Mighty Switch Force! Collection Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: WayForward

Publisher: WayForward

Release Date: July 25th 2019

Price as of Article: $19.99, £15.99

Game code provided by WayForward

Game Size: 845 MB

Gameplay

With fan favorite franchise Shantae on their resume, you simply cannot hear the word WayForward without thinking ”quality”, and their perhaps lesser known franchise, the Mighty Switch Force! Series, is no exception from this. Many have played these classics once before when they launched on the 3DS and Wii U respectively, myself included, and we were therefore thrilled to hear that these stellar puzzle platformers from one of our favorite 2D indie game studios, would at last re-surface on our favorite hybrid console. And so, here we are today, with the all encompassing Mighty Switch Force! Collection on the Nintendo Switch. But I am getting ahead of myself, perhaps it is in order to explain why I am holding these games in such high regard instead of just praising them senseless.

Mighty Switch Force! Collection comes packed with 4 great puzzle platformers starring the adorable cyborg cop/firefighter Patricia Wagon, those being the original Mighty Switch Force! in all its pixelated glory, Mighty Switch Force! 2, Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition, the HD remake of the first game, and finally, as icing on the cake, Mighty Switch Force! Academy.

Mighty Switch Force! Collection Screenshot

Mighty Switch Force!

These games don’t really have a story, but the premise is that 5 girls called the Hooligan Sisters have escaped captivity, and it is thus up to you, your pelletgun, and your switch powers, to re-capture them throughout 21 stages of pure puzzle platforming. 

The title and gimmick of the series, is that there are these special blocks scattered about all the stages, that with the push of the a button become solid or un-solid, you then manuevre these platforms in order to traverse the stages, each stage sporting increasingly more difficult and clever use of the blocks, some just being regular old blocks, while others have a secondary purpose like the purple one that launches you, and more steadily getting introduced to make sure the gameplay never gets old.

Really simple at its core, and relatively short, in fact, all four of these games are, but you’d be surprised how much fun you are gonna have solving the many platform puzzles and getting the best time. There are also enemies in Mighty Switch Force! but it isn’t so much an action game like it’s sister series, so the goal is never to kill everything in sight, but there are various cases where you must either kill them yourself or manipulate them into traps in order to open a door or remove some other obstacle.

Mighty Switch Force! 2

The sequel to the first game and my personal favorite. Once again, not much of a story, but the premise this time is that Patricia has taken up firefighter duty, and is now on a mission to save Planet Land’s citizens from a fire outbreak… its citizens apparently only consisting of the 5 now reformed Hooligan Sisters.

The basis of the gameplay is the same from the previous entry, you still use your switch powers to make certain blocks solid and un-solid, but this time Ms. Wagon sports a watergun instead of a pelletgun, changing up the sheer variety and creativity of puzzles significantly, most of them of course being fire related. Now you will face instances where you will have to channel your stream of water through tube-blocks in order to clear out dirt blocks, guiding sentient fire rocks to burn down wooden blocks that Patty can’t destroy herself, and much more.

A baby will also be present in every stage that you will have to rescue in order to unlock extra hard bonus stages, and some of them can be particularly tricky.

Mighty Switch Force! Collection Screenshot 2

Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition

This game, as stated earlier, is an HD remake of the first Mighty Switch Force!, but it’s not just that as it comes with double the amount of levels from before giving you pleeeenty to do. So in essence, I guess you would only really play the first game out of curiousity? Then again, the games are so great, why not just play them twice?

Personally I love the 16-bit sprites of the original 2 games over HD ones, a minor gripe I also have with the Phoenix Wright HD Trilogy. My personal preferences aside, this game does look absolutely stunning, and Pixel Patty is unlockable as a skin after completing the first stage anyway if you wanna rock that retro look.

Mighty Switch Force! Academy

In Migthy Switch Force! Academy you join Patricia as she enrolls in the police academy. Academy feels very different from its predecessors, as the camera is now entirely pulled out to show you the full overview of the stage you are trying to solve, as this game, although being entirely playable solo, is clearly made with 4-player competiton in mind. Since I don’t have any friends, I couldn’t test out this mode, and I will be the first to admit that I do not like a pulled back camera when you are alone on such huge stages, but perhaps because the stages are so big is why they kept it this way, so that you wouldn’t get lost. Regardless of this, the stages are no less fun.

Honestly, there really ain’t much more to say about these games overall, they have an idea, a solid gimmick, that they utilize to its fullest with not one stage being boring or feeling like you have already done a certain puzzle before. Every stage feels fresh, feels unique, and feels like every possible idea and combination has been explored. Maybe why they haven’t yet made a Mighty Switch Force! 3?

Every stage is also very fast to beat, making sure you won’t even have time to get tired of a particular stage even on repeated playthroughs.

Mighty Switch Force! Collection Screenshot 5

Switch It Up!

You can freely switch between all four titles, and if you are all the way into one of them, a couple of simple presses of the B button and a brief warning sign that you’ll lose all unsaved progress will send you right back to the main menu in a flash. It literally could not be any more convenient. You also shouldn’t worry about losing progress in the first place, as the game saves automatically after every single stage.

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Audio

As well as the excellent gameplay and spritework, this is WayForward, so of course the music is fantastic as well! I found myself bopping my head to several ass kicking tracks, even stopping up completely at times just to listen and jam to the beat. The music hits all the right notes, fits the tone of the colourful stages really well, and gets you pumped for more action!

Visuals & Performance

I kinda already spoiled it at the beginning of the review, but it bears repeating, that since the dawn of time… or at least since their first title on the GameBoy Colour, WayForward have been masters in the art of 2D sprites, sprite animation, and envionments. The graphics are great for all four games, even the upscaled Mighty Switch Force! 1 and 2, and you’d be surprised at the level of details they have put into the games, like Patty’s idle animations or the Hooligan Sisters’ reactions if you spray them with water in Mighty Switch Force! 2. In the original Shantae on the GameBoy Colour, WayForward pushed that system to its limits in the graphics department, and these 4 games are clear proof that they haven’t slowed down since. Need I remind you that they were behind the gorgeous DuckTales: Remastered as well?

Being ported to the Switch, the games also now make really good use of the HD rumble, making your really feel your surroundings as a train speeds by, or feel the pressure of your watergun when you pump it at max!

Mighty Switch Force! Collection Screenshot 6

Value

The price point of £15.99/$19.99 could hardly be any more generous for the value and quality of content you are getting here. Alone they may be relatively short games, if you don’t care for perfecting your time score that is, but together that is four – count ’em – four great puzzle platformers the likes of which only WayForward can make, for the price of what one game would normally cost. You may beat each individual game in just one afternoon, but all in all, I guarantee you are going to have hours of fun. Think of it this way, the Bloodstained team recruited people from the WayForward studio earlier this year in order to get more talented people in on the project who could help it move along faster, as the game at the time had some kinks to work out. That is how acknowledged these guys are, that they get hi-jacked for other studios.

Add to all that a killer soundtrack accompanied by gorgeous visuals, and you really couldn’t consciencly ask for more.

Pros

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4 great games for the price of one

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A jamming soundtrack

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State of the art 2D graphics

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Just buy it already!!

Cons

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Cons? In a WayForward game? Haha, you’re funny!