Playing Mighty Switch Force! 2 taught me two things, the first being that I will now buy anything with WayForward\’s name on it. I love the Shantae series and Aliens Infestation and the more I play their games, the more they impress me. The second educational lesson was the realization that I enjoy independent downloadable games more than big AAA retail releases these days.
Every second of my 5 hour playthrough of Mighty Switch Force! 2 was pure joy and satisfaction and I seem to have more fun with indies than I do with multi-million dollar publishers. That is a topic for another day entirely, though. The point is that Mighty Switch Force! 2 was some of the most fun I had with my Wii U all year and was up there with the likes of Pikmin 3 and Runner 2, both contestants for my personal GOTY.
Why do I like Mighty Switch Force! 2 so much? Well, being a good game certainly doesn\’t hurt, but it\’s the presentation and the introduction of new mechanics that really push it over the top. It uses all the mechanics of the first title, so the core is essentially the same, but it is expanded upon in nearly every way to offer a more robust and complex package than the original.
So yes, you\’ll still be running, gunning, jumping, and switching constantly throughout the adventure. The first three are self-explanatory if you\’ve ever played a game before, but the series trademark of \”switching\” is a bit different. Similar to the first title, the character can switch blocks to go from the background to the foreground. One very simple example of this is, if you\’re on a platform and your destination is too far away, there might be a transparent block that you\’ll need to switch into the foreground to land on and access your destination.
The twist this time around comes from the change in weapons – from a gun to a fire hose. Instead of pressing Y to simply shoot one bullet, it now controls the pressure of the water. Tap Y to release a little squirt or hold for a mighty blast of water. It surprised me how much time it took for me to get use to it, as I initially would back up to spray water over a flame. After a few levels, it\’ll be second nature, though.
There is a slew of new puzzle mechanics with this new playing style that will make anyone scratch their heads at least once. This truly is a puzzle platformer and I found it more complicated than the first game. Unswitchable blocks that are on fire now exist and you can dose the flame temporarily; couple this with a third block that locks by stepping on it and the puzzles on display are very complex. Some of the later levels still confuse me, even after multiple playthroughs. When I luck into the solution without knowing what I did exactly, it takes away a bit of the satisfaction.
The music is absolutely incredible and, while not every song is memorable, it always fits the mood of the level and gets me pumped up. Some tracks are worthy of being played in a nightclub and I often stopped playing just to listen. If you\’re reading this and not at all interested in picking up the game, you should at least listen to the songs “Glow” and “Final Boss.” The soundtrack incorporates elements of rock, electronica, and dubstep, which may seem a bit weird on paper, but it mixes together into something magical.
The visuals in this game are sure to cause some controversy, as they are the exact same as the 3DS. The first Mighty Switch Force! got a graphical overhaul and, like it or not, the second game does not. Personally, I\’m fine with this. Sure, it looks a bit too pixelated at certain points, but I think it adds to the charm of the experience. It feels like I\’m playing a game that was suppose to be released on Super Nintendo but was only discovered recently.
Even with the unchanged visuals, the game is far from ugly. The character sprites feature tons of animation and charm and the colours are bright and vibrant. The backgrounds are not noticeable all the time due to focusing on the action, but there certainly is a fair share of detail. Since this game is based around fire, there are some nice particle effects and one can almost feel the heat emanating from the television screen. HD upgrade or not, it\’s still a fine-looking and -sounding game.
Unfortunately, HD visuals aren\’t the only missing features compared to the Hyper Drive edition of the first game. No new added content is available for Wii U owners, meaning the game on the 3DS eShop is the exact same package on Wii U. While it\’s not bad for people who missed out on the 3DS version, this also means that there is virtually no reason to double-dip if you already beat it on 3DS. This re-release is solely for people who do not own it on Nintendo\’s portable.
With no additional content, the game sits at 16 levels. The first run-through can take up to 10 minutes per level, but there are “par” times to beat, hidden babies to kick in each level, and unlockable goodies after the credits roll. It\’s not the longest game ever (I managed to 100% it in 5 hours, give or take), but this game has some of the most fun per dollar I\’ve encountered all year. Sitting at seven dollars, it\’s a damn fine bargain.
The bottom line is this: if you haven\’t played it on 3DS, this is your chance. 3DS owners who have already beaten it have no real reason to buy it again unless the concept of playing on your television is worth the money. Whatever system you choose, though, you\’re sure to get a satisfying game that balances challenge and fun in a masterful way. It\’s one of the best reasons I ever turned my Wii U on. I personally loved it that much.