When WayForward Technologies released Mighty Switch Force on the 3DS, it was received with critical acclaim by all. Mixing Megaman gameplay and aesthetics into a puzzle platformer seemed genius, and it quickly became a flagship title for the 3DS eShop. Despite a seemingly unfair (and unwarranted) delay for the Australian release, we managed to get our hands on a copy of Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition. Much in the same vein as the handheld edition, this bigger and better version of the game will surely become a flagship title for the Wii U eShop moving forward.
For those who never played the handheld version, players fill the shoes of Officer Patricia Wagon - a cybernetic policewoman on the trail of the five Space Hooligan sisters. Armed with a helmet which has the power to dynamically change blocks in the environment between foreground and background, along with a handy blaster, players will be guiding Officer Wagon through a number of puzzling stages.
The Wii U exclusive Hyper Drive Edition keeps the standard levels intact, while adding "Hyper" versions of each stage which ups the ante considerably. It also brings the game from the small screen of the 3DS onto big screen TVs with gorgeous re-drawn HD art which pops from the screen.
Mighty Switch Force is challenging enough when trying to gain the PAR time on each stage as it is, yet the remixed "Hyper" versions add considerable challenge to keep you coming back for more. The inclusion of these remixes is reason enough to purchase the game for a second time if you already own it on your handheld device.
The other reason is seeing the art of Mighty Switch Force on the big screen. Watching Officer Wagon, the Hooligan sisters, and the cast of crazy enemies coming to life in HD is astounding. It makes the handheld version seem weak in comparison as this gorgeous, almost cartoon-like game explodes from your TV.
Of course you could also choose to play the game entirely on the GamePad, which works surprising well considering its legacy on the 3DS. THe exclusion of 3D effects don't hurt the game at all, and the ability to play it while others take over your TV is more than welcome. Unlike other titles that make use of this feature, playing exclusively on the GamePad doesn't seem to hurt the visuals at all.
While Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition makes an already good game great, there are some shortcomings worth mentioning. For experienced platformers, you could easily smash through the standard incidents in under two hours. While beating the PAR times for each stage would take considerably longer, it's a little disappointing that WayForward didn't throw in some extra incidents rather than just the "Hyper" remixes.
Considering the tight integration of the Wii U with Miiverse, it's also disappointing that the developers didn't implement some form of leaderboards so you could track your progress on the speedrun circuit.
Finally, when playing on your TV, the GamePad has limited functionality that seems utterly pointless. The screen is translated into a radar of sorts to locate the Hooligan sisters, yet it breaks concentration moving your focus from the TV to the GamePad which will hurt if you are trying to beat a record.
Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition is a great case study for just how well a 3DS game can translate to the Wii U. The inclusion of the "Hyper" remixes of each level, along with amazing HD art is reason enough for fans to re-purchase this great platformer. WayForward played it safe, and it would have been nice to see some new levels, but all in all this is one of the best games on the eShop.