In a time where things like VR and 4K gaming are becoming more available, you’d think that there is little room for innovation. Nintendo begs to differ however, with the Nintendo Switch, with the ability to take your games anywhere, at anytime, to play with anyone!
The time is finally near, the release of a new Nintendo aonsole is so exciting. Though will the Nintendo Switch be able to Switch up your gaming enjoyment, or will stock remain unmoved. Find out in our review, after the break!
Before we begin, I would just love to say a massive thank you to Pretty Green and Nintendo themselves, who were generous enough to provide us with a Nintendo Switch unit to review. We really appreciate it!
So, what is the Nintendo Switch? The Switch is Nintendo’s latest dedicated gaming platform, where the main selling point is the ability to play any game released on the Switch either at home, on the big screen, or on the go. Not only that, but the new controllers come packed full of new features like HD Rumble and an IR camera.
First impression? Wow, that box is small, are you sure that has a next generation console packed inside? Yes, it does. The Nintendo Switch is a pretty small console, which kinda makes it amazing with what exactly it can do. When you purchase a Nintendo Switch, you will find the console, a pair of JoyCons, a pair of JoyCon straps, a JoyCon Grip, the Nintendo Switch Dock, a HDMI cable, and the AC adaptor.
Unfortunately there is no pack-in game this time round, unlike the Wii and Wii U, so some people may be wary about the £280 price tag. I’ll be honest, the price does seem a bit high, but when you realise how much technology is inside the console and the JoyCons, you may find that the price point is a bit justified. It isn’t the best price, but it isn’t necessarily unfair either.
The console itself is small, so it should fit nicely anywhere in your living room. I especially love how the dock is laid out. All the main sockets behind a panel, which has a hole on the side. This means that you do not have to worry about any fraying of the cable coating if it the dock is positioned awkwardly. It’s also very easy to put the Switch into the dock thank to some guiding pins, which make it align bettter with the socket.
I’m not that savvy when it comes to the technical details, so I shall keep this short, but it is clear that you will not get unrealistically realistic graphics with the Switch, which is actually okay with me. When docked, the Nintendo Switch can reach up to 1080p resolutions at 60FPS, which is still pretty decent if you ask me. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild looks absolutely stunning on the Switch. I cannot wait to get my hands on more games just to see how well Nintendo, as well as other developers, are able to take advantage of what’s available. Unfortunately the internal memory is on the small side as you are only given 32GB. You can however expand this to up to 2TB by using a MicroSD Card, though these can still be a bit pricey.
Setting up the console was almost as east as making toast. Just plug it in, answer a few questions to set the console up, and then you are ready to go. The UI (User Interface) is really sleek, and is fully responsive, and everything you need is easily accessible from the Home screen. This includes your games, latest Nintendo News, the eShop, and accessories to your system settings. It seems like any software can be suspended temporarily to go to the full Home Menu by holding the Home button for a few seconds, and you don’t even have to close the game completely to change your system settings.
As I said earlier, the main selling point of the Switch, is the ability to take the game from the TV anywhere at any time, something Nintendo dubs as ‘Switch and Play’. Let’s say that I am playing Breath of the Wild, and all of a sudden I remember that I need to catch the train to meet up with one of my non-existing friends.
With the Switch, all I have to do is just remove the console from the dock, slide in the JoyCon controllers, and the game can instantly be played on the small screen. You don’t even have to press a button or change any settings, the gameplay will be transferred as soon as the Switch is undocked, and it will do the same when you put it back. I am very much impressed with how quickly the gameplay transitions between the TV and the Switch. To transfer to the Switch, it takes around a second. It takes just a bit longer to go back to the TV, but only by another second or two. This is most likely due to the ‘overclocking’ and functionality of the TV.
I found that, while playing Breath of the Wild on full brightness and Wireless turned on, the Switch would last for about three and a half hours before it went to sleep. It then takes roughly three or four hours to charge in sleep mode in the dock, a few hours longer if you were to still be playing it. You can also plug any USB C cable into the Switch and a power source, such as USB plug or a powerbank, to charge the console.
