Reviews

Mighty Switch Force! Hose It Down!

Oh, how the Mighty have fallen. Mighty Switch Force! 1 saw you take control of Officer Patricia Wagon, tasked with catching the Hooligan Sisters across several levels of shooty platform puzzling action. The main gimmick was that by pressing a button platforms that were in the background came to the fore, whilst some that were previously in that foreground dropped back. It was clever, fun and fast-paced, although it could have done with a few more elements.

By the second game Wagon had moved into the fire service: her gun (and badge?) had been exchanged for a fire hose. That's where Mighty Switch Force! Hose It Down! picks things up. All the back/foreground swapping stuff and kinetic energy of the first two games is replaced by the kind of sliding block puzzles that give seasoned Professor Layton players nightmares.

 Patricia Wagon and a burning building, yesterday. Was the 'yesterday' thing ever funny?

Patricia Wagon and a burning building, yesterday. Was the 'yesterday' thing ever funny?

Now levels consist of Patricia Wagon in a fixed spot outside a building (very much like the screenshot above, actually). Dark grey tiles can be slid around to provide water channels for her fire hose to eradicate the flames. Light grey blocks are fixed and later levels include red tiles that can only be rotated, mud that can be blasted through after enough dousing and the dreaded pink tiles, which function like the dark grey ones, only you can't see what they do until you hit them with water (cheap, is what it is).

The graphics are cute, reusing a large number of assets (fnar fnar) from MSF!2 - actually to the point of being nonsensical, as some reward screens feature characters not in Hose It Down! The music has also undergone a copy and paste procedure, which is no bad thing. It controls fairly well, too - I played through the game on an iPhone 5C, far from the biggest iScreen out there, and had little trouble in that regard. The big issue is the length of the game.

 That Hooligan Sister at the top - Harriet, we think she's called - will drop when the mud is removed. She must be free to run to the right and escape the building.

That Hooligan Sister at the top - Harriet, we think she's called - will drop when the mud is removed. She must be free to run to the right and escape the building.

Your initial spend of £1.49/$1.99 nets you 25 levels that you could rip through in under 2 hours. Another 25 levels are available if you spend £0.79/$0.99: these are a little more challenging (no tutorial levels, see), but will last another two hours. If you're the kind of gamer that just wants to see all the content, you may as well put down your maracas, zip up your bag and head home at this point.

Perfectionists could try to beat the par times - some of which will take a lot of work, but do earn you a star on the level select screen, so that's a good thing - but that would be all. Once the best way to finish a level is found, all that's left is to do it faster and faster until you could do it in your sleep. What's there is fun, to be sure, but it's not quite enough... something it at least has in common with its older siblings.

Final Verdict: Hose It Down! is a fun experiment that mashes up a couple of puzzling genres to create something new and pretty well-designed. However, we've had longer meals, and some of the late-game puzzles are cheap. The wait for a great Mighty Switch Force! game continues.

5/10