WayForward has had quite the relationship with Nintendo. Whether it be the 3DS, Wii or Wii U, they have always been fond of bringing their titles to Nintendo’s market. At the Wii U’s launch, WayForward remastered the predecessor in full HD, all hand-drawn, and provided a few extras to the HD edition. Earlier this year, the 3DS was graced with the sequel to the cult hit, “Mighty Switch Force! 2”. However, after much demand, WayForward has brought the game over to the Wii U. Does the sequel come blazing in hot or completely washed out?
Mighty Switch Force 2 is a 2D action/puzzle-platformer at heart; One which starts off with a simple, yet unique premise. If you’ve played the original Mighty Switch Force, whether for the 3DS or Wii U edition, the gameplay remains essentially the same. You’ll control Patricia Wagon again, who’s now part of the Galactic Fire Brigade and equipped with an Infinity Dousing Apparatus (I.D.A.) that lets you spray water to no end, trying to capture the Hooligan Sisters. Much like its predecessor, you’ll have to platform your way through 16 incidents. Gameplay wise, you’ll traverse the levels capturing five Hooligan Sisters scattered around the area and then escape with your robot cop sidekick (or as I still call him since the first game, Robocop). New in the sequel are the hidden crying babies in each incident. Find them and you’ll pull off a South Park by “kicking the baby” out of the screen. It’s hilarious when you see it actually happen as you wouldn’t expect Ms. Wagon to punt the baby. While platforming, you’ll notice blocks that are faded into the background. With the simple press of a button, you can switch the blocks to appear in the foreground and utilize them to make your way through the area. However, this simple concept will soon become a real test of your platforming skills, as you’ll have to master switching the blocks from foreground to background on the fly. Sometimes you’ll have to be mid-jump when transitioning this. Later on, you’ll need to be absolutely precise in timing the button pressing so that the background block doesn’t smash your character against the screen when transitioning to the foreground. Since the sequel revolves around the fire element, expect fiery obstacles to block your path. This is where your I.D.A. will come in handy most. You’ll have to extinguish fires that block your path, with small flames dousing almost instantly to larger flames that need more water to douse. If you don’t douse it all the way, it will rise again. In later stages you’ll have to platform on furnaces that you must douse to traverse, but must move quick as they’ll reignite.
It wouldn’t be a WayForward game if their platforming and overall gameplay didn’t ramp up dramatically in difficulty as you advance and their testament still stands here. You’ll get three hearts to get through an area, of which enemies, spikes, or accidentally smashing yourself against the screen when switching a block can take a heart away. There are heart discs that enemies can drop or are laying around the area so there’s a chance to revitalize yourself when needed. There are also checkpoints in each area but that’s only if you get smashed on screen or touch the spikes where they actually come into effect. If you lose all three hearts, you’ll have to repeat the level from the beginning. Luckily, a majority of the incidents are only a few minutes long, with the exception of the final levels. These ones are much more intensive and provide more of an endurance in terms of how much longer you’ll need to survive the insane platforming. Like the first game, there’s a final boss to tackle at the end of the last incident, and it’s pretty intense (also thanks to the music playing). Upon beating it, I wished WayForward would incorporate even more boss battles, as this was definitely a highlight during my playthrough.
Throughout the game, platforming won’t be your only enemy. Many of the same enemies return from the predecessor, varying from little flying creatures to lock-on to you as you approach them, to walking rocks lit on fire, to robotic dinosaur-type enemies that charge at you, to heavily armored spiky-shelled creatures. However, every enemy won’t be dealt with directly with your water blaster. While the flying creatures can be shot at easily, the robotic dinosaur-type enemies will require you to either shoot them from behind or trick them into running into a switch block and then launch them into the screen. Same goes for the spiky-shelled creatures. They can only be defeated by tricking them into falling on spikes or smashing them against the screen. A new enemy introduced here are these bloated purple creatures with a big mouth to boot. To take them down, you’ll have to fill it up with enough water to make it explode. To make enemies even more interesting, WayForward made enemies essential into advancing your way through an area. For example, you may need to have fire rocks walk up to a large wooden block so they can set it on fire, opening a passage for you. You may need to utilize launching switch blocks to guide enemies to a certain area to clear a path or smash them against a screen to open a locked door. It’s these moments that really provide a grand sense of satisfaction and open up your mind into more creative ways to advance through a level. However, a new puzzle element are the switch blocks with piping in them. When you see these, you’ll shoot your water blaster into them so that water travels through the pathway and out the other end. This will help wash mud away that was blocking your path or one of the damsels. The puzzles involving these really provide even more satisfaction to the already fine tuned gameplay.
Visually, WayForward has always been known for having a mastery with 2D sprites. When we saw “Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition” on the Wii U last November, the game looked absolutely crisp and stunning in HD. Unfortunately, Mighty Switch Force! 2 is a straight port of the 3DS version that released earlier this year. If you’re expecting to see the lush, hand-drawn HD crisp visuals from Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition, you’ll be let down here. Instead, we get the game in pixelated form, which still looks great honestly! If it wasn’t for the fact that I was blown away with WayForward’s hand-drawn sprites (like Double Dragon Neon, Bloodrayne: Betrayal, and naturally, Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition), I wouldn’t be deducting points off the visuals department. The game still runs as rock solid as you’d expect from the developer’s previous efforts. Jake Kaufman returns to provide yet another great soundtrack for a WayForward title. Providing a little bit of techno, dubstep and retro sounding tracks, Mighty Switch Force! 2 has a catchy soundtrack that does a very good job of nailing the game’s setting. “Flame broiled” and “Safe and sound” may sound cheesy when Patricia delivers the line, but it’s so campy, it’s good.
While the game doesn’t take a terribly long time to beat, hardcore players can attempt to tackle the “Par” times for every incident. These will take the utmost perfection and memorization to complete and if you do, you should be very proud of yourself. These are not for the feint of heart. Unlike it’s HD predecessor, once you beat the game, there are no bonus levels or hyper blaster to replay the game with. As a side-note, I really do appreciate that WayForward is still the only developer to choose a more unique name for their community on the Miiverse. Instead of just calling it “Mighty Switch Force! 2 Community”, they’ve opted to call it “Mighty Switch Force! 2 Command Center”. I love the fact that WayForward tries to make the Miiverse community more “fun”.
Mighty Switch Force! 2 may not be the HD remaster that it’s predecessor got on the Wii U’s launch day, but that still doesn’t stop it from being a great game by any means. WayForward knows their 2D games and continues to excel in this department. While this edition may not exactly add any content to warrant a new purchase for those who own the 3DS version, Wii U owners would still do very well to grab this for a low $5.99 asking price. If you’ve never played the 3DS version and like your 2D platformers, then by all means pick this up now. It may be a short game, but it’s also just so gratifying to play thanks to the excellent level designs, additional new “switch” mechanics, beautiful visuals and an energetic soundtrack.
Overall Score: 8.0 out of 10 = BUY IT!
A special thank you to WayForward for providing us a review copy for “Mighty Switch Force! 2″!
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