If there’s one genre that generally gets things right time and time again, then it has to be the Puzzle-Platformer. After all, many of the most famous icons within video gaming have spawned from its genre with Sega’s Sonic and Nintendo’s Mario, as well as a whole host of extras such the Great Giana Sisters, Rayman and Megaman; and these are only a small percentage of what can be picked. You can’t question the appeal of such games, as they have long stood the test of time, provided a nice break from the usual third-dimensional gore-fests and can provide some of the best couch co-op entertainment on the planet. You usually find that their successes often lead to later releases in the form of collections, with the latest of such iterations being Mighty Switch Force! Collection as it leaps a release onto the Xbox One.
Developed and published by WayForward, this collection of timeless classics boasts four different titles: Mighty Switch Force!, Mighty Switch Force! 2, Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition and last, but not least, Mighty Switch Force! Academy. The first title of the series started life eight years ago with a release on Nintendo’s 3DS console and has since spawned a series of other games and remakes across a series of platforms, culminating with this latest release. However, some may be disappointed to learn that not all of the Mighty Switch Force titles have made it across to this release, with titles such as Mighty Flip Champs! And Mighty Milky Way not making the cut. So here’s hoping for a second collection that makes room for these other games. You know it makes sense WayForward!
Anyway, back to this collection and the first game on offer is the ever-youthful, Mighty Switch Force!; the game that started it all. This puzzle-platformer revolves around a heroine called Patricia Wagon, who is tasked with rounding a series of escaped convicts known as the ‘Hooligan Sisters’. Each of the sisters are scattered a round a series of bite-sized levels that offer a fair challenge with their puzzle mechanics and tight controls. What made the original release stand out, was the ability to push blocks from the background to the foreground and vice versa. This creates a new level in thinking how to approach each level, with a satisfying animation of characters smashing into the screen on your television as you propel them forward with the background blocks.
The second game on offer, Mighty Switch Force! 2 is a follow up, but this time you take control of Patty Wagon. Your role now is that of a firefighter and armed with your handy water cannon, have to rescue the reformed ‘Hooligan Sisters’ from a great inferno that has broken out. In its basic form, this is essentially more of the same that the first game offers, albeit one with slightly different mechanics of extinguishing fires and rescuing the sisters. However, it controls identically, allowing you to skip between the two in a seamless transition of control. One extra addition comes in the form of the ‘Ugly Baby’, a hard-to-reach collectible that adds an extra level to the style of play.
The third title, Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition is basically an upgrade of the first game with an HD overhaul that presents a cartoon style rather than the original’s pixellated form, as well as the addition of a few extra levels to help pad things out. It seems a strange decision to include two, almost, identical games in one package, although it is nice to have the original and see how much it changed with its High-Definition lick of paint and Hyper Mode levels. In terms of gameplay though, this is exactly the same game as Mighty Switch Force!, albeit one that looks better, but that can be down to personal taste. Despite its repetition, this is still a very fun game to play.
The last title within this collection offers a local multiplayer ability, with Might Switch Force! Academy. This title makes a nice change and offers a break from the core platforming of the other three games. Although the core mechanics remain the same, each of the levels are played on singular screen with co-op and competitive gameplay for solo players against bots and up to four human players. Each of the levels comprise of a series of platforms and traps as you fight to compete for bragging rights. Despite the singular screen, players can wrap around the levels from bottom to top and from left to right. For me personally, this was my favourite game from the collection, with some genuinely great multiplayer fun.
As a whole, there is a lot of content here as well as some satisfying examples of great platforming. The level designs standout within this series of games, as well as an abundance of gameplay with overcoming the puzzles and obstacles that stand in your way; especially with its three-life mechanic that forces you to restart the current level should you lose them all. Essentially, these games are more about timing than using the old grey matter, but with a tight and easy control scheme from A to jump and X to shoot, with B changing the platform perspectives and Y moving the camera a notch in order to see what is coming up, its tightness of execution makes it an overall, enjoyable affair.
The presentations in these re-releases are top-notch, with some very bright and colourful levels that are, not only pleasing, but are extremely easy on the eye. It’s got a very satisfying ‘retro’ feel that is very reminiscent of nineties arcade machines, as well as some foot-tapping audio that matches the on-screen action well with a mix of electronic-arcade synths. These games are best played in a casual setting, with bite-sized challenges and levels, although the more hardcore amongst us can revel in a series of speed-runs that will test your mettle, as well as a series of collectibles for the one-hundred percenters out there.
Overall, Mighty Switch Force! Collection presents a nice little bundle of classic gaming. Its mix of old-school gaming and modern presentations work seamlessly together, to produce a series of games that you can’t help but smile at as you play them. It also comes at a good price, essentially getting four games for less than the price of one and provides a lot of entertainment, as well as an abundance of content that will keep you going over the long-term. Considering its age and origins, this is a collection of games that packs a Mighty Switch Force! punch.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Mighty Switch Force! Review
Gameplay - 9/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Replay Value - 9/10
User Review( votes)
Mighty Switch Force! Collection mixes old-school gaming and modern presentations to produce a series of games that you can’t help but smile at as you play them.