Our Hands on Experience with the Nintendo Switch
As lifelong Nintendo fans, we’re always oozing with excitement whenever a new Nintendo console is announced, and the Switch is no exception.
We stayed up watching the official presentation on Thursday night and placed our pre-orders the moment they became available. We laughed along with the rest of the internet as they tried to convince us that we were going to somehow use the Joy-Cons as glasses full of ice cubes. We cried our faces off watching Mario explore New Donk City for the first time in Super Mario Odyssey. We cheered with joy as we discovered that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was moved back to a launch day release.
The most exciting part of all? We were lucky enough to be invited to the Nintendo Switch Preview Tour in NYC this past Saturday and we’re still absolutely BEAMING from all the fun and excitement. One of these days we’ll get ourselves invited to an exclusive Nintendo press event filled with snacks and get to high five Reggie, but for now, this was pretty darn awesome.
At the event, we got to try out a bunch of brand new games heading to the system as well as see some old favorites that have been redeveloped with Nintendo Switch in mind. There were themed stations set up all throughout the two rooms in the event space, most of which looked like mini living rooms – complete with giant TVs, couches, rugs, and fancy lamps. There was even a Mario Diner!
The point? To give you the full Switch experience – allowing you to not just try the console, but all the different ways you can play. In the mini living rooms, you sat on a couch and played on the TV the way you would at home. You could also slide the Switch out of the dock at any time to see what it was like to play that game in Handheld mode. The transition from TV to Handheld mode is basically seamless. Sometimes you’re required to hit a button combination before you get back to your game, but it felt as natural as hitting pause/unpause – something we’re all very used to while gaming.
There was a special area set up to look like an airplane, showing you how playing in Tabletop mode while using the Joy-Cons is a great way to play on the go. That Mario Diner we mentioned? This showed off what it would be like to play Handheld with your friends in your school cafeteria, all hanging out together and competing against each other.
Want to switch between these two modes at any point? Just slide your Joy-Cons on/off the device and flip your kickstand to switch between Tabletop mode and Handheld mode. It’s super simple. Even with all these new ways to play, anyone who’s ever gamed on a Nintendo device before will find this all very natural. The Switch has innovated in a big way, but all in all, it’s still that comfortable and joy-filled Nintendo gaming experience you’re used to.
So now, onto the important stuff – the games! Here’s a breakdown of our experience with each game as well as some other info on pricing and when you can expect to play. These aren’t all the games that will be available during the Nintendo Switch launch window, just the ones we played that we thought you guys would want to hear about most.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Launch Date: March 3, 2017
We headed over to the Zelda area first. At each of the Breath of the Wild stations you were able to try out a 20 minute demo of the game. If you love the Legend of Zelda series, this game is going to absolutely blow you away. If you’re not into Zelda, give it a try anyway. We don’t usually go nuts for RPG’s or most Zelda titles – but with this huge, wide open world to explore, it’s truly whole new experience.
We loved the freedom of being able to run around and play the game our way. If we felt like battling, we could battle. If we just felt like climbing to the tops of mountains, fishing, or chopping down trees, we were free to explore on our own terms. The graphics were beautiful and felt more like a living painting than a video game. This is definitely going to be a new fan-favorite Nintendo title. One of the best experiences for us as people who LIVE to game in Handheld mode was pulling the device from the dock and seeing the game come to life on the beautifully vibrant Nintendo Switch screen.
Launch Date: March 3, 2017
If you’ve ever played WarioWare or another game full of silly mini-games, 1-2-Switch will be right up your alley. In this game, you’ll pass the Joy-Cons around and face-off in 2 player challenges with your friends in either TV mode or Tabletop mode. 1-2-Switch may be a video game, but it’s all about making sure you have a full blown IRL experience with your besties. Most games require you to look at each other rather than the screen so that you stay in the moment while you play.