The Nintendo Switch screen may seem small, but it is the perfect size for portable play, and boy does it look beautiful. It boasts 720p resolution, and is a captive touch screen, which feels very responsive. The JoyCons slide right into the sides of the console allowing you to hold the console and play, not only that, but it also automatically plays the now iconic Switch Click when the JoyCons slide in. Though the console is nice and light, you may want more freedom with where you put your hands. In which case, just slide the JoyCons out, release the kickstand behind the console, and you can prop the Switch up while playing with the JoyCons in the grip, on their own, or even the Switch Pro Controller.
One issue with the Wii U GamePad was the fact that it kinda looks and feels like a toy. The Nintendo Switch however, feels a lot like a really nice piece of technology. It also feels very sturdy, and when the JoyCons are inserted, it doesn’t feel like they may accidentally slide off again easily.
Now, let’s say that I have finally arrive at my hypothetical friend’s house and they want to play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with me, but she doesn’t have a Nintendo Switch herself. It can still be done. Just prop up the Switch with the kick stand, give her a JoyCon, and you’re ready to play multiplayer Mario Kart on one Switch.
Some games may even allow up to eight players to play on the same Switch screen at the same time, though sometimes you may want to tell your friends to stop mooching of your console and get their own Nintendo Switch as you can also connect up to eight consoles through local wireless play, perfect for a Platoon 2 tournament on the way to a field trip at the zoo! Unfortunately I have been unable to try out multiplayer in portable mode yet, both on one console or connected to many, though the feature does seem very exciting. I will update this review once I get a chance to try this out.
You keep seeing the word JoyCon scattered around this review, but you may also be wondering just what the heck a JoyCon is. Each Switch comes with a pair of JoyCons, which are the default controllers for the console. Think the Wii Remote redefined. Though they seem fairly small and diddy, the JoyCons are surprising comfortable to hold, and conform very nicely in your hands. I have fairly large hands and long fingers, and they were still comfy to hold. The layout of the buttons and sticks are perfect too, as you do not have to reach far with your thumb to control either. My only issue is the fact that the face buttons are a bit on the small side, and that each D Pad button is a separate button.
You can either hold each one upright in either hand, or you can hold one on it’s side like a NES controller. They take a tiny bit of getting used to when they are on their side, but it’s kind of similar to playing a Gameboy, but with a joystick instead of a D Pad. Though they are pretty cool to use on their side, I can see the joystick becoming an issue to 2D sidescroller games. Unfortunately I did not have access to a Switch Pro Controller.
The JoyCons also come equip with motion controls, HD Rumble, a NFC Reader/Writer, and an IR Camera. The motion controls work very well when aiming in Breath of the Wild, so I have high hopes of games where motion controls are more important. The HD Rumble is a feature where you can feel precise vibrations in the JoyCon, to the extent where the vibration feels very realistic. For example, being able to feel how many balls are in a box and where they are rolling. Unfortunately I did not have access to any games that utilised this feature, or the IR Camera, but I will update this review when I do. There is also a capture button which, if pressed, will instantly take a screenshot of the game you are in. Nintendo promises to add video capture in a future update.
Overall the Switch is an amazing new console from Nintendo that really switches up the gaming experience. The ability to take your games on the go and play them anywhere in a streamlined fashion is amazing, and the idea of being able to play multiplayer on one console while on the go is really exciting. The console also feels very sleek and like a proper piece of technology, and the JoyCons are super comfortable to hold.
My only issues are that some of the face buttons of the JoyCons are a bit too small, and the fact you only get 32GB worth of internal storage feels a bit stingy. Though the price is fair, it may be slightly on the pricey side for some, aside from that, the Switch is a brilliant console, and I cannot wait to see what else is to come to the Nintendo Switch.
We would definitely recommend the Nintendo Switch.
Final Rating – 4.5 out of 5
The Nintendo Switch will be released on Friday 3rd March 2017 in Europe, North America, and other territories around the world.