Mega Man's spiritual progeny is a charming little game called Mighty Switch Force. It’s short and easy enough to get into that you could tackle it on toilet breaks.
Mighty Switch Force (Nintendo 3DS eShop)
What is it? An old-school platformer from WayForward Technologies where you play as the sexy robocop Patricia Wagon and chase down the scantily clad Hooligan Sisters who’ve escaped from prison.
Why you might like it: The cursory explanation above is about the only exposition you get; the focus is all on the gameplay. The title also doesn’t make you sit through some helper character’s tedious explanation of how to press B to shoot your blaster. After a short cut-scene, level one immediately has you running, gunning, and using your silly siren hat to toggle the solidity of boxes to jump on. It assumes that you’re smart enough to figure out how to play a 2D platformer.
This approach reminds me of a recent Mega Man X fan video. It pays tribute to the Super Nintendo side scroller’s intro stage for letting the player figure out how to navigate instead of swamping him with prerequisite in-game lectures. The design of Mighty Switch Force isn’t as nuanced as Capcom’s classic, but it maintains a similar hands-off philosophy. Besides, what do you expect from a $5.99 downloadable title?
If you're looking for 16 quick-paced levels with a pleasant learning and challenge curve, then you're in luck. Fans of the similarly styled Drill Dozer, a rumbling Game Boy Advance title from Pokémon developer Game Freak, might want to check out Mighty Switch Force as well.
Why you might not like it: You can beat the entire game in a day…maybe two if you want to go back and complete all of the levels under the par time. Plus, Mighty Switch Force has an unnecessary amount of sex appeal. Does the lead heroine, who’s already wearing a one-piece bathing suit, really need to strip, err, power down, to her undies when dying, à la Samus in Metroid? And those sexily dressed escaped female convicts…what kind of prison are they fleeing from, exactly?
Still, if you’re looking for a short, old-school romp with some subtle 3D flair, I’d recommend spending half the price of a movie ticket on an evening playing through Mighty Switch Force.
Disclaimer: Nintendo provided me with a free code to download this game.