The Backlog Diaries: Mighty Switch Force 2

Oh, it’s SOOOOOOOOOO hot!

True to my word on the last episode of the podcast (which you should really listen to! It’s super good!), I have entered 2015 with a goal: eradicate my backlog. What a strong word. I was going to use “eviscerate” but that sounds too violent. Anyway, I decided to start by focusing on the MANY Wii U/3DS eShop titles that have piled up throughout the year and finally giving them their due. First up: WayForward’s MIGHTY SWITCH FORCE 2 (Wii U).

I remember talking about MIGHTY SWITCH FORCE: HYPER DRIVE EDITION on a super old episode of QK (ep 13, actually) and not doing a great job of explaining the gameplay to the gang, so I’ll likely be just as awful at explaining it now. MSF2 is, obviously, a sequel to the original puzzle platformer where you play as Patricia Wagon. Patty has undergone a career change from policewoman to fireman…firewoman? Sure.

MSF2gp

The core mechanics remain, which sees Patty able to “switch” certain platforms in and out of existence. Let’s say there are two platforms, A and B. While A is active and able to be jumped on, B is not. With a press of the ZR trigger, platform A phases out and platform B phases in. This is the most basic scenario seen in the game, and it’s not long before you see way more incredibly convoluted platform sets. The goal is to rescue (or capture, I can’t tell) 5 NPC characters throughout each stage, with an additional baby to rescue for added challenge. Each stage also has a par time that you can try to tackle, which has so far been pretty ruthless and easily the hugest challenge the game has to offer.

Add on top of this Patty’s new mechanic: a fire hose that is used for dousing fires, breaking through blocks made of mud, and attacking enemies. This is also used in various puzzle layouts, as some platforms may have tracks for you to shoot water through, and it’s up to you to figure out how to make sure the right set of platforms is active at any given time. I was quite a fan of MSF on Wii U previously, and MSF2 is definitely a fantastic game. The puzzles seems to be much more fiendish than they were the first time, perhaps this is because of the added mechanic of the fire hose, but there are some real head scratchers present.

MSF2baby

 

My only complaint about the Wii U version of MSF2 is that it isn’t as lovingly put together as the first MSF for Wii U, which was an HD upgrade from the 3DS version, using clearer quality assets and sprites to really shine in HD. MSF2 still looks great (because it’s WayForward, duh) but you can tell in many ways that this game was originally made for the 3DS and is being stretched for the Wii U. It’s a shame, as the HYPER DRIVE edition of the first game is absolutely gorgeous to look at, and MSF2 is less so. It’s not enough to detract from the overall experience, but certainly a missed opportunity.

Special mention, of course, to the music throughout the game. The tunes always seem perfectly matched to the stages they are present in, giving a nice mix between synth-y chiptune-y styles and even some dubstep thrown in (which works surprisingly well). I hope this is a series that WayForward continues to push, and that we see a third installment before too long so I can buy it and not play it for a year or so before finally getting to it.

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