Mighty Switch Force 2: Incident 14 and the Rhythm of Thought
The best of Mighty Switch Force 2's puzzles evoke a sense of rhythm. In these puzzles, your thumb rocks back and forth between the jump button and the switch button. The timing of these presses is influenced by how quickly you move through the environment, which is largely determined by the directional pad.
At the press of the switch button, Mighty Switch Force 2 switches back and forth between two phases. If a block appears on one phase, it will not be present on the other phase.
Phase 1 and phase 2. When you switch phases, solid blocks become pass-through and pass-through blocks become solid.
This simplicity aids the gameplay's rhythm; with only two phases to choose from, you'll never linger too long on the switch button without rolling back to the jump button. On the flip side, almost every jump involves blocks that phase in and out, so you can't get far by jumping alone. In short, the game keeps you bouncing back and forth between the jump and switch buttons.
Unless you've memorized the level's solutions, part of the rhythm is looking ahead and thinking. Before you do any jumping or switching, you've got to figure out exactly where to jump and when to switch.
The height of this rhythmic thinking comes in scenario 14.
Eventually, Mighty Switch Force 2 introduces three colored blocks: red, blue and green. These blocks follow the rules of phasing in and out, but you can assign a color to a certain phase so long as you're standing on it. The colors work independently, too, so if you wanted green and red on one phase and blue on the other, that'd work; if you wanted red, blue and green all on the same phase, that'd be fine as well.
From the top of the first pair of blocks (at the bottom right), you need to observe two things. First, there's the immediate future, or how to make your next jump to the second pair of blocks, which are up and to the left. Then, there's the far future, or how you'll jump from the blocks on the left to the third pair of blocks, which are currently directly above you.
For the immediate future, red cannot be on the same phase as green, or else you can't jump to the next pair of blocks (the second pair). That's because you can't jump high enough to reach the red block. So, you need to land on top of the green block, which requires red being off while green is on—the two must be on different phases. This is the immediate future; if you can't solve this puzzle, you can't make a single step forward from the bottom pair of blocks.
Second, for the blocks right above you (the third pair of blocks), blue and green cannot be on the same phase; you can't jump high enough to reach the blue block, so you'll need to scramble on top of the green block. This requires blue being off while green is on—the two must be on different phases. This takes place after the puzzle with the second pair, placing it in the far future.
So, while standing on top of the first pair of blocks at the bottom, you must recognize two things: first, that red cannot share a phase with green, and second, that blue cannot share a phase with green. Because there are only two phases, blue and red will share a phase, so both blocks in the first pair must be on the same phase. In recognizing this, you are solving the immediate puzzle and planning for the far future.
(This planning must take place while standing on the first pair of blocks due to the arrangement of color blocks.)
This establishes a rhythm of thought; when one puzzle is solved, the far future becomes the immediate future, and a new far future is introduced. It's this constant move of puzzles from the far future to the immediate future to the past that creates a rhythm. You don't just encounter one puzzle and then solve it right away; instead, you solve one puzzle (the immediate future) and plan for another (the far future), creating a back-and-forth of thought much like the rhythm of jumping and switching in normal gameplay.