The games we played were Quick Draw, Milk (where you literally tugged the Joy-Con like a cow udder), and Ball Count. While virtually milking a cow definitely brought the most LOLs, Ball Count definitely brought the most WOWs. Using the new “HD Rumble” feature, you were able to feel multiple marbles “rolling around” inside the controller. Every person who got their hands on this game was like “OMG. YOU CAN REALLY FEEL THEM! THIS IS CRAZY!”. It totally made that whole weird “ice cube” thing during the Switch presentation make sense. It’ll be really cool to see how this feature gets used in future games.
1-2- Switch will definitely be a perfect choice for sleepovers, parties, or other friend-hangs. It’s a great way to get to let go, be silly, and just have a great time.
Launch Date: Spring 2017
Okay, so ARMS might have a super obvious name – but don’t rule it out! It’s totally worth a play, especially for young gamers. We stood in line behind these two kids around 6-10 years old who completely lost their minds while playing this game. They had such a blast! It was totally cute and got us totally hyped to give it a try.
In ARMS, you pick your character (we obvz picked Ribbon Girl), a pair of gloves (you can even use a different glove on each hand), and get to fighting. You’ll hold the Joy-Cons in what Nintendo is calling “thumbs-up mode”. This means you’ll hold them vertically, more like an old-school joystick, with the trigger buttons on the top. To fight, just throw your arms out as if you were really throwing a punch. You can throw straight, on a curve, or throw both arms out together in order to grab. You don’t have to use the motion controls to play, but it’s much more fun and realistic that way. If you’d rather play alone, there will be a single player mode so you can get some practice in and master your fighting abilities.
ARMS is fast paced colorful fun that anyone can get the hang of. This one will be great for families to play together, even if you’ve got family members who aren’t typically gamers. It’s so easy to learn that even your grandma can do it! Just make sure to pull those wrist straps tight.
Snipperclips – Cut it out, together!
Launch Date: March 2017
If you’re an avid reader of our site, you can probably already guess what we’re about to say: Snipperclips was our favorite game we played at the Nintendo Switch event. We laughed our way through this delightfully weird little game and it totally left us wanting more. This is what co-op gaming was meant to be. So many times when you play in cooperative mode, you end up lagging behind as your skilled friend runs ahead off-screen. Or you’re doing all the puzzle solving while your brother sits there confused.
That’s not the case with Snipperclips. Each stage has fixed borders, so you’ll never be able to get away from where you need to be. Each of the unique little puzzles requires you to really work together and TALK to each other to figure out the solution. Sometimes you’ll have to rotate and cut each other’s little paper characters to fit a specific shape. Other times you’ll need to boost each other up to knock things down, drag things around the screen, or work together to push objects into place. This is exactly the kind of creative, silly game we LIVE for.
The colorful, scribbley art sets such a happy vibe, and if you’re like us, you’ll giggle the whole way through as your characters make weird faces and prance around in those little boots. We played this one sitting side by side in a little booth working in Tabletop mode, and it really made for a cozy one on one collab. There will also be 4-player and single player options available in the full game. The best part? This is the cheapest game we’ve seen for the Switch so far, priced at $19.99.
Launch Date: June 2017
Splatoon 2 is a must-have for anyone who’s a squid or a kid. In the demo we played, we didn’t get to see much of what’s new or different in Splatoon 2 vs. the original other than a new weapon, the Splat Duelies. We still had a blast running around, splatting ink, claiming our turf, and helping lead our team to victory!
Here’s what’s new in the splat-filled sequel: Most notably, the fact that you can now take Splatoon with you on the go is kind of a big deal. Bring your Switch over to a friends house and compete in local multiplayer in either Tabletop, Handheld, or TV Mode. There will also be new weapons, new moves, new arenas, and obviously fresh new threads for your Inkling. You’ll also be able to sync up your game with a special device on your smart phone that allows you voice chat with your opponents. Up to 8 players can join in on a match and you can use either the Joy-Cons, Pro Controller, or go Handheld to get your splat on. It’s definitely more of a refresh than a full blown sequel – but it definitely sounds like a fun new experience for both old fans and new players alike.
Super Bomberman R
Launch Date: March 3, 2017
It’s been so long since the last real Bomberman game that some of you younger gamers out there might be like “what even is this?”. Well, let us olds assure you – Super Bomberman R is totally worth a play. It’s pure chaotic fun. Don’t overlook it just because you’ve never heard of it!
