Hands on with the Nintendo Switch

This past weekend in NYC, Nintendo unveiled their new home console, the Nintendo Switch. To get people excited for the new platform, they held a private event for press and gamers alike to come out and try a select few games that will be launching on the system on March 3rd and during the system’s ?Launch Window?. Below are some hands-on impressions and photos from the event.


The Switch system is extremely compact and lightweight. When it was first announced, I was afraid that it would be too big to bring on the subway or on a bus, or anywhere else one might want to bring a hybrid home/handheld console, but after getting it in my hands I have to say that those fears have been laid to rest, the unit itself is small enough to bring with you on public transportation without it being too cumbersome or heavy to carry in your backpack.

The Joy-Con controllers (the tiny left and right controllers for the console) were quite comfortable and if you had any qualms about using these devices, you needn?t have to worry.

These new controllers also come with a new ?HD? Rumble feature, which was actually quite good. During my time with 1-2 Switch (I will go into more detail on the game later on), there was a mini game where you had to use the Joy-Con to determine how many marbles were in a box. You had to move the controller in a sort of see-saw fashion in your hand and as you tilted it from left to right the HD rumble feature would mimic marbles rolling in a box. It is so sensitive that you actually felt as if marbles were rolling across the palm of your hand. I am quite looking forward to seeing what developers do with this new ?HD? Rumble feature.

Pro Controller
The Pro Controller which was also on display and setup with several games is your standard pro controller and doesn?t really bring much in the way of new features to the table, but if you are skeptical about playing your Switch with the Joy-Con controllers in the Joy-Con Grip, then the pro controller is for you.


The Switch event had several of the system’s launch title available to play, as well as a bunch of titles coming out during the launch window. Most of these titles looked really good, while others just looked like higher resolution versions of their Wii U counterpart. While Nintendo had a lot of games available to play, below is just a sampling of what I tried and does not include every single game there.

1-2 Switch
The game consists of short mini games (think of the Wario Ware series) where you and a friend have to compete against each other in ultra-quick mini-games. The games I played were ?Draw?, where you and your opponent face each other, Joy-Con?s at your side, waiting to see who the fastest draw is in the virtual old west. The voice on screen will say ?Ready?, ?Steady?, ?Fire!? When you hear fire, you need to raise your Joy-Con up as fast possible toward your opponent and pull the trigger It was a fun little experience, and everyone who tried it out had a lot of fun. The next game we tried was where you had to milk a cow? yup, you can milk a cow on the Nintendo Switch. The object of this game was to take the Joy-Con controller and while holding the SL or SR button (depending which Joy-Con you have), you have mimic milking a cow and as you pull down on the udder you need to press the other S button toward the bottom of the pull. On screen there is an udder and depending on how well you are doing, the more milk you will produce. I was able to get about 7 cups of milk out of old Betsy (yeah, I named her, so what) before time ran out. The third and final demo was guessing the number of marbles in a wooden box using the HD rumble feature. This was my favorite mini game and one that I think will really showcase how sensitive the HD Rumble is on these Joy-Con controllers. As I mentioned earlier, you have to take the controller and while tilting the controller in a see-saw fashion determine how many marbles are in a box. The rumble is so sensitive that when the marbles hit the other side of the box, you could actually feel them roll across your palm and hit the other side of the box with the follow up marbles crashing into the marble before it. Really cool stuff.

This is a game which requires you and another player to work together to solve puzzles, by snipping your partner to form different shapes and sizes all while using the Joy-Con controller. One puzzle for instance requires you and your partner to get a basketball over to the hoop and shoot it in. I won?t spoil how you solve this, but it was a lot of fun trying to figure out how to do it and when we did, we were high-fiving each other because it felt to good to figure it out. Keep this game on your radar, as it is going to end up being one of the better games for the system.

How does one describe ARMS? I guess at its most basic, it?s a fighting game that uses the Joy-Con controllers to allow the player to punch their opponents. What is different though is that you also move, block, dash, and jump with the Joy-Con controllers. The demo I played consisted of four characters to choose from each with their own strength and weaknesses. When the round starts the fighting gets pretty intense with you having to try and outmaneuver your opponent all while throwing punches at them. During each fight, you can also do these subtle moves where you can curve a punch or double punch and grab your opponent and perform a close up takedown. The game is fast moving, and should appeal to a broad group of gamers.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
If you had read my hands-on impressions from E3, then not much has changed since then aside from better resolution and graphics. The demo they had was about twenty minutes long and had you first playing on a TV using a pro controller, and then halfway through you were told to remove the console from the dock and start playing on there. The gimmick of removing the system from the dock is very simple and there is zero delay in game play from the moment you remove the console from the dock to when you start playing again. The graphics on the console screen are obviously not as crisp and detailed as when the system is docked, but it still looks gorgeous and gameplay is extremely smooth and fluid.


After my time with the Switch, I have to say that it seems to be a return to form for Nintendo, especially after the mis-step that was the Wii U.   The unit is small and compact, and the games are fun and look great running on the tablet and console, but the limited launch day lineup (four games), may hurt the system out of the gate.  The Joy-Con controllers, while incredibly small are comfortable and easy to use, and the Pro Controller is an excellent alternative to the Joy-Con/Charging Grip combo that comes packed in the box. The HD Rumble is quite the interesting gimmick, and if implemented correctly could really help bring game experiences to the next level, but with them only showing it on 1-2 Switch, it make take developers some time to implement it correctly in full length games.  If you are a fan of Nintendo, you’re going to love the Switch when it launches in March.