It’s been nearly three months since the release of Nintendo Switch, so now is a great time to review the hardware, design, games, and online capabilities.
Hardware & Design
I love the design of the Nintendo Switch. The ease of switching between docked mode and handheld mode is effortless. And playing in either mode is enjoyable. I don’t bother with tabletop mode because I don’t think the kickstand angles the screen back far enough for it to be a comfortable experience. As far as the hardware itself, it’s amazing to think the entire system is housed inside a tablet. And that tablet is whisper-quiet, which is great. The HD graphics when it’s docked or in handheld mode are beautiful, in most cases. The only time they aren’t is if the developer cut corners when bringing a game to Switch; for example, NBA Playgrounds looks significantly worse in handheld mode. The speakers on the system are solid, the Joy-Cons are easy to use, even though the straps, which make it easier to press the shoulder buttons, are very difficult to remove. I highly recommend picking up a Pro Controller, as it’s my preferred way to play. The dock itself is a hollow plastic object that doesn’t feel as high-end as the rest of the device. However, it serves its purpose.
The launch lineup was solid – it featured something for everyone. But nearly everybody, including myself, played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the first month or two. After logging in nearly 50 hours, I beat Nintendo’s most epic and ambitious adventure to date and it was a pleasure. I look forward to revisiting Hyrule when the game’s DLC is made available later this year. Other highly-enjoyable games include Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, Puyo Puyo Tetris and Super Bomberman R. There are also a ton of great indie-games on Nintendo’s eShop, such as Fast RMX and Snake Pass. And additional stellar titles are set to be released in the coming months, including Splatoon 2, Arms, Skyrim, and Super Mario Odyssey.
Right now, the system’s online capabilities are limited to whatever developers are willing to offer within their games. It’s straight-forward, no-frills online gaming. This means you’re not able to communicate (i.e., talk) to those you’re playing with. Once Nintendo’s paid online service launches in the fall, the hope is that it will be more robust and that the company’s talked-about mobile app, which is supposed to take care of the communication issue, will make online gaming and interaction a breeze. Another mystery is Nintendo’s Virtual Console. We know nothing about when classic Nintendo games will be available in the eShop, what they will cost, what systems will be represented – nothing. However, many have speculated that this information will be revealed in June at E3, or at a subsequent Nintendo Direct this summer.
I love my Nintendo Switch! This is exactly what Nintendo needed at this stage in the company’s lifespan. They’ve been on top before and I believe that the Nintendo Switch will be just as popular as the Wii, if not more so. It’s built upon a brilliant concept that’s easy to understand, it’s affordably priced and it has third-party developer support. I look forward to seeing what the future months and years bring to Nintendo Switch. I have a feeling we’re all in for one hell of a ride – so enjoy it!