The Nintendo Switch does not have the best launch lineup to date, but the console did launch with its own mandatory version of Wii Sports, or Playroom VR. 1-2-Switch is, in theory, a collection of tech demos to showcase the hardware's awesome features. Some of them make use of the HD Rumble, while others the motion sensing tech. There are 28 of these minigames in the collection, of which each varying in difficulty, and some of them are just ridiculously awkward to play. 1-2-Switch has its highlights, and then it's very, very low moments that made me question life itself.
Backed by an off-beat art style, Nintendo got real-life actors and actresses to perform the intro sequences to each mini game. As you start one, the people act quite awkwardly as they try and introduce you to the minigame you have chosen. The quick video often ends with one of the two players pretending they are sad, while the other jumps around like a bunny high on sugar. While this sort of approach is great for kids, I would know as my 6-year niece started to relate to these people, it can be quite mundane for us adults. Regardless, it gives the minigames a personal touch by seeing people act and handle the hardware.
The Nintendo Switch is a pretty cool little device, and after playing through each of the mini-games, it opened my eyes to just how capable the Joy-Cons are. Almost every one of the 28 mini-games revolve around the Joy-Cons, with the odd one based on the screen itself as you pretend it is a baby, rock it to sleep cradled in your arms, and lower it into the crib without waking it up. The aforementioned minigame is the exception to the Joy-Con focus, and after trying it once, I never went back as it became a mission to keep unplugging the Switch from the dock, and connecting the Joy-Cons to the screen. Apart from this “baby” minigame, the others show great promise for the hardware.
1-2-Switch relies heavily on a two-player experience, as most of the games are designed that way. From the first game that sees you and your partner trying to answer a phone by lifting the Joy-Con to your ear before the other player, right to the mini-game called “Milk” that mimics you milking a cow with some rather awkward hand gestures. It is all two player based, and the nice thing about it is that you have your Joy-Cons, which in theory are two separate controllers, so there is no need to buy anything else. Not to mention how much fun the controllers are to use, especially when it comes to the HD rumble feature, and how it has been cleverly implemented into the game.
One of the highlights is the Ball Box mini-game, where you and your partner rotate the Joy-Con around to feel how many balls there are in the box. The controller literally feels like a box full of balls, and I know this sounds strange, but as you tilt the controller, you can feel the balls sliding down the side and hitting the wall of the box. It is such a unique feeling, one I have never experienced before. Then we have an eating challenge that requires that you lift the infra-red camera on the controller to your mouth and pretend you are eating a sandwich. The faster you chew, the more you will eat, and in the end, you will be scored on your total.
Moving away from the unique games, the classic motion games also make the experience feel both fuller, and gimmicky at the same time. Table Tennis, for example, does not have a table and a ball on the screen while you are playing. Rather it relies on you “visualizing” it in front of you. Well, I tried to perfect this but it never worked out for me. I hit the fence, missed the balls, and kept losing. I could not help but feel that it needed to be a bit more polished and perhaps include a table, seen as it is “table” tennis and all.
Then we have the mini-games that make you feel like a complete idiot, the Runway Model to be specific, where you have to walk around your lounge like a star, and then pose in weird positions to rack up points. The Joy-Cons detect your movement patterns and rates you on your star quality. Again, my 6-year old niece loved this, and as much as I enjoy a runway as much as the next queen, it was just too cheesy for me to digest. The same goes for the air guitar, as I spent my time shaking my arms in the air to try and win, but with no clear direction how to do it, I kept losing.
Through the most awkward mini-games, and looking past all the terrible acting in the package, 1-2-Switch does what it sets out to do, and that is to showcase the features of the Nintendo Switch. The only problem, however, is that for every great game, there are another ten that have been poorly designed, or just lack any sort of reason to keep trying them. The kids loved the experience, no matter how cheesy it got, maybe I just grew up too fast?
If you own a Switch, and have little ones around who will love to just go mad over these mini-games, then this is for you. If you are looking for cool ways to show off your device, then there are some pretty awesome games in the collection, but be prepared to put up with the over-the-top acting.