We got to play a 4 player battle mode, but you can actually play with up to 8. Like the original SNES version, we played in a top-down battle arena as we ran around frantically trying to strategically place bombs and other items to blow each other up. The new graphics looked fantastic and we think this is a great way to get to know the Bomberman series if you’ve never played it before. It’s a great balance of old a new, bringing to life all the reasons the game was originally such a hit in a brand new, beautifully designed way. Want to play with a friend? Story Mode lets you save the galaxy alone or with a 2nd player by your side.
Our favorite part was how adorably designed all the Bomberman Siblings are. Generally if we can add a bow or glasses or eyelashes to an otherwise “violent” or more “action-packed” game, you can guarantee we’ll still be bad at it but also you’l have our attention. What can we say? We live for the cute.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Launch Date: April 28, 2017
The Mario Kart series is one of our personal favs, so we were super excited to give this one a try. Like we mentioned above, there were a few ways you could play. Tabletop mode, with or without a motion control wheel, handheld mode, whatever was most comfortable for you. Mario Kart always allows you to play in whatever controller setup works best for the player, and this is no exception. They’ve even added in a “Smart Steering” mode that helps you stay on the track while also helping you improve your racing skills.
We played in TV mode with the Joy-Con grip because there was no line, though were were really hoping to give it a try in Handheld or Tabletop Mode. The obvious solution? Immediately pre-ordering the game when we left the event so we can try it out for ourselves this April. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is an update – it’s not a brand new Mario Kart title. (Though we’re totally ready for Mario Kart 9. Make it happen, Nintendo!)
In MK8 Deluxe, you’ll get all the tracks and characters from the original, as well as the 2 previously released DLC packs. They’ve also added in some additional characters, like the Inklings, King Boo, and Bowser Jr. as well a few new vehicles. MK8 Deluxe improves upon the Battle Mode, adding in battle arenas like the Splatoon-inspired Urchin Underpass. They’ve also added in the ability to hold 2 items at once, like in Double Dash. If you want a way to play Mario Kart on the Switch at launch, this is how you’ll do it. Otherwise, you can wait it out for the inevitable MK9 if you prefer a whole new experience.
Puyo Puyo Tetris
Launch Date: Spring 2017
This was actually the first time we had ever played Puyo Puyo Tetris. (Shame on us, right?) We love Tetris in basically any form, especially when we get to compete against other players and totally destroy their progress with our sweet Tetris skills. We sat down totally confident that we were going to kick butt – andddd proceeded have a blast while losing every. single. match.
We played in Swap Mode, which means that every few seconds the screen swaps between Puyo Puyo and Tetris every few seconds while you play. This makes for some good frantic fun as you’ll need to think quickly AND strategically at the same time. You might be good at one of the games but that doesn’t guarantee you a win. (We sure learned that pretty quickly!) Each time you clear a Puyo match or a Tetris, it sends a mess of blocks/Puyos to the other side to block your opponents progress and push them closer to the top of the screen.
If you’ve never played it, Puyo Puyo is a bit more like Dr. Mario or Pokémon Puzzle League. You’ve got to match colored slimes together in groups of 3, 4, or more rather than just fitting blocks together. The gameplay styles are similar enough that it’s easy to learn if you’ve played the other before, but definitely takes some practice to master. If action packed puzzle pandemonium is up your alley, you’ll have a great time with this title.
Being able to get hands-on with the Nintendo Switch was an incredible experience and definitely has us counting down the days until March 3rd so we can play it every day. It’s clear to us that Nintendo has stayed true to their beliefs that gaming should be a fun and creative experience for everyone, and we think that even the non-believers will fall in love with the Switch once they actually play one. They sadly didn’t have Super Mario Odyssey available at the event, so we’ll just have to wait it out to tell you all about how great it is. (Oh – and if you’re wondering about all those amiibo you’ve collected in the last few years, they’re compatible with the Nintendo Switch as well!)