Mighty Switch Force review: Here's an interesting thing. Of the five original 3DS games that have been released in the eShop so far, three of them involve manipulating blocks. First came Pyramids which had you building and breaking blocks in order to find treasure, then there's the amazing Pullblox which sees you pushing and pulling blocks to rescue children and now we have Mighty Switch Force, the new game from the developers of DSiWare highlights Shantae Risky's Revenge and Mighty Flip Champs.
This isn't a sequel to Mighty Flip Champs, though. In Mighty Switch Force, the Hooligan Sisters have escaped from custody and are using an army of monsters to protect them. Playing as Officer Patricia Wagon, it's your job to capture them. Not that you'll necessarily know this at the beginning as the briefest of intros shows some women in giveaway stripy outfits emerging from a crashed vehicle with the monsters following them. You'll have to read the manual to find out the full story but you'll probably be too busy blasting monsters and switching blocks to care.
Unlike Pullblox in which every new trick is painstakingly explained to you by Papa Blox, Mighty Switch Force throws you straight in at the deep end and it's a good job too as while Intelligent System's puzzler features over 200 levels plus an create-a-level mode, there are only 16 levels to enjoy here so it needs a reasonably high difficulty level to justify the price.
And you will enjoy them greatly. The screenshots may make Mighty Switch Force look like an old school run and gun game but this mixes genres far more successfully than Pullblox. We've seen Pullblox described as part-platformer, part-puzzler but you don't need Mario-style leaping skills to complete the puzzles. This is a proper gamer's game as you'll need quick reactions as well as brain power to work out how to capture the sisters on each level.
You'll begin by shooting the monsters but you'll soon realise that you need to press R to make certain blocks transparent and others solid. This isn't just a case of creating platforms for you to jump over, you can also use the blocks to trap monsters and send them crashing into the screen in a brilliant 3D moment. Watch out though, it's very easy to trap yourself and lose one of your hearts, especially when you need to press R at the last minute to make sure you land on a block.
Later on, you'll be able to really test your skills by using launch blocks that send you flying into the air at the press of a button. You can also lure monsters into these launch blocks and send them flying into the concrete blocks to destroy them and reveal a hiding sister.
Doing this before quickly pressing R to switch a block for the monster to fly through, while watching out for falling enemies who wander through the newly transparent block takes some skill. As does timing your button presses as you fly through consecutive launch blocks.
The new types of blocks shake things up and prevent Mighty Switch Force from becoming repetitive. Not that there would be any danger of that for it is a short game. As tricky as some of these levels are, there are only 16 of them and although you can try and finish them quickly to reach the par time and get a star rating, this just replaces fun with frustration as you can't afford to make a single mistake. Yes, it is only £5.40 but Pullblox was the same price and that has far more content but perhaps it's an unfair comparison as there is far more going on in a Mighty Switch Force stage. While it lasts Mighty Switch Force is as enjoyable as Pullblox and far better than Pyramids. It's a cracking wee game packed with great ideas that wouldn't be out of place in a Mario platformer but it just needs more stages to make it gold.