Nintendo Switch: Is It Finally Worth ‘Switching’?

Nintendo Switch: Is It Finally Worth ‘Switching’?

Recently I talked with some friends about the Nintendo Switch. They wanted to know whether or not it was a good idea to spend $300 on a new video game console. Due to the release of Super Mario Odyssey, my opinion on the Switch was easy to make. The Nintendo Switch is a great console. It is great for portable gaming, and it has great games. My answer to the question, “Should I buy the Nintendo Switch?”, is a resounding YES!

Image of Ninteno Switch

 

Portability: Play Games Anywhere

Touted by Nintendo as a major selling point, the Switch’s portability is what separates this console from its competitors.

The Switch’s ability to be used anywhere is a huge point for convenience. I can take it into my room and play it before bed. I could even take it on long road trips or when visiting family for a few days. This is how the Switch stands out. It’s not like I can just pick up a gaming desktop or home console and bring it around everywhere.

But what if you don’t want to play on the Switch’s small screen? That’s easy! You can ‘dock’ your Switch which lets it hook up to the big screen. It’s seamless too! There aren’t any long load times. Just plug it in and play.

Battery Life

The battery life on the Switch is very low. Nintendo claims that the battery will only last about three hours while playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I know it’s hard to store enough charge to power an affordable, portable gaming machine, but this is still low. However, there are some third party, cobbled together solutions! If you are willing to bulk up your Switch, there are cases for it that contain an extra battery to power your machine. You could also carry around a battery bank with you, but that’s even bulkier than the case idea. The battery life is an issue. Keep this in mind: If dock your Switch at every moment not using it, you probably won’t run into this issue.

Screen Scratching

Some people also take issue with the Switch’s screen. There have been reports of users scratching their screens when docking or undocking the Switch. This is caused by trying to take the Switch out of the dock from the side instead of from the top. Personally, I have never had this issue. Just make sure you keep proper care of your Switch, and it will be fine.

Quality Lineup of Games

One issue with Nintendo’s previous console, the Wii U, was that it did not have enough games. Nintendo has been known to struggle with finding third-party developers to make games for their consoles. Luckily, things are looking good for the Switch.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Image of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

 

The Switch’s first major release was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While I’m sure by now you have heard of it, I’m going to give it a brief overview. The idea of this game is to bring Zelda back to its open world roots. Outside of the tutorial, there is very little direction or hand-holding. You can go wherever you want to provided you can survive. The game has you play as a resurrected Link trying to save Hyrule from Calamity Ganon. You must gather enough power to eventually challenge Ganon. This is a long, long game. Many people bought a Switch just to play this game.

Super Mario Odyssey

Image of Super Mario Odyssey

The other major system seller for the Switch is Super Mario Odyssey. This came out very recently and is one of the best Mario games ever made. It reminds me of an upgraded Super Mario 64. The gameplay gimmick in this Mario is used through a character called Cappy, Mario’s possessed hat. Mario can throw Cappy to damage or possess enemies. Cappy can even be used as a platform to reach otherwise unreachable areas. The addition of Cappy makes Super Mario Odyssey a very worthy title.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Image of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe may seem like a rehash of Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, and in many ways it is. It includes everything from the original Wii U version of the game including the DLC. But there are some notable additions unique the Switch version. The deluxe edition adds a smart steering function to let newbies compete with the veteran. The feature makes sure that the user never falls off the track due to their steering. The other major feature is the expanded battle mode. The Deluxe edition adds several new battle modes which greatly improve on the original game.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Image of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a crazy turn-based strategy game starring Mario and the Rabbids. This game published by Ubisoft is Nintendo’s first major third-party release. If you are a fan of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, then you will love Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. You can choose your own squad of characters, each with their own abilities which make them stand out. For even further customization, you can give them their own weapons that have special effects like push, burn, honey, etc…

Indie Games

Screenshot of Golf Story
Golf Story

If you’re looking to scratch that indie itch, the Nintendo Switch hosts a variety of indie games. Golf Story is personally my favorite. It’s a story-driven golf game which is lots of fun. Shovel Knight and its expansions are also available on the Switch. Other interesting titles include Stardew Valley, Mighty Gunvolt Burst, Axiom Verge and Overcooked.

One thing to look out for though is the lack of diverse titles. If you look on the Switch store, you will notice that a vast majority of games are shoot ’em ups or side-scrolling shooters. Just looking at the list of top Switch indie games there are Mighty Gunvolt Burst, Graceful Explosion Machine, GoNNER, Axiom Verge and TumbleSeed. That’s not to say that these games are bad, but diversity is a little lacking. Mind you; this is just me nitpicking at this point.

Online Functionality

The online functionality for the Nintendo Switch is a contentious issue.

As of right now, the online is free. However, once the online is fully launched in 2018, there will be a $20 a year fee. While this costs more than nothing, it is still cheaper than its competitors at Microsoft and Sony. To sweeten the deal a little more, Nintendo is offering free virtual console games every month available for that month with the online subscription. Sounds good right?

Unfortunately, many people seem to have issues with the Switch’s online. People report having unreliable connections and dropping. There is also the issue of the online phone app. A lot of the online functionality is accessed through Nintendo’s app for smartphones. This app proves to be archaic in design lacking features as basic as background voice chat. Hopefully, this will be improved by the full launch of Nintendo’s online service.

“Should I buy the Nintendo Switch?”

The Nintendo Switch is currently well worth its price tag of $300. If there is a Switch available, pick it up as soon as you can. It’s a great portable gaming device with great games. Any buyer of the Switch will be happy with their purchase.

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