It seems like every other day, a new collection of something comes out on Switch. It can be tough to keep track of them all, but one you should be paying attention to is WayForward’s Mighty Switch Force Collection. It includes four of the five existing games in the Mighty Switch Force series, which is a charming franchise of puzzle platformers that revolve around switching whether certain blocks are things you can land on. The game encourages speed-running every stage to hit a “par time,” which is far easier to do after completing each stage normally. Mastering the mechanics while being as efficient as possible becomes the ultimate goal, for me, anyway.
The original Mighty Switch Force was a 2011 3DS eShop game; I reviewed it back then (Review), as well as the short expansion. Nothing has changed aside from the visual clarity of the menu and tally screens, the original pixelated aesthetic remains in tact. It’s still a fantastic game by today’s standards, and the soundtrack, by Jake Kaufman, is radical.
Mighty Switch Force 2 came out two years later on the 3DS, and they’ve switched up the gameplay significantly—Patricia Wagon is a firefighter now, and hoses things down while rescuing (rather than arresting) the Hooligan Sisters. I enjoyed the game when it came out (Review) and my opinion hasn’t changed, although there’s a lot less block-switching than I remember. Also of note, Mighty Switch Force 2 has maybe the best end-credits music I’ve ever heard in a video game.
If you’d like to replay Mighty Switch Force with a different, but not necessarily better, art style, check out 2012’s Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition, which was a Wii U launch game (Review). Time has not been particularly kind to this remake’s HD art style, as the characters lack personality compared to their pixelated counterparts. This game does offer up some new content in the form of harder versions of every stage (which unlock once you finish them all once) and a new unlockable look for Patty. Really, I’m just happy to see this game rescued from the Wii U, which now lives in a dark bedroom closet where it belongs.
New to me is Mighty Switch Force Academy, a multiplayer-focused version of the original game, where you can solo the whole thing or bring three friends along. The gameplay doesn’t really differ from its predecessor, but the entire level is shown, so don’t play this in Handheld or Tabletop Mode because your eyes will start to bleed. There are plenty of unique stages, and five were brought over from the original game. One caveat is that all available players can block-switch, meaning your own progress will inevitably screw one of your compatriots. There’s also a Vs. Mode, where resentment build up through normal multiplayer can be released. Given its limitations, Academy is the weakest game in this package, but given the shallow learning curve, it can be a fun multiplayer diversion.
And since Academy is here, I’m confused as to why Hose It Down, the follow-up to Mighty Switch Force 2, is missing from this collection. This is a mobile game that only appeared on iOS (and Steam) and involves you solving block puzzles so that Patty can get her stream of hose water to the fire and thereby rescue one of the Hooligan Sisters. It’s more Pipe Dream than Switch Force, but it’s a fun concept that I wouldn’t mind trying.
Even if you’ve played these games before, I’d say this collection is absolutely worth picking up. It’s wonderful to have them all on Switch since they were spread between three platforms originally (3DS, Wii U, Steam), and the Mighty Switch Force games are just plain fun and full of personality. I would like to have seen a collection of concept art a la the SNK and Street Fighter collections because Digital Eclipse has spoiled me forever with that kind of bonus content, but that doesn’t take away from the experience, and I will never, ever get sick of kicking that ugly baby.