Spoiler: I like it
Image: Cnet

The Hardware

I am extremely impressed with the physical aspects of the console for the most part. Nintendo often releases subpar versions of their consoles at first, especially the portable systems (looking at you GBA, DS, and NES Classic with your shitty cords). Not so here. The Switch feels great, and if you got it in grey like I did, doesn’t look or feel like a kids toy. It has a nice heft to it and the whole thing doesn’t feel flimsy or cheap.

My only complaints are with the screen and the size of the joy cons. The screen on the Switch feels cheap. The actual picture is fine, but you can tell when you touch the screen it isn’t high-quality glass, but rather dull plastic. The plastic screen just feels cheap especially compared to my Vita’s OLED screen. I am not sure how this affects scratching, but I feel like the soft feeling plastic would be easy to scratch. I was so worried that I rush ordered a tempered glass screen protector from Amazon which gave me peace of mind and improved the feel of the screen.

The individual components of the Joy Cons are great: the buttons feel nice when you press them, the triggers are responsive, and the analog sticks work well. However, the joy cons are just too small for an adult male’s hands making my hands feel cramped. This is especially apparent anytime I want to use the directional buttons (why didn’t you guys just include a d-pad?) as I have to hook my thumb in a painful way. This really sucks for 2-d games because it means I will play most of them with my Switch docked to avoid the awful thumb hook-grip. The Joy Con Grip controller is way too small as well. It feels much more narrow than the Xbox controller I am used to. When using it my whole torso feels weird because I have to press my arms down to my sides to get a proper grip on the thing. These are sort of nitpicks because I am sure that there will be some accessories that relieve my issues, and once I get a pro controller or something it’ll be ok. Any suggestions on cheaper third-party controllers are welcome in the comments!

Too Small
Image: Polygon

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The actual battery life has worked well for me so far. I haven’t taken the Switch on any long trips or anything, but it lasts me the two hours I want to play it at a time easily and I kinda love the feeling of tucking it into its dock for it to recharge. Sure I wished this thing lasted forever and I will probably get an external battery if I ever take a long trip, but for everyday use, the battery suits me just fine.

Additionally, I am impressed with how easy the switch(no pun intended) from docked to handheld and back is. There is hardly any wait time from dropping the Switch in the dock and playing it on the TV. It works great. Good job Nintendo.

The Software

I’ve played four games on my Switch so far: Zelda BOTW, Skyrim, Stardew Valley, and Fortnight. I am not going to talk about Zelda much because it feels like it was made for the switch, works great. I think talking about Skyrim, Stardew, and Fortnight is more interesting because I have some experience with all the games in some way or another.

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Skyrim: A Great Game, A Lazy Port

I only played about 12 hours of Skyrim on the switch. My local library had it and I just wanted to see how it ran and felt on the Switch. I was one of those people who was actually excited for Skyrim to come to Switch; after playing Persona 4 on my Vita, I want all my 80+ hour RPGs to be portable. It is a good port, but not a great one. Skyrim ran well, with no game-breaking bugs or slowdowns. But there were bugs. Some of those bugs I remember from the first time I played Skyrim. Tolerance with that will vary. My take: Skyrim is a great game, but Bethesda can be really lazy. Its weird too because this is not a just a straight up copy/paste job, Bethesda added stuff for the switch version. This includes some amiibo costumes and motion controls. The motion controls are actually pretty fun for a bit in the first person. The other issue is the text size. It is so tiny in handheld mode. It feels like nobody at Bethesda tried this thing in handheld because it feels and looks great on the TV, but the text is a pain in the neck in a handheld. Overall I am not going to play more Skyrim right now because I have Zelda, but if and when I do go back to Skyrim, the Switch version is a perfectly fine way to do it.

Stardew Valley: Farming On the Go

Stardew Valley never felt right for me on the PC because I found the relaxing nature of the game conflicted with sitting in my office chair and using a mouse and keyboard. This game always felt like it was made for a handheld. At first, I thought the Vita would be the perfect platform, but the Switch is where Stardew truly belongs. If for whatever reason, I want to use a TV or monitor I can, but I play this game 90% in handheld mode laying on the couch or my bed. This game really works as a portable experience because its relaxing nature makes me want to play it for a little bit at a time every day after work or school. I am sure some people play this game for hours at a time straight, but I find it works best by playing a few in-game days at a time. The pixel art looks great on the Switch’s small screen and unlike Skyrim or Fortnight, I never missed playing it on a bigger screen. Playing Stardew Valley on the switch reminds me in all the right ways of playing Friends of Mineral Town on the GBA. The farming game just feels at home on the Switch.

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Fortnite: Social Shooter

I am not a serious Fortnite player. In fact, before getting a Switch I had played two games on my Xbox and laptop and decided it wasn’t for me. I am not crazy about multiplayer shooters normally and I never loved the artstyle of Fortnite. But the Switch made the shooter click for me because it made it a more social, spur of the moment game. My roommates play Fortnite almost non-stop. They normally play together int he living room, one on Xbox the other on PC. Since I never play more than two rounds in a row, setting up my laptop always seemed like a lot of work for maybe 30 mins of playtime. Now, I see them playing and turn on my Switch and sit on the couch for a round or two. It is easy. They both look at me like I am crazy for playing on a small screen, but for a game like Fortnite, which I do not take too seriously, it feels fine. The art style and simple mechanics seem at home on the Switch. If it wasn’t for the Switch I would not have gotten into Fortnite at all. Now, I play it socially, and I am grateful for the Switch for letting me do that cross-platform.

Well, that’s all I have really. I am really liking my Switch so far! It feels like the system I always wanted my Vita to be. If you have any recommendations on accessories or games I need to get, let me know.