Nintendo Switch Review: A Brave Hybrid Console: But Is It As Fascinating As It Is Marketed?
I remember when I was a kid, I loved console games. I would play games like Super Mario 64, Gauntlet Legends and Spyro The Dragon for hours at a time. As I got older, I would have friends over and we would play Halo, or sometimes I would just hang out in my room and play Oblivion.
As an adult, I'm not home often as I work and travel frequently, and one thing that I have always craved is a portable console gaming experience. Yes, there's the Nintendo 3DS and even the PS Vita, but none of these really deliver an ultra-premium experience.
In March of last year, my dreams came true in a surprising way. Nintendo released the Switch portable console that could be played either on the TV or as a handheld device. In retrospect, I guess it was only a matter of time. Nintendo has pioneered the portable gaming experience and is the only company to garner true and lasting success with handheld gaming systems. From the Gameboy in 1989, all the way to the Nintendo 3DS in 2011 and the New Nintendo 3DS in 2015, Nintendo has been slowly preparing us for the debut of console games in your backpack.
Originally, the Switch released with Breath of The Wild and not much else, although Breath of The Wild was a huge success and it was a game that had a ton of content that would last you a long time. Then, along with other Nintendo IPs like Super Mario Odyssey, came a flood of RPGs. Skyrim, DOOM, Okami, Dark Souls and Monster Hunter quickly made the Nintendo Switch the go-to console for people who like to immerse themselves in another world.
The switch has more to offer than just RPGs however. The Nintendo Switch has a whole host of reasons why it's the perfect console for any gamer, whether it be your primary console or companion to another console.
When the Nintendo Switch was released, portability was a heavy focus. Nintendo wanted you to play Mario Kart with strangers while you were getting coffee, and the console was unique enough that for some people, that was actually a reality.
Where the Switch really shines as a portable console is single player games. Sure you can play Mario Kart or Mario Party with your buddy on the go, but you also have massive games at your fingertips, anywhere. You don't have to be sitting on the couch to play Skyrim. You can now have open world games that you can realistically spend hundreds of hours playing at your fingertips, anywhere.
Whether you are on the plane, on vacation or even on a lunch break, you can break out your Switch anywhere for a quick session. You can also use the Switch as a portable console when someone else wants to use the TV. Maybe you have an Xbox or PlayStation and a family member wants to play a game. You can simply pop the Switch off of the dock and keep playing.
USB Type C
One of my favorite things about the Switch is that it charges with a USB Type C charger. Granted, it won't charge at full speed with the charger from your smartphone, but it will charge and you can charge your smartphone or pretty much any other device that has USB Type C charging with the Switch charger.
Since laptops and other devices have begun to support USB Type C charging, I can take just one cable with me to charge nearly all of my devices. When Type C charging was brought to consumers, I tried my best to replace any device that I could with one that charged with USB Type C. My laptop, my smartphone and my headphones all charge with USB Type C, and my Nintendo Switch fit perfectly into the minimalist ecosystem that I had adopted.
USB Type C is also what allows the Nintendo Switch to be as thin and portable as it is. USB Type C can support charging and HDMI, meaning that the switch can use it's charging port to display to the TV, while simultaneously providing a charge for when it's docked, or even when you are charging it while playing somewhere else.
Fun for all ages
Unlike really any other console, the Nintendo Switch places heavy emphasis on games that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. Nintendo IPs like the Zelda and Mario franchise are designed to be enjoyed by nearly everyone. With themes and gameplay that are both easy to be understood by children and meaningful enough to be enjoyed by adults, Nintendo has been able to walk a line that serves a broader customer base than most other gaming companies.
There is also a really large selection of games that have varying audiences. While games like DOOM and Dark Souls are meant for adults, there are also games that will appeal more to children. This way anyone can enjoy the Switch. Solo or as a family.
Any device that is going to serve as your living room entertainment system needs to have at least one streaming service. While the Switch loses points for not having Netflix and many other popular streaming services, it does have Hulu. Hulu is a hugely popular streaming service, not unlike Netflix. You can stream your favorite shows, movies, cartoons, anime, and more. Hulu also has something that Netflix doesn't. Live TV.
For ~$39.99/month you can stream live TV to your Nintendo Switch and also pretty much any other device with apps, like your smartphone. I actually hadn't ever used Hulu until I purchased a Nintendo Switch and at first, I was irritated that there was no Netflix (and still kind of am), but I found out that Hulu was uniquely suited to the switch because if it's versatility as both a portable and home console.
With the Nintendo Switch, I can be watching a show, movie or even the news in my living room and then pick up the switch and walk to another room while still watching or even go lay in bed and get in one last episode before I go to sleep.
Have you ever been on a long car ride with your family and wished that you could give the kids something that they can both play so that you could focus on driving? The Nintendo Switch allows you to pull off the Joy Con controllers and used them as two separate controllers for multiplayer gaming.
Mario Kart, Mario Party and soon even Super Smash Bros. can be played on the go, meaning that you can simply take the one console along on road trips and squeeze in some sibling rivalry time while you drive.
Popular online titles
The Nintendo Switch has started adopting popular online titles like Fortnight. Fortnight is a thriving PvP game that drops you in a map with all of the other players and forces you closer together as the game progresses. Your objective is to grab gear and eliminate all of the other players before they eliminate you.
Games like this have virtually unlimited replay value and are a great addition to your library for when you are in the mood for some competition. There is also Nintendo's own popular online shooter, Splatoon, which is a game where you run around a map trying to both eliminate the other players while simultaneously covering as much of the map in your team's pain color as possible before time runs out.
The Nintendo Switch makes a great case for why it should be your main living room console. Even if it isn't, the Nintendo Switch is the ultimate companion console. It's a multiplatform wonder that has developers coming from all directions to get their games into the Nintendo eShop, meaning that you have tons of options from Nintendo IPs, indie games, popular RPGs and ports of popular games from the days of yore.
Aside from being a homes console, the Nintendo Switch also makes the ultimate portable gaming experience a reality. Giving you the exact same living room experience on a smaller screen, and on the go. The Nintendo Switch is also a low maintenance system meaning that if you choose to download your games, all you need is the Console and a charger. If you are using a current Android device or laptop, you might not even need a charger, since it charges with USB Type C.
All of these things make the Nintendo Switch a no-brainer for anyone who loves gaming. Take it with you, play it at home. The choice is up to you with the Nintendo Switch.