level and are literally just waiting for you to pick them up. Collect all five to finish the level and move on to the next, where you’ll find you have to collect them all over again. What I found strange is that these escapees aren’t doing anything to escape. They don’t move around the board or anything. Instead the danger comes from these random monsters that are lurking about. I just thought that was odd.
The control scheme is fairly standard. A to jump, B to switch the level layout, X to shoot, and Y to move the camera a frame in any direction so you can see what’s ahead. There are a few different enemy types each with varying methods to rid yourself of them. Most you can avoid while others are needed to advance through the level. For example there are these walking bombs that you’ll need to blow up certain blocks that your blaster won’t make a dent in. Another enemy type requires you to kill it before a gate opens up allowing you to move on.
The meat and potatoes of Mighty Switch Force is in the clever level design. I classify the game as a Puzzle Action Platformer. Overall the puzzles are easy to work out, however, in many cases timing is key. Especially with some of the faster moving puzzles. Besides being an obstacle, one thing I’ve never understood about platformers is why they all employ spiked floors. I mean really, who is it in the future that looks around and says “You know what, this would be a lovely place for a spiked floor”? As they say, que sera, whatever will be. It’s all good fun. And Mighty Switch Force is fun, if not very original.
Next up is Mighty Switch Force 2. This time Patty Wagon is a firefighter who basically has a water gun that never runs out of water. Players will be tasked to rescue the “reformed” Hooligan Sisters who are trapped in the infernos. Ultimately it’s more of the same. There are some slight game play mechanic differences, but the controls are identical to it’s predecessor. The Hooligan Sisters are just scattered about the levels just waiting for you to come and rescue them. This time keep an eye out for the Ugly Baby. Rescuing him is extremely tricky and may need some outside the box thinking.
The Hyperdrive Edition is an updated version of the original Mighty Switch Force that features redrawn HD graphics and includes Hyper Mode levels which remaster all the previous levels making them much much harder. Other than that it is still the same game
Mighty Switch Force Academy is probably my favorite of the collection. Most of the puzzles are solved in the same manner but this time the entire level is squeezed onto one screen and features up to four player multiplayer. You can play the main game cooperatively or play Vs Mode for some head to head competition. Visually, Mighty Switch Force Academy reminds me more of Pac-Man where the others make me think of Sonic the Hedgehog.
Overall the visual presentation of all four games in the collection is bright and colorful. It’s easy on the eyes in the sense that nothing really important blends into the background. Think of the art style of most late 90’s and early 00’s arcade machines and you’ll know what I mean, and it has the audio to match with an unobtrusive mixture of electronic and arcadey music and sound effects. Gameplay feels precise and the level design has a good flow throughout in that there are no extreme spikes in difficulty. Levels gradually increase in difficulty as you go along. Individually I would probably complain about how quickly one could play through all the levels, however as a collection I feel that it’s more like playing different modes of the same game.
Might Switch Force Collection is a mixture of clever, old school mechanics, wrapped up in a modern package. Some of the games perhaps haven’t aged all that well, but if you’re after something to feed that nostalgia itch, you won’t be going far wrong with this.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.