Game Console Review: The Nintendo Switch

I barely managed to get my hands on the Nintendo Switch right before they were all sold out in my area. I’ve played it all last weekend and I wanted to quickly give you my thoughts on Nintendo’s latest gaming system.

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Well, let me back up. I didn’t actually manage to get my hands on the Switch. I can’t even begin to talk about this console without thanking my in-laws. I was at work all day Friday and I was sweating bullets about not being able to get the Switch. I found a store that had about 10 left in stock and they were “flying off the shelves.” So, I called my wife, who called my in-laws, who just happened to be coming into town that day for completely different purposes. So, shout out to my in-laws who braved the madness and got the LAST Nintendo Switch from the last store that was selling them in my area.

You guys saved my life.

(PS – I paid them back.)

The Console

The first thing that amazed me was how small the Nintendo Switch was. I mean, the entire console is contained in a small handheld tablet. That’s it! The entire console is the tablet! The Wii U GamePad is as big as the Switch console and dock all by itself. So, the size of this device immediately impressed me.

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And even though it is small, the Switch runs impressively well. Sliding the Switch into its dock to play on the TV or conversely sliding it out of the dock to play remotely is seamless. The TV goes blank and immediately resumes play on the Switch’s screen. I cannot stress how flawless the transition is.

img_7460Also, the Joy-Con. I was a little nervous about how small they seemed (and they are indeed small, in able to fit on the Switch’s surprisingly light and compact frame) but the Joy-Con fit nicely in your hand. Sliding the Joy-Con onto and off of the Switch is pretty smooth and the “click” of them clicking into place is oh-so-satisfying. The system comes with two Joy-Con (the left and right), and you can buy additional Joy-Con at around $80 for a pair or around $40 for a single side (right or left).

The only problem I’ve had with the Joy-Con is that they sometimes get stuck in the wrist strap accessories. Also, make sure you click the white lever (if it can be called such) into place when fastening the Joy-Con to the wrist strap. Otherwise, your Joy-Con may go flying across the room.

I’ll also say that I had a little bit of a hard time getting used to the two control sticks being on different planes than one another when playing on the Switch or the separate controller attachment. You don’t think about it until you are playing and trying to move the camera behind Link and find that instead of a control stick you hit the A, B, X, Y buttons. It was a little alien to me at first, but I got the hang of it down after 30 minutes of playing.

The Games

Breath of the Wild – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a refreshing breath of sweet, sweet air. I have not yet even begun to scratch the surface of this great game, but there is no doubt in my mind that it is indeed GREAT. The game literally throws you into a world that you know nothing about. It leaves it to you to peruse its open world and experiment. I died more times in the first 30 minutes of playing this Zelda game than I probably ever did on Link Between Worlds, but then when I found a solution to my problem (and in BotW’s open-world, there is always more than one solution), I felt smart. This game does not hold your hand and I cannot thank it enough for that. You need to use your own intelligence to play this game and the game does a great job of making you feel smart when you figure things out on your own.

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Just Dance 2017 – This was the other game I bought at launch. When you have a Nintendo, you have to have some sort of multiplayer party game. It’s a must. I don’t have much to say about this one. It comes with a limited-time free subscription to this service that gives you a lot of old songs from past Just Dance games and some online creations, but besides that – it’s a Just Dance game. You dance (or rather flail about) and get sweaty and have fun. I will say, that the way the game requests you to hold the Joy-Con feels awkward and last night while we were playing, more than one person asked “How do I hold this?” The Joy-Con slipped from my grip at least twice during the game play, thankfully saved from flying across the room by the wrist strap.

The Taste

img_7462Alright. I did it. I admit it. I tasted the game cartridge. If you haven’t heard, Nintendo has coated its tiny game cartridges (yeah, no more CDs for Nintendo, they are going throwback with game cartridges and I love it) with this flavored coating to prevent babies or pets from ingesting them. I had seen a few online personalities and businesses do this and I just had to.

It’s bitter, y’all. Like earwax turned up by one-thousand. It is nasty. It’s kind of ironic that so many adults are now doing the exact opposite of what Nintendo wanted by coating these cartridges, but hopefully it will prevent choking hazards with your little loved ones.

The Bad

My biggest problem with the Switch is a pretty big one. The Switch does not come with a game. With Nintendo’s past consoles, they have released a game to exhibit the console’s power and fun mechanics. With the Wii, we got Wii Sports. With the Wii U, we got Nintendo Land. With the Switch, there is nothing. Some could say that the Switch’s exhibition (?) game is 1-2-Switch. And that could be so, but it’s not free. You have to buy it separately and I am certainly not paying $50 for what should have been included in the box with the console.

Even if 1-2-Switch is fun, it is basically just an app. The game does not come with the zany outfits or colorful backgrounds you see in the commercials. What it is, is a timer and some sound on the Switch screen and your Joy-Con rumbling. You don’t even have to look at the screen to play, simply taking prompts by the rumbling in your Joy-Con. That sounds an awful lot like something I would download on my iPad or other mobile device. That Nintendo expects people to pay $50 for this game is ridiculous! I don’t doubt that it will soon be released in a bundle along with the Switch as a free game, but until then, I’m not playing it.

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The Score

I am impressed with the Switch. Admittedly, I have been a Nintendo fanboy since my first console: the Nintendo 64 back in the 90s. The Switch is lightweight and portable, bringing the power of a home console gaming into a new and portable realm. You can play on the big screen in your living room or underneath the covers of your bed. The Joy-Con are great, little controllers, with a lot of versatile configurations inspired by the Wii remotes.  And Breath of the Wild is just so gorgeous and I can’t wait to get more into it. The Switch is an impressive piece of gaming equipment and I am excited to see more games developed and more possibilities tapped into.

I give the Nintendo Switch a grade of…

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Do any of you have the Switch yet? What are your thoughts on it? Did you lick the cartridge yet? For those of you without a Switch, are you planning on getting it? Let me know in the comments below!

Keep gaming, y’all!

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