RRP: From £279.99
Ages: From PEGI 3+
Release Date: 3rd March 2017
Ever given up on a game because you didn’t have enough time to play? The Nintendo Switch system can transform to suit your situation, so you can play the games you want, no matter how busy life may be. It’s an era where you don’t have to adjust your lifestyle to play games – instead, your console adjusts to fit around your lifestyle. Enjoy games anytime, anywhere, with anyone, with flexible and free play modes.
I’ve been a fan of Nintendo since receiving my very first NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) console in 1987, when I was 7 years of age. I’m definitely part of the ‘Nintendo Generation’, and recall myself passionately defending Nintendo against my Sega rivals at school. Mario VS Sonic was always the topic of discussion and, of course, it was always Team Mario that won the arguments (and the games were always better).
Since then I’ve owned a Super Nintendo, a Gameboy, a Wii and a Wii U, and, in a wonderful sense of anniversary – exactly 30 years later, I am thrilled that we have been sent the new Nintendo Switch to review.
Starting off with the packaging, it’s smaller than previous systems, and visually it really pops out at you with the familiar Nintendo red and the colourful accents of the Joy-Con controllers. The box flap lifts up to reveal a tray that neatly presents the Joy-con’s and the main gaming console, which actually feels reassuringly heavier than we thought it would. The tray then lifts out to reveal the Nintendo Switch Dock, Power Unit, HDMi Cable, Joy-Con straps, Joy-Con Grip & Information Manual.
Set-up is really easy and the whole process takes less than 5 minutes. Simply connect the power unit to the dock, via a handy compartment on the rear, which also hides the cabling, then sit the Nintendo Switch in the dock. We let it charge for a while before using, and once charged you follow the on-screen prompts to select language, wifi and then download a quick update (2.0.0), which gives you access to the Nintendo eShop. It’s worthwhile noting that there are a total of 3 x USB ports, an HDMi port and the AC Adapter port, all contained within the dock itself.
On first glance the console screen can feel a little cold and lonely, which is completely understandable as the whole system has literally just gone live, but once you purchase some games and start adding friends, it quickly feels warm and populated. The home screen gives you all the important information, including time, wifi status and battery percentage. It also displays all the home user accounts you’ve added, including any notifications pertaining to those accounts. The menu system is incredibly easy to navigate and change any settings you desire
So how does the Nintendo Switch stack up against its predecessors? In a nutshell, it offers all the power and oomph you get from a home console, with the durability and portability of a handheld console. If you like, it’s Wii U meets the DS – and then some! Switching to and from the main TV display to the handheld (portable) display is as simple as it looked in all the trailers; the dock intelligently knows if you have Joy-Con’s attached to the Joy-Con Grip or the Straps, and only when connected to the dock will it display on the TV.
There’s no doubt that this is something exciting and new, whilst harking back to the familiarity of Nintendo‘s history. It certainly feels like this is the console to have, and it will take a lot of work and effort for any of the competing consoles to get anywhere near Nintendo now. Whilst I loved the Wii U, you did feel at times that the system could feel a little at odds with the marketplace competition, but there’s none of that with the Switch, it feels very much on top of the competition, and with the memory expansion, and USB ports, there’s plenty of room for this to expand and evolve further.
As for the controllers, the Joy-Con’s are much more handier (pun totally intended) than the previous WiiMote’s. They’re more compact, lighter and feel very natural to hold. The left-hand Joy-Con includes a little square button which allows you to take screen captures. In fact, many of the screenshots in this review were taken directly on our Nintendo Switch! Once in the home screen on the Switch, you can actually share these images directly from the console to either Facebook or Twitter, which is another stellar move from Nintendo. Now when you reach that high score, or climb to the peak of a mountain in Zelda, you can share it with the world! The Joy-Con’s are easily connected and removable from the main console, thanks to a little black button, and YES you do get that satisfying ‘click’ noise every time you connect the Joy-Con’s to the console! 🙂
Also included in the box is the Joy-Con Grip which essentially turns them into a gamepad. Again, it feels completely natural in the hand, and it’s easy to add or remove the controllers from the grip.
Games are no longer stored on disc media, but rather SD-sized cartridges, and slot into the Switch console. You also have the option of downloading content directly onto the console or removable storage media, via the Nintendo eShop. I’m definitely in favour of this move, as the discs are exposed to scratching and usual wear and tear, whereas the cartridges are mostly housed and therefore much more robust. Fun Fact: the game cartridges designed for the Switch are coated with a bitter film to discourage kids (and adults wanting to test our this rumour) from putting them in their mouths!
I have no problem in saying that this is hands-down the best console we have ever played on, and Nintendo have literally knocked the ball out of the park in the console market with the Switch. Games like The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild (which we will be reviewing shortly), are truly breathtakingly beautiful and immersive, and the ability to easily switch between TV gameplay to mobile gameplay is genius.
I think it is clear that the Nintendo Switch is going to be around for a long time; Nintendo have future-proofed themselves with the groundbreaking console, and with the game titles already teased for 2017, it’s going to be a massive year for the brand, for the gaming companies, and, more importantly, the players.
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