Review: Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition

WayForward skillfully tweaks an already great game and creates the definitive version in the process.

By Evan Campbell. Posted 11/27/2012 14:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Beautiful animation and HD visuals; tight controls; clever and varied game design; a fantastic soundtrack; more challenging levels; and off-TV play
Poison Mushroom for...
Lack of an online integrated leaderboard system

Developer WayForward goes back to the well with Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition, and it certainly hasn’t gone dry. If anything, this enhanced version of the 3DS eShop title packs an even bigger punch than before with HD visuals, remixed hyper levels of all 21 stages, and social features courtesy of Miiverse.

The game begins with the original 16 levels — in addition to the 5 bonus stages — from the 3DS version, which showcased clever puzzle designs and good action but felt a bit short overall. This time, along with completely redrawn characters and environments, Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition boasts twice as many areas that open up after completing the game.

The remixed stages add much-needed meat to the experience, as well as bump up the difficulty. WayForward does a splendid job in tweaking these levels just enough to feel different yet familiar. It also helps that the fantastic music is all-new for these areas too.

Playing through the title a second time highlights how well WayForward teaches gamers to manipulate the environments by switching blocks in and out via a button press — all without any text or tutorials. This “show, not tell” method works flawlessly and has become all too uncommon in video games. The second go-around also showcases how addictive the hook is — sweaty hands and sighs of relief are aplenty, along with victorious smirks.

While the original looked great with sprites and stereoscopic 3D, this edition boasts gorgeous animation and HD visuals. WayForward did the extra legwork to make this title stand out even more, and it’s appreciated. The developer also makes basic but smart use of the GamePad with the double-dip, utilizing the touch screen as a radar in the dual-screen setup or a proper display in off-TV play. Also nice is the fact that the title features Wii U Pro Controller compatibility.

Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition is a speed-runner’s wet dream, as each course contains a par time to beat. The big problem with the original was the lack of online leaderboards or social features to share with friends. This issue is partially addressed with the Wii U version, thanks to Miiverse. Players can pause the game and post screenshots of their par times, bragging to their friends with messages along the way.

But a well-designed and integrated online feature is sorely missing and holds the title back from being truly astounding. Think if friends’ times were listed after beating a stage, pushing you to try just one more time. Or if WayForward posted someone who just barely beat your time afterward, teasing and challenging you to come back for more.

WayForward may not fix every small detail with Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition, but the developer delivers an enhanced version of a great game. All the new content — HD visuals and remixed stages — elevates the title even more, making it a beautifully designed and challenging action-puzzle-platform experience.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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