Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition Review



Game-developer Way Forward has proved once again that it knows how to make a platformer, but shows that it knows it’s way around a puzzle.


Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition is a port of the 3DS eShop title released in 2011.  In this new HD edition, characters from the 3DS version have been redrawn.  A second set of levels can be unlocked when completing the first 21 stages, for a grand total of 42 stages of puzzle-platforming action.


For those looking for plot, here it is: Five prisoners have escaped, and it is up to Officer Patricia Wagon to bring them in.  To get the job done, Patty must use her pellet gun and siren, which allows her to shift blocks between dimensions, to bring those hooligans in.

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The goal of each stage is to collect the five prisoners and get to Corporal Gendarmor, Patty’s robot partner.  The first level is simple, and acquaints you with the game’s controls and mechanics.  As your progress through the game, mechanics you learn build upon each other.  Level difficulty rises steadily, and you’ll always find yourself ready to take on the next challenge.  Make no mistake, this game can get tough, but I never felt overwhelmed.


The level design is original, and rarely do the levels repeat themselves (the exception being the second 21 levels, but I’ll get into that later).   You will be traveling in all directions in order to gather the five prisoners, and they can be gathered in any order.  In order to make sure you don’t get lost, an arrow will show up on screen whenever you are close to any of the prisoners.


hyperdrive 4You have three hits to collect the prisoners and make it to Gendarmor.  Take three hits, and you’ll have to restart the level.  Checkpoints are also scattered throughout the level, and taking a hit will send Patty back to the last checkpoint she touched.  Checkpoints can be activated and re-activated, which is helpful in levels where you are constantly retreading.


There are floppy disks scattered throughout levels and dropped by some enemies.  Grabbing a floppy disk will refill one life heart.  The rate in which these floppy disks appear is numerous enough to give you breathing room, but you will be sweating if you keep taking hits.


Many puzzles in this game relies on precise timing and quick reflexes, but only in the later levels will it punish you for messing up.  However, puzzles that require precision movement can be frustrating.  I frequently found myself taking a hit because Patty’s foot was still occupying the same space as a block it shifted back into her plane.


Environmental hazards are not the only threat to Patty.  Hostile creatures litter many of the levels, but not all of them, so the focus remains on puzzle-solving.  While a lot of the creatures simply attack Patty, some of the enemies serve as pieces to solve puzzles.

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Level 16, which is the last of the regular stages, ends with boss fight.  The fight seems out of place with the rest of the game, because you are only using your blaster to defeat it, rather than using the dimension shifting mechanic.  The boss fight was also disappointingly easy.


After beating the boss, Patty gains the ability to use the mighty blaster, which tears through enemies and big blocks normally destroyed by bombs, in levels you have already completed.  The mighty blaster is satisfying to use, and can help beat the par time in a lot of the levels.  However, the mighty blaster is far from overpowered, and you will still have to rely on your wits if you want 100% completion in this game.  Keeping the challenge in the levels after acquiring the mighty blaster adds a nice bit of polish to the game’s design.


For those looking for an extra challenge, completing the first 16 levels unlocks an additional five, which were DLC levels for the 3DS.  It’s not over after those five levels, as their completion brings forth an additional 21 levels.  These levels are a re-hash of the first 21, but they are far more difficult, and will be a challenge for even the most expert players.


Speed runners have something to look forward to as well.  Each level has a par time to beat.  Completing the level under the par time requires trial and error, and are very satisfying to complete.  However, there is little room for error when trying for these par times; one mistake can botch your entire run, and can force you to restart the level.



Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition blends platforming with puzzle-solving, and adds a dash of speed run for an extra challenge.  While you can stop and think through many of the puzzles, Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition has moments that require you to think on your feet.  None of the puzzles in the initial 21 levels are impossible, and cheap deaths are almost a non-issue.  I urge anyone who loves platformers and puzzle games to pick this one up from the Nintendo eShop.