I recently bought a Switch and it’s a hoot. It’s the fulfillment of the dream of every young kid who ever wanted to play their favorite games away from home or adults who find themselves always on the go. This should be an automatic “yes”. While I want to give the console an unqualified recommendation, I can’t. The Switch has some serious “fit” issues. Read through and see if it’s the console for you.
Feel – From the nice heft to the clear screen, the Switch feels like a solid piece of equipment that you’d want to use. Buttons are responsive and everything is in a logical place. The dock can feel a little flimsy at times, but this is a solid piece of tech overall.
Portability – The Switch captures the dream of having a legitimate console that is also portable. The dock is small, lightweight, and fits into any luggage. The required cables are common, easily acquired, and may already be the hotel room or home of a traveler. Transitioning from docked to portable is as simple as lifting up the console while the current game being played switches from the TV to console screen. Everything about the portability is straightforward and user friendly.
Quality of games – Nintendo pumped out some high quality titles for the Switch. Super Mario Odyssey (played and loved) and Breath of the Wild (Did not play but heard good things) are winners. The indie scene ported over some of its highlights. Odds are you can find at least one quality entry into your genre of choice.
eShop – It mystifies me that consoles can’t seem to figure out the basics of online stores. Even by the low standards of the console market, the Nintendo eShop is pathetic. The search function is barely capable of taking the player to games they know about, much less ones they don’t. The store lacks a meaningful rating function which would help differentiate the numerous small titles. Be prepared to find new games elsewhere.
Controllers – Each unit comes with two controllers and a controller dock. When the controllers rest on the side of the console, they do a fine job. When they’re free floating, each one is small, but workable in short bursts. When they’re in the controller dock, the positioning forces the players’ hands into a carpal tunnel inducing position that gets painful, quickly. Just buy the pro controller.
Shallow library – Nintendo wisely invited in the indie development community, but that strategy hasn’t yet born major fruit. The console is home to the same high quality indie games that show up on every system. As for the AAA developers, new games are slowly rolling off the assembly line with a few older highlights already available. Finally, the virtual console is both gone and sorely missed. Older games would absolutely kill on the Switch so it’s a shame they aren’t here. At this point, the library isn’t developed enough to satisfy a regular gamer.
Multimedia – While every other piece of hardware has a variety of streaming services, the Switch has Hulu and that’s it. Lining up all the major streaming players seems like an obvious choice for a system designed for portability, but Nintendo remains skittish about including it. Don’t expect the Switch to act as a media hub.
The Nintendo Switch is a piece of hardware that I want to play with. I actively look for games on the system so I can enjoy its ease of use, solid weight, and delightful portability. Unfortunately, it’s saddled with major flaws. The games library is limited and the eShop is complete garbage. Still, the coming line up looks solid and the potential is enormous. The Switch isn’t a great choice as the sole console for hardcore gamers who need variety, but everyone else should have a blast.