Well I took the plunge and got myself a Nintendo Switch. So what do I think of the device? From the start it feels a very premium piece of kit. The build-quality of the tablet and the joy-con controllers which attach to it are excellent. It’s also quite heavy to hold in the hands and switching it on first time was exciting as the familiar Nintendo logo appeared, followed by the new Nintendo Switch icon. Nintendo have a history of making quality consoles and this is no different despite what reports you may have heard on the internet. My device seems free of dead pixels, joy-con sync-problems or wi-fi issues, but just to be safe I purchased a screen protector to ensure the supplied dock didn’t scratch the screen as has been reported. On a side note I hate screen protectors and am historically crap at putting them on. The tempered-glass one I got wasn’t too bad but it still took a whilst to get right and avoid any air bubbles. Grr.
In the run up to getting the Switch (I had a bit of a wait as initial stock everywhere had sold out after the March 3rd launch), I got myself a couple of Amiibos (Nintendo-themed character figurines which act as interactive NFC enabled devices for use in games) namely Mario and one of my all-time favourite characters, Toad. It helped build the excitement as I also got myself a carry case and the official ‘pro-controller’. Yes I confess, I’ve spent a lot of money on this but hopefully it’ll be worth it.
Using the device, it was easy to set it up to work with my broadband and to access the eshop (sparse with only a few games I’d find interesting (Shovel Knight, Snake Pass, Fast RMX) and the quirky design features, general simple but functional user-interface still pleased. Once I put a game in though, my experience was elevated to another level.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I think by now most people will know how well received and acclaimed this latest entry in Nintendo’s ‘legendary’ franchise has turned out to be. I couldn’t wait to get into it and am having a great time. Firstly it’s gorgeous – I love cell-shaded, cartoon world art styles and this is one of the best representations of that look I think I’ve ever seen. Has Zelda ever looked this good? It’s a huge world too to explore and I’m loving travelling all over, meeting villagers, learning bit by bit about the over-arking story and doing simple side quests. I also love the Shrines – trial based underground levels dotted throughout the land, sort of mini-dungeons full of puzzles and atmosphere. I am only a little way into this so far but I am really impressed.
The big selling factor of the Switch though is it’s versatility. It can be used as a handheld gaming system and works perfect for that. It can be used as a home console too, and the transition is seamless and takes literally 5 seconds once you place the device in the dock to have the game appear on your TV screen. It’s a gimmick that never gets old and I can see me using the machine in both ways. Less appealing is some of the advertised multi-player, which with the 1-2 Switch game comes off as a left over idea from the Wii era with it’s gimmicky motion-controlled party games which might be fun but would get discarded fairly quickly in favour of ‘real’ games. The versatility of the controllers to create multi-player split screen or two player games in your home certainly hark back to a by-gone era but as a primarily single-player gamer I doubt that functionality will get much use either.
For now the Nintendo Switch is a system with a great deal of potential. Early sales have been impressive so Nintendo is off to a good start … let’s just hope that in the future we still get the games for it, so that unlike many Nintendo consoles, it doesn’t end up gathering dust in favour of an Xbox or PlayStation system. Only time will tell but for now consider me happy with my purchase.