In 2006, Sony released the Playstation 3, and the Xbox 360 had been out for a year. What did these consoles both have in common? They both had the latest High-Definition technology, and were aimed at the core-gamer market. Nintendo, everyone’s favourite Japanese multinational corporation, ignored these trends with its launch of the Wii in the same year. It snubbed the HD and rejected the core-gamer in favour of the casual market. We all know of the three consoles which was the most successful. The Nintendo Wii became as essential as indoor plumbing.
With the Nintendo Switch, we are in 2006 all over again. Microsoft has its Xbox One X, and Sony has the Playstation 4 Pro. Both consoles, apart from their terrible names, have embraced new technology such as 4K and VR. The Nintendo Switch rejects these in favour of good old HD. Despite this, the Switch is set to repeat the success of the Wii. Why? Because it offers the richest experience of all three consoles.
Let’s start with the design. The main console is a tablet, with the two ‘joy con’ controllers attached on either side of the screen. Playing on the switch in portable mode like this is perfect, it has a great display and functions like a giant PSP. Both controllers detach and can be used wirelessly with the tablet in either portable mode or TV mode. The latter configuration is also excellent. Drop the switch into its dock and the picture from the tablet screen will seamlessly appear on your TV. You can either use the joy cons as they are or you can slot them into the joy con grip which turns them into a standard games controller. The joy cons are the most high-spec controllers ever made, boasting NFC and infrared sensors. They charge when attached to the console so you don’t have to worry about plugging them in, and because there’s two of them you don’t have to buy any more controllers to be able to play with a friend.
But the console itself is not the reason to buy a Nintendo Switch. Buy it for the games. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time, with stunning visuals and a great story with loads of gameplay time. There’s also Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, a repackaged edition of the Wii U game. This version of Mario Kart is at times frustrating because all the races are unlocked, removing the incentive to play on your own to unlock new levels. It isn’t as good as Mario Kart Wii, which has far more interesting races, but it has some great levels, and is worth picking up just to play Mario Kart in HD.
The jewel in the Nintendo Switch crown is Super Mario Odyssey, the most inventive and fun Mario game since before the Wii. It is open-world across a variety of different experiences – New York City, a world made of food, and a floating garden are just a few. The game also never ends. There are always more minigames to complete and items to find. Mario has a magic cap, which brings a range of new and inventive abilities, allowing you to play as a fish, a caterpillar, and even a T-Rex. Odyssey is reason enough to buy a switch, a beautifully crafted Mario game that really is for anyone.
As well as the great games already out, 2018 sees the release of Nintendo Labo, which promises to boost Switch sales massively. It is made up of two sets of cardboard kits which allow you to turn the switch into objects such as a fishing rod, a working piano, and a robot. The game makes the most of the technology in the Switch controllers to create what looks to be one of the most exciting experiences Nintendo has ever offered.
The Nintendo Switch is brilliant. It is a console focused on being inventive, fun, and quirky. With great games and an experience that is perfect for playing both on the go and at home, isn’t it time you bought one?