Review: Mighty Switch Force 2 may be over soon, but it's a great ride while it lasts
The original Mighty Switch Force is one of those short but sweet experiences that's really easy to care about. The combination of puzzle and platforming gameplay mixed together quite well within a delightfully cutesy package to create a wonderful little Nintendo download. While you could argue that the IP is a great one-off endeavor that doesn't exactly beg for a sequel, that's exactly what it got with Mighty Switch Force 2. Funnily enough, despite the lack of overall evolution, this follow-up is a sheer joy from start to finish whether you've played the first game or not.
Officer Patricia Wagon is back on patrol, once again seeking out the infamous Hooligan Sisters. Unlike the first game, she's not trying to apprehend them for their criminal antics. The Hooligan Sisters are now reformed members of society, and it's up to Patty to rescue them as dangerous fires spread across the city. The story here is purposely light, and it's actually quite reminiscent of classic non-epics like Double Dragon (beat up dudes and avenge your girlfriend) and Sonic the Hedgehog (save the animals from the fat man).
Rather than arming herself with a regular ballistics weapon, Patty equips a water gun this time around. Aside from defeating enemies, this hose of sorts can also be utilized to open up blocked paths. Flames can be put out, and you can disintegrate mud blocks that are in your way. That's not all it does, though, because this weapon is also an effective tool for a lot of the game's more challenging puzzles.
Throughout the 16 levels in Mighty Switch Force 2 you'll be tasked with engaging in a variety of brain-teasing situations. Patty can once again use her block-switching ability, which makes some blocks visible while others vanish. At first, it's fairly easy finding your way around levels without too much difficulty, but the challenge increases fairly quickly, and it isn't long before you're switching off blocks at rapid speeds to traverse over perilous pitfalls or opening up different routes to reach great heights.
In addition to the precariously placed Hooligan Sisters, each level also houses a crying baby. While these little tykes are quite homely in appearance, some of the biggest challenges in Mighty Switch Force 2 revolve around finding ways to rescue the little buggers. Also, it's totally worth it just to see Patty kick those babies off the screen and yell, “You're safe!” Where do those babies go? I certainly don't know, but I'll take Patty's word for it.
Like the first game, Mighty Switch Force 2 is loaded with colorful, quirky charm. Despite the horrific nature of mass fires, WayForward managed to create a burning futuristic city world that's just nice to witness. I dare say there's a tad more visual variety this time around than in the first game, which is great considering the brightly colored art style is perfect for so many different types of layouts.
The music is also good, with composer Jake Kaufman providing a bunch of great themes that sound really great and fit well within the series. In fact, the soundtrack of Mighty Switch Force 2 is arguably better than that of the first game's jolly collection of tunes. Without spoiling anything, I have to give props for the end credits theme. It's just so good and so amazingly Village People-esque — which is to say it's catchy as hell — that you'll be hard-pressed to refrain from YouTubing the song after hearing it the first time.
There's not exactly much in the way of extra content in Mighty Switch Force 2. Sure, you can seek out all of the crying babies and go for par times, but if you're solely in it to get to the end, you can probably finish this adventure in under four hours. That's not exactly a long time, but even then, I couldn't help but just have an absolute blast playing Mighty Switch Force 2. It made for a fun evening play session, and if you really dug the original or are just looking for something cool to download on the 3DS eShop, it's hard for me not to recommend this game.
Mighty Switch Force is a great game that perhaps didn't need a sequel. That said, is it a good thing that this title actually got a direct follow-up? Yes. Yes, it is. Mighty Switch Force 2 doesn't change things up all that drastically from the formula set forth by its predecessor, but it gives you more of that awesome and novel puzzle-platforming that was so much fun the first time around. It also gives you more colorful worlds, new puzzles, and an immense amount of charm for you to enjoy. Also, we get more of Officer Patricia Wagon, and I ask you, how is that even remotely a bad thing? If WayForward decides to create a third game, it may need to offer a major change then, but for now, Mighty Switch Force 2 is a grand return to a solid series on the 3DS.
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