After a long time of waiting, debating, and pouring over whether to buy the fabled Nintendo Switch, I finally did it. After three solid years with my beloved 3DS and PS Vita, it’s come time to change gears and jump on the new generation train – Destination: More Games.
I’ve been playing around with my Switch for a couple of weeks and I thought I’d get down my thoughts on the device, praises, grievances, and all.
– Gaming wherever and whenever
Portability has remained a major advantage for me even though I rarely get out of the house. You’d think I’d prefer gaming on hardier, more powerful platforms like the PC or Playstation 4 but the number of hours I put into my handheld far exceed the time I spend on home consoles.
First party titles, third party titles, worthwhile indies. Nintendo has covered all its bases. It’s such an amazing feeling to browse the eshop and see familiar titles from the Steam store on almost every page, the fact that I can bring my Switch and thus, those games, wherever I go makes me ridiculously overjoyed.
Over the past year of the Switch blowing past every expectation and milestone, I regularly found myself looking over a game on Steam and thinking, “I should just wait till it gets a Switch port.”
Not everyone cares about how powerful a console is, but portability is definitely one of the major considerations when buying a handheld. In the days of yore, the PSP and DS proved it. Then the 3DS and Ps Vita confirmed it. The number of units moved for the respective devices speak for themselves. Don’t discount mini-PCs either, such as the GPD Win and it’s successor, the GPD Win 2, which smashed their crowd funding goals. I’ve personally owned the first GPD Win and it was nice for indies, but it had its own problems.
– A sizeable game collection
If you’d told me Skyrim would end up on a Nintendo console, I’d have busted a gut. But it’s no pipe dream. Skyrim, the epic RPG which has been ported to every conceivable platform and been rereleased so many times Bethesda must be swimming in cash, is playable on a handheld console. You can fusrodah assassins, khajits, dragons, and guards with arrows in their knees over cliffs and into oblivion (that isn’t the realm).
And that’s not the only major third party title that’s come to the Switch. Don’t forget about the DOOM reboot and Wolfenstein 2. But about the Switch’s first party titles? Well, you have The Legend of Zelda, Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8.
What’s that? You want indie games? Hell, then what about Hollow Knight, Dead Cells and Shovel Knight, and tons more that I can’t list because this post will get way too long?
Dissenters like to bring up that Nintendo is porting way too many games, Splatoon 2 being one example, but for many people buying the Switch this will be their first time with many of those games. I did not own a Wii U so I look forward to Nintendo eventually porting its library to the Switch. It might sound a little crazy, but one easy solution is to not get the game if you already have it on other platforms. Personally, if my favourite games on the 3DS do end up coming to Switch, I’ll buy it in a heartbeat.
– Multiplayer / couch co-op madness
This point doesn’t apply to me per se, but I’ve read about many people loving the heck out of the Switch’s removable joycon ability. A couple waiting for dinner playing a match or two in Overcooked, two friends killing time during lunch with several thrilling rounds of Mario Kart. The handheld already comes with two controllers out of the box, it’s awesome that it has the option for multiplayer without needing to fork out extra cash at the start.
– The Switch’s shape and design
I have big hands. Playing the 3DS gave me cramps like you wouldn’t believe, but I eventually did get used to it. The Switch hasn’t really given me that option. With a flat back and non-ergonomic shape in general, my wrist and palms start protesting barely an hour into gaming sessions. I know I’m not an isolated case since I’ve seen a number of complaints across the internet, but similarly, there are people who have no problem with the design and have none of those problems. That’s just how the cookie crumbles I suppose.
– Battery life
The 3 hour or so battery life takes some getting used to, especially if you’re coming from the 3DS. It is hard not to notice how fast the battery drains, especially when you’re out the entire day with the Switch as your only source of entertainment. I’ve played with the idea of getting a power bank, but it is a difficult investment since I’ve never needed one, not even for my smartphone.
The Switch trades battery life for power, I can’t complain if it allows me to play Skyrim or DOOM during my daily commute. Other than having less gaming time and the need to lug around a power bank, I’d say the trade-off is worth the hassle.
– Price of digital games
I’m glad Nintendo is dunking its feet into the indie scene, but after seeing the price tags on several games I want, I’m certain I almost had a seizure. Not all indies are culpable but some seem to be taking advantage of the ‘portability means you pay more!’ argument. This applies not only to indies, I’ve seen a fair number of triple A games guilty of this as well.
I’m someone who doesn’t mind buying the same game multiple times, I’ll go the extra mile if I adore it, but when your game costs triple the price compared to other platforms, I have a hard time justifying the purchase. Not to mention the extra eshop tax!
This problem is especially hard to ignore for people who own a PC along with the Switch. Portability might be awesome, but if I have to shell out an extra fifteen to twenty bucks so I can take it on the train, I’d just stop myself from buying it. Frankly, that’s a lose lose situation.
As of writing this article, Stardew Valley on the eshop costs around $3 more than it’s steam counterpart. Patobox, another indie title I’ve had my eye on, costs $4 to $5 more. I hope indie developers thinking of publishing or porting games to the Switch in the future take this into consideration.
Is the Switch a perfect console? Of course not. But is it a worthwhile investment for people who love handhelds and crave portability? A resounding YES. With a whole new way to game and more indie titles than ever to dabble in, I’ll be a happy camper for a very long time to come.
Looking for an awesome Switch title to pick up? Check out The Final Station, here!