Even though it’s only been a few months since we first learned about the Nintendo Switch, in its initial reveal last year, and the premiere event less than two months ago, it was an agonizing wait for many eagerly awaiting Nintendo’s latest home console to finally be released to the public. Last week, on March 3rd, The unusual home console and handheld hybrid was launched worldwide to much fanfare and selling out rapidly in many regions. Now that it’s finally out in the wild and in the hands of consumers, how has our experience with the Nintendo Switch been during its first week?
On launch day, hundreds of thousands started to receive their Nintendo Switch consoles after waiting for their deliveries to show up or actually going out into the real world and picking up their console at a brick and mortar store. This seemed to go well in most places, but a range delivery problems from retailers like ShopTo, GAME and even Amazon and the Nintendo UK Store soon came to light and caused customers to have their deliveries delayed past the actual launch day as they had hoped. My own Nintendo Switch delivery was among the many that had been affected, so I was also one of the many looking on with envy as others were already receiving their switches and starting on one of the various launch games. Thankfully, my delivery managed to turn up the following day after an extra day of waiting, so at least the whole weekend wasn’t completely ruined.
Aiming to get the optimal Nintendo Switch experience, I opted for a second pair of joy-cons (the alternate neon pair), to give to full neon sets when matched with the two included in the console, a pro controller for a more comfortable control method when using the console in TV mode, and an official case and protector to help keep the console safe & sound while travelling around with it outside. Along with this I also got a selection of the main launch titles to try out the different games available. Anyone who’s been through a couple console launches knows that you don’t really expect to get the strongest games that the console has to offer right out of the gate but the games launching with the switch seem to be quite decent so far. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an amazing new take on the franchise and has been a fantastic experience so far; Super Bomberman R is the first physical release for a bomberman game on a home console for more than a decade (the last being the gritty Bomberman Act Zero reboot) and brings the series’ classic gameplay with some new bells & whistles along with a new story mode and features; 1 – 2 Switch showcases the different unique features of the console in a range of easy to get into mini games for you and your friends, and Just Dance 2017 … is basically the same Just Dance you know and expect with this year’s songs included.
The first thing I noticed about the games is how odd their size and shape is, considering that the games are on tiny game cards (which apparently don’t taste too pleasant) and there seems to be no manual included inside, so there’s a lot of unused space in there. At least the clear cases allow some games to have some nice inner / reverse art on the covers, like the 8-bit throwback design on the inside of the Super Bomberman R cover.
The first few days using the Nintendo Switch was quite an interesting experience in transitioning from playing at home on the TV to taking it out in handheld mode and continuing where I left off. With games like the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, playing a full featured open world Zelda game on the console on your TV and simply taking the console out of the dock and playing in handheld is surprising in how quickly and easily it ‘just works’ the first time you take the switch out of the dock and see the image light up on the screen, just as it was on your TV mere moments before.
The console in handheld mode is also more solid that you might expect, considering the controllers are detachable from the sides. Since at the premiere event back in January, all of the consoles were locked down in specialised harnesses, you couldn’t really feel how stable the whole thing was just by itself when you’re using it in handheld mode. I was initially worried this would be a weak point and they may feel a bit loose or flimsy since they’re designed to detach, but holding the console feels quite comfortable and there’s doesn’t seem to be any major looseness or wobble from the connection between each joy-con and the main unit.
A secret benefit of the official case that I didn’t think would be that useful was that the built in game card holder doubles as a kickstand for the console. The inclusion of a kickstand on the actual console could make this seem somewhat redundant, but it’s definitely more useful and less flimsy as the built-in option. Since the switch’s internal kickstand is quite thin and light and only supports the weight of the console from one side, it can be a bit precarious using it and a slight bump or shake could make the whole thing topple over. The kickstand flap inside the case doesn’t have this issue and I found that it also positions the console at a more comfortable viewing angle as well.
The first few days of the Nintendo Switch has been an interesting experience so far and I can expect that I’ll be spending a lot of time with this console both at home and when out and about as well!