I’ve got a secret. Despite growing up in the 90’s I never had a NES or a SNES. I did have an original Gameboy which I loved but the Wii U and 2DS that I have gathering dust never quite clicked for me. I tuned into the Nintendo Switch announcement with some skepticism – and was immediately positively surprised by something that managed to look off the wall, new and surprisingly rational at once.
I’ve now had the Switch with Zelda Breath of the Wild and racing game Fast RMX for a weekend and while I’m nowhere near reviewing any of them my first impressions of the Switch are set. Nintendo claims the switch is a home console that’s versatile enough go with you – portable rather than mobile. I’ve got the opposite opinion. It’s a tablet with physically connectable controllers that has a dock to mirror onto the your TV. That’s not a bad thing just not quite what Nintendo make it out to be.
Lets talk ergonomics. The Switch has three control methods out of the box. Using the Joycons docked to the plastic controller, using them docked to the side of the screen and using them singly either as motion controllers or micro button controllers. As is usually the case if you design something for multiple uses it’s not perfect at any of them. In their quest to make the Joycons as tiny as possible and reversible Nintendo have made the shoulder buttons smaller than they should be, converted the D-Pad into standard buttons and moved the right hand joystick down below the buttons. So far the moved joystick is the biggest problem but I’m not sure yet if this is just habit or a more serious problem.
Much has been made about the lack of launch titles and the fact that at the time of writing there’s only one demo in the store (SnipperClips) is an issue. It’s less that there isn’t anything to play and more that the hardware isn’t be shown off at it’s best yet. The launch title 1-2 Switch is supposed to show off the movement capacities but at nearly forty pounds it’s too expensive for a bundle of mini games.
I don’t want to sound like I’m being too critical. It’s not review time yet but initial impressions of the Switch are of a well made and versatile device that sacrifices a few things to get that versatility but works anyway. Chances are that unless you’ve already pre-ordered the Switch you can’t get it in the near future and the next big releases are at the end of April for Mario Cart and early Summer for Splatoon 2 so you if Zelda hasn’t pulled you in you can afford to wait a little.
For me – I’m having a blast and should have full reviews up in a few days.