The Musical Story of Mighty Switch Force! 2

In games, music is often treated as its own layer, unmerged with the core development but having select phases of fit and adaptability. Because of this independent approach, it’s often the case where audio design is sidelined as a lesser component. Even grave compromises in this area are permitted, so long as gameplay executions are in order.

The irony, after shoving such production to the rear, is that were it not for audio, the opportunity for redemption would be lost in some projects. Games believed to be atrocious in quality can still have that silver lining of stand-out audio. Still, out of respect for the craft, audio design should not be seen as a commodity, nor something to be wagered. Rather, strong audio design that serves a complementary role to the game at large lends to a greater depth of entry, engagement and response. Ultimately, shorter gaps between audio and other facets of the development stream will give rise to greater symbiosis.

The beckoning force that guides WayForward’s Mighty Switch Force! 2 is not a product of accident. It is a game that challenges the role audio should serve in projects with more measured execution – that of being more than mandated decoration. Think full embodiment. Having a strong precedent to follow in the first game, Mighty Switch Force! 2 adopts a highly disciplined format of puzzle-platforming with repeating themes of patrolling and criminal apprehension. Both games are equally coordinated in how they approach their mechanical design, blending action-puzzle and run-and-gun styles.

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Most remarkably, Mighty Switch Force! 2 coordinates design motif with audio design that heavily partakes of and assumes its themes. The process of according the soundtrack such authority, whereby physical elements essentially take on audio-based properties, creates fibers that are not solely support but really are in symbol of the game world. This communicative story and decided representation is what makes Mighty Switch Force! 2‘s audio design such an essential beacon to the core ideas on display. The game would have you believe its pace is defined by the placement of enemies and perfectionist time limits that leave you breathless. But as in the original, that control is given to the soundtrack, and it channels this through a collection of frenetic, happy-hardcore tracks rich in bass and bubbly in personality, each a counterpart of a track from the original game’s soundtrack.

Much conveyed is an un-silenced sense of commotion that, as the musical story tells, is carried across varying districts within a futuristic citadel. Some commonalities do exist in what’s built into each song in the way of blended sound effects — namely, high-note piano, whooping and chopped sirens, and the like. The location remains the same also. But with policing taking on added meaning in the sequel, this has meant a change in setting and tone. The story told through the original’s soundtrack was that of a nightlife scene, with music capturing high-speed pursuits on highways rife with traffic, on-standby police forces suddenly thrown into a frenzied panic over a sudden attack, and strolls into entertainment hubs with flashy billboards and lively sights.

Mighty Switch Force! 2 focuses on concentrating the overarching firefighting theme through sound, beginning with a more electric and erratic energy on surface, and ending with a free-spirited, tropical-like atmosphere. Ladders may be physically absent from the game design, but the soundtrack represents this in song through tracks that exhibit steady climbs and sparkling build-ups, the first stage theme conveying the idea that you’re contributing to a new shine and glitter of the world around you. Eschewing the climactic and instead sinking into jumpy sounds, what follows are pronounced tracks that get you in the mind of being part of an organized brigade, performing rescues with flare and an overwhelming optimism. These stand alongside tracks where urgency comes to the fore as a reminder that there’s no time to waste.

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In company with Patty’s vocal mentions of the scorching heat, the fire engine horns, alarm sounds and cheery piano streams all do a good job of cementing the summery, daytime atmosphere of the game without it turning players idle. All are used to generate enthusiasm and adrenalin, even on the odd occasions when a pause must be taken to sort out how to physically navigate the environment in connection with the switch puzzles. Though dealing with the elements, robotic vibes are found sprouting in nearly every track, taking the form of disguised chatter, static and beat drops against the electronic euphoria. Established is an imminent takeover of the environment even while enemy forces aren’t found in chaotic supply, and done to harness both a spirit of haste and dance, the latter being tied to a blend of techno and disco in later tracks. Sensed are posses of robots booting up, chases through industrial facilities, 80s roller disco dance-offs and underground clubs with dashing strobe lights, all while building raids continue on.

Through this audio design, the secret life of Mighty Switch Force! 2‘s world is put on such rich display, igniting a subtle spark even in the way of player methodology. Without it, a great deal of its spunk and charisma would not erupt, and its backdrop would go unrepresented. Indeed, its audio design beckons players to the game world and aids mightily in the immersion created by its comprehensive production. On its own, the soundtrack deserves credit, as do its clever design ideas. Put together, they are essential components to Mighty Switch Force! 2‘s whole, and it is this holistic treatment that earns the game its flames as a complete story.