Capsule Review: Mighty Switch Force! 2

A puzzle platformer based around the “switch” mechanic. Each level features blocks that can move between the foreground and the background. By hitting the switch button, the player can toggle the position of all such blocks in the level simultaneously. The player must use this ability - along with standard running, jumping, and shooting - to navigate the level, avoid hazards, and defeat enemies. In each level, the player character must round up five endangered civilians and then reach the exit.

Like its predecessor, this game has an energetic soundtrack and a charming aesthetic, so long as you aren’t put off by the cheesecake (the firefighter and the five civilians are all busty cartoon women). Changing the player character from a cop to a firefighter comes with a lot of improvements - your gun is replaced by a firehose that’s a lot more fun to use and enables several new mechanics. The game’s thematic layer is therefore stronger than before - spraying water to put out fires makes you feel more like a firefighter than shooting a raygun makes you feel like a cop - but it’s still very thinly laid on top of the switch mechanics, so it can be more jarring than before that you’re very obviously in contrived levels and not a plausible city.

The switch mechanic is again progressively built on to create a series of interesting puzzles that can be satisfying to solve, now mixed with the new mechanics offered by your firehose. The levels and puzzles are better designed as well, with a smoother difficulty curve, more readable levels, and more interesting challenges. Unfortunately, the game still falls into the same frustrating punishment trap as before. The unnecessary limited health meter is back and it still ejects you from the level if you take too much damage while learning to deal with an enemy or puzzle. While this is easily the better of the two Mighty Switch Force games, it doesn’t really matter how much smoother the levels are if you’re still forced to replay them to get another try on whatever obstacle you’re actually working on.

I Stopped Playing When: After clearing ten levels (out of an apparent sixteen on the 3DS version), the high levels of punishment associated with increasingly deadly enemies and precision-demaning puzzles got to be too much. I was spending more time redoing things I’d already done than working out how to solve new puzzles. This made the game too frustrating to continue and I put it down.

Docprof's Rating:

Two Stars: Meh. The game has some merit - it probably held my attention for at least an hour or I came back to it for more than one play session. But there wasn't enough draw for me to stick with it for the long haul.

You can get it or learn more here.