Mighty Switch Force

Players shouldn’t be fooled by the bright colors and perky cast of blonde bombshells: The world of Mighty Switch Force makes 1984 seem utopian. In this totalitarian society, police have the ability to alter the fabric of reality on a whim. At the touch of a button, your cop character can toggle tiles in and out of the foreground, creating makeshift platforms, or smooshing anyone unfortunate enough to be sandwiched between them and the screen, which leads to a startling bug-on-a-windshield effect.

Each level’s goal is to retrieve a series of escaped convicts before extracting yourself in a police mech. The schlocky Saturday-morning-cartoon vibe permeates the entire game, with each stage ending in a whimsical snapshot, like a chibi cheesecake scene of lawless ladies washing a police car.

Mighty Switch Force gets a lot of mileage out of its simple mechanics. Stages grow increasingly complex as new types of blocks are introduced. Some can be set on altering trajectories, or launch those who get caught in them like barrels in Donkey Kong Country. In later levels, players flip tiles out of the way while shooting through the air, or use matter-shifting skills to reposition explosive enemies. While not particularly taxing, Mighty Switch Force gets bonus points for being one of the few puzzle/platformers without any text in its tutorial. The first level lets you muck about with the scenery outside the immediate playing field, smartly conveying the mechanics.

Where most games arbitrarily pad their running times, Mighty Switch Force is scant, lasting no more than two hours on the high end. The ride ends just as it’s getting interesting. A “par time” provides an optional goal, but it’s a lazy plea to add longevity, and few players will have the necessary resolve. It’s easy to get used to the sweet life of being above the laws of physics. When the credits roll, players won’t be ready for retirement.