Over the weekend we were among the lucky few to go hands-on with the new Nintendo Switch.
Saturday afternoon, Nintendo held a press event hands-on in the city for its newest entry into the console market.
A room of the Exhibition Center was decked out in Nintendo Switch Red ™ and filled with Switch titles for local media to get our greedy little hands on before the console’s launch on March 3.
We got to have a look at the console itself, all its peripherals, as well as titles we know are coming at launch and a few with release dates yet to be announced.
To begin with, the console. The first thing you notice when you pick it up is how much more compact it is than the Wii U. The screen itself is noticeably smaller (6.2 inches), with the Joy-Cons on the side not making much of a difference size-wise.
Ah yes – the Joy-Cons. These things are tiny – slightly smaller than a Nunchuk – and do fit well in your hand. With the added wrist strap, they seem slightly sharp to hold (if you’re used to the rounded edges of an Xbox or PlayStation controller), and can be uncomfortable after extended periods, but for a quick bout of the thoroughly enjoyable 1-2-Switch they’re perfect.
Accompanying the Joy-Cons is the Joy-Con Grip, which connects and charges them when they’re not stuck to the side of the Switch itself. There’s also the option of the ‘industry standard’ Pro controller, but it’s not included in the box.
Now, the games. We got a brief look at titles coming to the Switch on the presentation on Friday, but it was another thing altogether to actually experience them first-hand.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was outstanding, but that isn’t really news anymore. Everyone is expecting great things from Link’s latest adventure, and to finally get to play it on the Switch instead of the Wii U was refreshing. I can’t reiterate enough just how much more snug the Switch console and the Joy-Cons fit into your hand than the Wii U GamePad does. It was also surprisingly satisfying to switch the Switch from its standard TV console position to handheld mode, and watch the almost seamless transition between the screens. In saying that – the screen itself might be just a little too small to really get the most out of Hyrule. But of course – any bigger and you’d be borderline uncomfortable, so the Switch is probably the sweet spot.
Spla2oon (not official title) is basically the first game with new weapons, and is just as enjoyable. We played a couple of rounds of multiplayer (and won, mind you), and honestly the Pro controller is the most comfortable configuration.
Nestled in the center of the room was 1-2-Switch, the Switch’s version of Wii Play or Wii Sports. Essentially a bunch of party games, 1-2-Switch is fun from the get-go. Using the Joy-Cons as your primary controller, you can do everything from counting balls to milking cows and having Mexican stand-offs. The best part of the whole experience is trying to do that while you’re making eye contact with your adversary.
Arms was a pleasant surprise of the day, and most likely going to serve as a genuine gym replacement for some. Basically Wii Boxing meets Street Fighter, you use your Arms to battle enemies, with a reasonably diverse character roster and even glove choices available. The different arenas make for a good shake-up, and each of the characters add a level of enjoyment that is going to leave people considerably worn out by the end of it. Don’t forget to fasten your wrist straps. (Legs sold separately).
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is Mario Kart 8 for the Switch with all its DLC. Battle Mode is back, baby, and it’s still as fun as ever.
My pick of the day, however, would have to be Snipperclips. It’s a co-op puzzle platformer, and you play as either Snip or Clip as you cut bits off each other to navigate the game world and solve puzzles. Infuriating as it was satisfying when you completed the puzzles, it was the one thing that caught me off guard on the weekend, and I loved it.
That was the gist of the event of the weekend, and you can see a more in-depth look at what we saw in the upcoming February issue. Get Switched on.