Robots, Fires, and Pipes – Mighty Switch Force! Soak Patrol! Review.
It seems work is never quite done for cybernetic police officer-turned-firefighter Patricia Wagon (get the pun, there?), protagonist of WayForward’s “Mighty Switch Force!” series. For two games, Officer Wagon has been risking life and limb in the form of extreme puzzle platforming, ensuring the protection of all citizens of Planet Land. While one might think that all of this hard work would have seen an end to Planet Land’s peril, trouble has once again presented itself to Patricia. With fires springing up everywhere in Planet Land’s very own Tangent City, Wagon once again dons her Planet Land Fire Brigade attire and rushes off toward danger. Things, however, will work a little differently this time around.
While the first two “Mighty Switch Force!” games focused on a mix of precision platforming, quick reflexes, and puzzles which often required the use of Wagon’s ability to shift objects between different planes of reality, “Mighty Switch Force! Hose it Down” instead chooses solely to focus on “pipe-based” puzzles (similar to those found in the classic game Pipe Mania!, or the hacking portions of the first BioShock) to get the job done. Instead of controlling Patricia herself, players use the touch screen to manipulate the pipes on-screen in order to guide the water from Patricia’s Infinity Dowsing Apparatus (or I GUESS you could call it a firehose) to the various fires within each building.
The levels start out relatively easily, and manage to show players the basics without holding their hand through things. As things progress however, levels quickly become more and more challenging. The game is divided into 25 levels, comprised of 5 sections with five levels each. Every new section is not only more difficult than the last, but adds new kinds of blocks into the mix of each puzzle as well. A few of the new obstacles added throughout the game include mud blocks, which can be destroyed but take take time to do so, and red-colored pipe blocks which can be manipulated to change direction but cannot actually be moved around like their standard counterparts. The final level of each section also has Wagon saving one of the series’ iconic Hooligan Sisters, former criminals in the first “Mighty Switch Force!” who have since gone straight, as an added challenge in addition to the standard fire dowsing.
Rather than getting pipes lined up for Patricia, saving a Hooligan Sister requires the player to move around blocks so that the sister-in-peril may drop to the bottom floor of the building and escape. As an added challenge, each level also has a time-based goal which will most likely have players consistently going back to levels in order to obtain better times which helps extend the game’s longevity.
The levels are genuinely enjoyable overall, but with only 25 puzzles, things could be over a bit quickly, even with the time challenges – especially to those proficient in Puzzlers. For those still wanting more, there was a Day 1 DLC pack featuring an extra 25 levels (effectively doubling the game’s length) for a mere $0.99. With the game itself only being $1.99, it’s somewhat puzzling (no pun intended) why they weren’t just combined from the get-go. While the lower price is nice, certain mobile gamers are sure to get upset at being able to purchase something in a brand-new game that you had itself just purchased.
While the game doesn’t offer much of a scenic view, the graphics are still pleasant, with a nice blend of higher-quality and semi-retro graphics. Both Patricia and the Hooligan Sisters are animated with expression (including idle animations), and there are even visible particles from the fires being blown around.
Composer Jake Kaufman, the man behind the “Mighty Switch Force!” series (among many others) lends his talent once again in “Hose it Down!” Those familiar with the game’s music will be happy to hear familiar songs such as MSF1’s “Break Up Take Down”, MSF2’s “Soft Collision”, and more. If the game’s fast gameplay didn’t already feel exciting enough, the inclusion of Kaufman’s music most likely will.
All-in-all, “Mighty Switch Force! Hose it Down!” Is a charming puzzle game, and a testament to the series in its own way. While not what MSF fans are used to, a $1.99 game with all of the charm of the series isn’t really a bad thing. While possibly not a must-have for MSF fans, the game holds up well, is easy to get into at any time, and is definitely at least worth looking into.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: iPhone (reviewed), iPad ; Publisher: WayForward ; Developer: WayForward ; Players: 1 ; Released: February 12, 2015; Genre: Puzzler; MSRP: $1.99
Note: This review was based on Xbox One retail code provided by the game’s publisher, WayForward.