After the great travesty that was the Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo really had to knock it out of the park with their next console. With another crazy concept, the Switch was born, and it was shaping up to be something quite interesting. Finally getting my hands on one at launch, my first reaction is wow!
Opening the box you are greeted to your new console and Joy-con controllers all nicely packaged up waiting to be turned on. underneath the first layer you will find the dock, the joy-con pad, wrist straps and the charger and HDMI cables. Turning the console on you are asked to attach the joy-cons, after hearing the satisfying clicks when they’re attached, you go through the setup.
The Switch itself has a power button, volume rocker, headphone jack and game card slot on top, the charging port on the bottom and a Micro SD slot on the back, underneath a small fold out stand so you can play at a desk or table with the joy-cons detached. The joy-cons both have 4 buttons on the front, a home button on the right joy-con and a screen capture button on the left, a control stick and 2 shoulder buttons. They also have 2 “hidden” buttons for when being used on the side. They also feature HD rumble, which is similar to haptic feedback in new iPhones and they can detect motions. Because both controllers can be detached from the console and have all features, they can be used for multiplayer ames without buying extra controllers.
The user interface is very simple, which is fantastic as its not cluttered with offers and useless information.
Games are displayed in big squares in the middle of the screen and 6 bubbles underneath for news, eShop, and settings and more. It can be navigated with both the joy-cons or by touch. The UI is fast and fluid, which is a massive difference compared to the WiiU home menu. At the moment you can choose between a black or white theme but it looks like there will be more in a future update. The day one update adds online support to the console, the eShop and the ability to add friends.
Unfortunately the friend code system is back, but this its much simpler to add your friends as you don’t need exchange both codes to add each other. You can also add locally or players you’ve recently played with.
Unlike the Wii, the Switch does not come with a game inside the box, but after the day one update the eShop is open to download some games to play. Two games I’d recommend buying are The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Fast RMX. Both games are brilliant and will definitely get you into the Switch and the way its played. Switching from handheld mode to TV is seamless, detaching the joy-cons and sliding into the dock the screen instantly goes to the TV. It is your choice whether to use joy-cons separate or the joy-con pad.
Nintendo did also release the pro controller for the Switch so you have another way to play if you’d rather a change from the joy-cons. The battery life in handheld mode is about 3 hours, which is not great if on a long car journey or away from the charger. I’d definitely recommend a portable powerbank and a USB-C cable while on the go.
Overall the Switch is a great console, I’ve really enjoyed playing the launch titles so far, the controls are fantastic and I recommend the bright colourful colours of the Neon joy-cons. The only slight problems are with the accessories that come with the console, the joy-con pad doesn’t charge the joy-cons while playing although Nintendo have released a battery charging version. The wrist strap attachments fit on both joy-cons but if you’re not concentrating on the way you put them on, you could damage your joy-con easily.
So, if someone were to ask me whether to purchase the Switch, I’d say definitely. With great launch titles so far and the new games coming out soon Nintendo really hit the nail on the head this time.