Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive EditionPosted at 12:00 pm on 11th December 2012 by Martyn Locker
Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition makes its way to the Wii U's eShop as a port of last year's downloadable 3DS hit, Mighty Switch Force! If you've already shelled out on and enjoyed the handheld alternative, you'll be wondering whether this HD remake features enough new content to warrant a second purchase - especially when taking its higher price tag into consideration. From a technical standpoint, Mighty Switch Force! on Wii U holds up at least as well as it did on 3DS.
Naturally, what the latest version of the game loses in the transition from handheld to home console is its charming use of the third dimension - which means no more eye tickling when you crush your ill-fated police officer between a platform and the screen - but this is arguably made up for by Wii U's High Definition output. WayForward's trademark hand-drawn sprites look absolutely glorious on both the big screen and the GamePad, where the smooth animations and beautifully detailed backgrounds pop in a way that just wasn't possible on the 3DS's lower resolution screen.
The use of the hardware - and the GamePad in particular - isn't exactly revolutionary, but as long as you don't mind forfeiting the 3DS game's portability (to an extent), Mighty Switch Force! feels like it 'fits' so much better on the Wii U. If you're playing on the TV, the GamePad's screen shows a radar which directs you to the nearest objective - the next escaped convict you, as Patricia Wagon, are tasked with tracking down and capturing. Having the option to play using just the GamePad is - as with many other Wii U games - a nice touch; with the lack of a second screen radar replaced by an icon which circles around the edge of the screen, pointing you in the right direction.
The gameplay itself remains unchanged since the original title, with its 'switch' mechanic - which alternates platforms between the foreground and the background - being used by the developers in some particularly clever and challenging ways; especially during the Hyper and Bonus Hyper stages.
With the addition of these Hyper and Bonus Hyper stages, the Wii U game boasts double the content, double the challenge and more than double the potential playtime you'll derive from this platformer. The original sixteen levels are here, as are the five downloadable Bonus levels - but each of these now have an unlockable, intensified Hyper version, which really push the whole 'switch' quirk to its boundaries. Yet somehow, despite samey environments and a fantastic-but-not-for-everyone soundtrack, WayForward has made the game feel fresh and compelling throughout its ten hour campaign. When you also consider the near-endless replay value that Mighty Switch Force! offers through its Par Times, which challenge you to beat each level within a very strict time limit, Hyper Drive Edition certainly does enough to justify the price tag, which has increased by a couple of quid since its 3DS debut.
At the end of the day, whether you purchase Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition should come down to whether you've played the 3DS version - and if so, what you thought of it. The Wii U game will undoubtedly be best enjoyed by those that have never experienced WayForward's 3DS delight in the past - not least due to the fact that you must play through each of the 3DS game's Incidents to unlock the Wii U's exclusive Hyper levels - but for those that have loved Mighty Switch Force! in its handheld form, be prepared to be wowed by its tight controls, fun gameplay and impeccable presentation all over again.