Welcome to what is a bit of a continuation of my last week’s review of Sonic, as I have become a bit attached to this little console
It’s hard to think it’s been over a month since the last time I could post on here, as the majority of my time has been spent in either; a car, a plane, or a conference room. Needless to say, it’s been busy. While it wasn’t ideal, it did give me time to get reacquainted with a little beauty I let sit and collect dust.
Nintendo’s newest hybrid console seemed like something designed for me: a sleek next gen console, toting new motion controls, with the ability to go from stationary to mobile by removing it from a dock. Genius! A brand new Zelda game promised to come out at launch? Fantastic! Sign me up! I didn’t need to read about specs, battery life, or even if it will launch in different colors. I was sold all from a little presentation with poor translation.
Fast forward us a month to launch day, and I was walking out of the store with a new shiny toy to play with for the next month. The scent of fresh plastic, the satisfying click of the Joy-Con’s, the confusingly lack of manual for first party games...
Seriously, the excessive amount of empty real estate bugs me in the cases.
The console surprisingly felt solid in my hands, and barely saw the dock other than for an overnight charge. The compact analog sticks while in handheld mode had me concerned in the press videos, but those fears were quickly squashed within minutes of playing. This was the Nintendo console I was waiting for after the GameCube. But with all good things, it must come to an end. 100+ hours later and I finally defeated Calamity Ganon, finding my excitement dissipating along with him.
After owning the system for a month at that point, the lull in games became a nuisance. Lack of a solid online shop, along with substantial titles after launch, made the gaming plain a bit... Lackluster. Hamster’s Neo-Geo releases every week brought a grin to my face, but Metal Slug can only be played so many times before it gets stale. This was when the Switch went on the back burner as I played some titles that I had stacked up, taking a long nap in his cradle.
Now speed up a few months later, a few additional titles, and I found myself dusting off the little tablet one last time. I was going to be out of town for a week and needed something portable to keep me busy, which is precisely what I wanted this system for. A few new cartridges, and $140 in accessories later, and it was ready for it’s first big outing. I grabbed a Hori kick stand, a Hori hard shell carry case, a Pro Controller, and a Hori screen protector. (Which I’ll being reviewing sometime in the near future.) Most of these get used from day to day, especially the carrying case, but I was excited to take this baby out into the world.
Battery life was something that had me concerned, especially for long flights, as Nintendo would beat around the bush with a solid response. 6 hours with intense games (like Zelda), all the way up to 10+ hours with others (Blaster Master, Shovel Knight, etc.) Well, they were right in the ballpark guesstimations, nestling perfectly in the little time constraints. Of course you can do every little trick to squeeze some extra time out of it; airplane mode, lower brightness, and changing the background to black helped out a bit too. Yes, this baby is taking over as my go to portable. Sorry my little Fire Emblem 3DS XL....
Now, it would be a bold face lie to say I would be only playing this like a handheld, as it can grace my flat screen just as superbly! With a few little clicks of the tiny back nipples on the Joy-Con’s, you can remove the surprisingly cute controllers!
These babies just don’t feel comfortable in my hands. Too small, awkward, and sweat inducing just leave these better to be used for two player games. But of course, if you wish to play with a more conventional controller, Nintendo made sure to include this hybrid shell. Sliding the Joy-Con’s into the tracks located in the center will make this compact controller, which I honestly used for far longer than I originally anticipated. It was comfortable enough, and super light to hold.
The ability to do tabletop is another selling point in my book, as you can do multiplayer practically anywhere you go! As I mentioned above, you can use each individual Joy-Con as a separate controller, reminiscent to the days of NES. My nephews would play Metal Slug multiplayer together, as well as some King of Fighters titles. Most recently, we’ve been enjoying the Namco Museum two player modes as you can never go wrong with some Dig Dug.
So, time for final thoughts.
Pros: Quality build, with a fantastic display to boot. The inclusion of a USB Type C charging port is a fantastic departure from proprietory chargers. Joy-Cons feel nice, and play fantastically when docked in either the console or controller shell.
Cons: The eShop as a whole is lackluster right now, but can easily change once the subscription service begins. The library at the moment is still filled with ports, quick play titles, and indie games (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.) The material used for the Joy-Con causes my hands to sweat profusely, and the matte finish wears off easily.
Final Verdict: For still being in it’s infancy, the Switch is off to a great start. After putting countless hours into the system, it is not surprising to see why it is still flying off the shelf, and probably the best Nintendo console since the GameCube. The ported titles are not bad; Mario Kart, Lego City Undercover, Shovel Knight, and Disgaea 5 are all solid games and perform really well for on the go gaming.
Short answer, the Switch is a system that I think all gamers should own. It may not be your primary system, but it offers something different from your PS4, Xbox One, and PC.