Change…it’s always been slowly slowly, softly softly for Nintendo hasn’t it. Well, at least when it’s concerning changes that Nintendo themselves didn’t initiate anyway. Earlier this year, in preparation for the E3 reveal and eventual launch of the Wii U, Nintendo announced they were getting serious about online. With improved online functionality for the 3DS, along with the eshop, a robust online infrastructure for the Wii U including downloadable full on retail games, an app store, and regular DLC. I’m as happy with this as any Nintendo fan but at this stage I’m taking the ‘believe it when I see it’ approach. However, the first developer to jump off the DLC starting block has turned out to be WayForward technologies with add-on content for Mighty Switch Force. They’ve been kind enough to release 5 new levels (going some way to addressing my one real gripe with the original game) along with an improvement to the 3D effect. What’s more, this will be the first of a series of add-on packs and…it’s FREE! Let’s see how they’ve done with installment number one. The 5 new levels provide a much needed boost to the game’s longevity, clocking in at an extra 30 minutes of play time to get through all 5 levels first time (theoretically it would only take you 7-10 minutes if you could beat the par times first try!). Of course replaying the levels to best your previous times and with the upgraded gun will give you even more time. It may not seem like a great deal but I think it’s enough to tide you over and given that the original release only had 16 levels anyway, it’s a worthy addition, especially with the promise of more add-ons down the road.
Gameplay wise it’s very much more of the same. The level design is of the same standard you’d have got from the original 16 levels, though two of the levels are absolute stand outs. The 3rd level in particular is an absolute maze of zip blocks which will leave your head spinning. I took over 10 minutes to beat it on my first try! The brief for the level/puzzle design seems to have been; take a concept from the original release (standard blocks, red/blue blocks, zip blocks etc…) and go nuts with it! They essentially revolve around one of the core concepts, much like the original levels and up the intensity, making them more challenging, bigger in scope, and overall more rewarding.
I can’t say I noticed a massive improvement in the 3D effect which was promised. However, the overall image seems to have been improved in quality, the whole thing just looks a bit crisper than before. Unfortunately, short of getting hold of another 3DS with an un-updated version of MSF, there isn’t really a way to compare the old and new visuals as the update applies this upgrade to all the previous levels as well…not that I’m complaining!
So all in all, a solid first effort from WayForward. Yes only 5 levels does seem like a little too small an addition but it’s the first in a series of add-ons and it’s free! If you own a copy of Mighty Switch Force, head to the eshop and let it take you through the update….did I mention it’s free??