In the days that followed the Nintendo Switch Presentation on January 13th, multiple ‘premiere’ events took place around the world in several cities and we attended the London event to be among the first in the country to try out Nintendo’s latest console!
Taking place at the prestigious Hammersmith Apollo in West London, Nintendo had turned the Apollo into its own mini exhibition of the Nintendo Switch in several different booths focusing on the different games and experiences that will be coming with the Nintendo Switch when it launches on march and later in the year.
The Legend of Zelda Breath of The Wild
Upon entering the venue, one of the first things you see is the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild area, emblazoned with the game’s logo on the back wall, marking the area showcasing the long-anticipated new Zelda game. Adorned with plenty of faux foliage and a picturesque backdrop, this little slice of Hyrule was set up with more than a dozen Nintendo Switch consoles and TVs for people to try out Link’s latest adventure. They even had the famous master sword on display (behind glass) so you could get a close up look at the replica that will be included with the collector’s edition of the game.
With this widely considered as the highlight of launch lineup of Nintendo Switch games, crowds immediately made a beeline for the Zelda area once the event had started and the doors were opened. If you had seen the gameplay footage of breath of the Wii U version of breath of the wild, the demo on show here was quite similar , but had some Nintendo Switch specific features on display. Unlike the Wii U version, Zelda was running at 1080p on the HDTVs set up at each demo station, and, with the Switch’s unique party trick, you could take the actual console out of the dock (still tethered to the table, of course) and see the TV screen go blank and instantly have the game continue on the console’s own 7″ display to play in handheld mode, which seemed kind of magical the first time you see it happen in person.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
As another one of the major first party releases coming to the Switch, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe had a nice chunk of the show floor for its racing themed area, featuring all of the different configurations that you could play in with the Nintendo Switch. In TV mode, the experience doesn’t feel too dissimilar from the original Wii U version that came out a couple years ago, save for a jump in resolution (from 720p on Wii U to 1080p on the switch) and the new characters and double item ability. The real selling point is in seeing how easily you can have a game of Mario kart with your friends wherever you are. The circle of 8 Nintendo Switch consoles in handheld mode were showing the local wireless multiplayer and the game had a rock solid 60fps even in handheld mode and still looked great on the smaller screen. The third configuration, tabletop mode was also on display, where you could play the game using the detachable joy-cons, with each player using one side of the pair. This method of playing seemed a little fiddly when I first saw it back in the original reveal trailer, but using a single joy-con horizontally didn’t feel too bad, especially when paired with the strap or the mini wheel attachments which both make the L and R buttons on top much easier to press.
Arms and 1-2 switch
Representing the motion control abilities of the switch’s controllers, two completely new games were revealed; 1-2 switch, a multiplayer mini/party game collection and ARMS, a competitive 3D fighting game which focuses on characters with stretchy arms and interchangeable fist attachments (no sign of luffy or dhalsim in the roster though).
A Walk through Nintendo’s console history
As you enter the event, you can walk through a sort of, ‘hall of fame’ charting the History of Nintendo’s previous home and handheld gaming consoles, which, as mentioned in the presentation, have all led up to the creation of the Nintendo Switch in some form, from the Game Boy’s portability, or the DS introducing touchscreens or the Gamecube’s handle allowing people to carry it with them to friends’ houses and such. It was a nice display and a good way to look back at all of the consoles Nintendo has brought out over the past 3 decades, which really drives home the point that they’ve been in videogames longer than anyone else and they’ve built up quite a reputation as one of the main leaders in the industry. Oddly enough, the Virtual Boy, one of their less favorably remembered consoles was absent from this lineup…
While we weren’t able to play everything that was on offer, we were able to get a good look at the range of games that will be coming to the Nintendo Switch and it definitely left us feeling that this launch is worth looking forward to. Luckily we don’t have to wait too long either since it’s coming out in just under two months!