MIGHTY SWITCH FORCE! COLLECTION [Review]: WayForward Finds a Way Back.

Robert “The DCD” Workman
@thedcd

Over the years, WayForward has proven to be a development force to be reckoned with, with games like Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, the underappreciated Double Dragon Neon and the awesome The Mummy Demastered. But you gotta love the fact that they’re appreciative of the games that got them started in the first place. And that includes Mighty Switch Force!, a game that they produced back in 2011 for the Nintendo 3DS…

It’s definitely something on the old-school side of things, with a Mega Man style of flourish, but with some anime touches and plenty of hot babes to save as well.

Now the series has a collection to call its own with Mighty Switch Force! Collection, featuring four different titles to choose from for a pretty good price of $19.99. If you’re a fan of the developer, this is definitely a must-have. And if you enjoy games of this type, or you like the genre in general, it’s worth the investment.

Renegade blondes EVERYWHERE.

The original Mighty Switch Force! introduces you to the main protagonist, a special officer by the name of Patricia. She makes her way through a stage with the help of a Siren Helmet, being able to switch blocks back and forth on a stage. This actually comes in handy as she can maneuver around stages, using special blocks on occasion to get around and find new spots. She’ll need them too as she captures the Hooligan Sisters and rescues others over the course of the game.

The first game is the best place to start with this series, as you learn the general basics. And its great gameplay shows you just what Mighty is all about, as it still feels just as fresh and entertaining as it did back in 2011. WayForward retains all the excitement and goofy fun that the original release maintained, but with the fresh feel of modern controllers. This feels right at home on the Xbox One, though the other versions are up to snuff as well.

Well, there’s a way to solve a puzzle.

On top of that, other games are available in the collection as well. Mighty Switch Force! 2 is just as much fun as the original, with an all-new approach – firefighting! – and some great new level designs, along with a few new twists. Following that is a game making its debut on consoles for the first time, Mighty Switch Force Academy, with a rather unique design with all the levels on one screen. It’s slightly confusing at first, but still kind of neat once you get the hang of it.

And last but not least is Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition. This is merely the first game remade in HD, which isn’t too bad. But I think some fans would’ve just preferred to have the three games with HD and regular resolution instead of just a fancy version of the first game. All the same, there are some stark differences they’ll like here nevertheless.

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So, some graphical differences aside with some games (like the distant level design with Academy), the collection as a whole looks great. The gameplay feels right at home with block switching and finding everything on a stage. What’s more, the time countdown really gives you a speedrun sort of feel, as you rush to complete them in the fastest time possible.

As for the visuals and sound, they’re great in terms of WayForward standards. Not the best the studio has done, as that honor still belongs to Half-Genie Hero, I believe. But still not bad, considering that this is a tribute to the studio’s early work, rather than a revamp. It’s not bad at all.

Switch Force does look good with HD visuals.

That said, the collection is missing extras. There’s no behind-the-scenes stuff to talk about Mighty Switch Force!’s creation, no art to unlock (which I know a few fans would’ve appreciated), and no music player. Just…the games themselves. That’s not bad, as they’re a lot of fun and will give you hours of gameplay. But look at Contra Anniversary Collection and Castlevania Anniversary Collection and the extras they offer. Something a little more would’ve gone a long way here.

But I digress. A good WayForward compilation is still worth celebrating, and Mighty Switch Force! Collection fits this bill. These games are good fun, and the remaster Hyper Drive Edition lives up to its hype. Not all the games are perfect, but they offer the kind of throwback, guilty pleasure fun that a lot of people enjoy in these games. Now, if we can just get a Shantaecollection to go along with it. 3.5/5 Doused Hooligans.

-Robert Workman

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