As I recently pointed out, the Nintendo Switch has some rather tough obstacles in its way. It is coming into the market with the PS4 and Xbox One dominating the field, as well as hardware that cannot compete with the current consoles and more powerful versions of them like the PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio. Yet again Nintendo has managed to get past all of this, and somehow made me forget all about the specs, the 1080p resolution, and poor battery life of the Gamepad, and focus on the game in front of me. While I had the Joy-Con in my hand, nothing else mattered, as the hardware came to life, and the games felt so great.
Hands on with the hardware
The Nintendo Switch has replaced my Apple Watch as my most wanted gadget, and I only have the sheer honesty of the console to thank for that. The games and the hardware are not weighed down by any gimmicks, and as small as the hardware feels in your hands, it adds to the on-the-go lifestyle that Nintendo is going for.
The Joy-Con device is so small and light, but it somehow managed to fit perfectly in my sasquatch hands. Whole holding each one separately, I was able to press all the L's, and R's, and even the analogue was a perfect fit for my thumb. The JoyCon is tiny, believe me, it is much smaller than I thought, but somehow after a few minutes with it, it was like any controller I had used in the past. Everything came naturally, and every press of a button was perfect.
Then we have the screen itself, I was lucky enough play a game on the TV in front of me, and then I decided to turn things up and go portable. As I placed my Joy-Con down and slid out the screen, the game even started to show before I fully removed the Gamepad from the dock. I slid on the Joy-Con L and R onto its respective sides, and I carried on my adventure with Link in Breath of the Wild. It was a seamless transition of gaming, and the same happened when I slid back the screen into the dock. It also makes a huge difference that the charging port for the device is a USB Type-C, so you will not have to worry about lining anything up, or missing the port. It just slides into the dock, and out with ease.
Let's talk about that screen resolution
All these recent reports of the Gamepad running at a lower 720p resolution might be true, but for me the screen's output quality was unbelievable. I have never seen something look so good on a mobile device, ever. Breath of the Wild was crisp, and if anything even more colorful than the TV I was using before I removed the screen out of the dock. Mario Kart Deluxe was like something out of the future, as the game's stunning display shined on the screen in front of me. If you have ever streamed something to your mobile device like using the Remote Play App, or even the Xbox App, forget what have you have seen. Things are so different with the Switch as streaming that happens on the Nintendo Switch's display, is live rendering directly from the device itself, and for that, I applaud its efforts greatly.
Joy-Con: Feeling is believing
The Joy-Con plays a major role in the devices feature, and after a few cool demos, I was blown away at how such a tiny little device, could hold so much potential in it. One perfect example has to be this ball game that comes with 1,2 Switch. You hold the controller in your hand, and as you rotate the controller around, you can feel small metal balls rolling around in your hand, and hitting the sides of a box.
No, there are no actual balls in the controller, it is all created with Nintendo's haptic feedback built into the controller. I stood for 3-minutes in one place trying to determine how many balls were in this box by jiggling it, quickly tossing it, so the balls lifted in the air and dropped again, and moving it to the side to feel them bang against the side of the box. I had to then guess how many were in the box itself.
Another awesome demo saw me gracefully milking a cow. Sure this demo was pretty out there, especially when it asked me to look at my hand while this milking was taking place. I lifted my hand, pressed a button, and pulled down in the air to milk this animal on the game. I was up against a 20-year old, and he was a pro and these hand gestures. I lost and only managed to milk nine glasses opposed to his thirteen, but he was 20 and could be used to those hand gestures.
Lastly on the point of the Joy-Con device, the western game I played got me all Mc Cree like. An opponent and I stood facing each other with a controller in our right hand, down by our side like a revolver. The announcerion the game then keeps you waiting in anticipation as he gives you the go-ahead to shoot. The first person to lift their gun and fire wins. Although I screamed “it's high noon” a couple of times, I kept losing as again my opponent was a pro.
These are just a few examples of how great the Joy-Con tech has been used. From the little haptic vibrations that make it feel like there are little balls in your hand, to the motion we all loved from the original Wii Motion Plus Controller making a return but smaller and better than ever. They are tiny little devils, and if Nintendo play their cards right, they could be the best thing about the Nintendo Switch
Breath of the Wild Demo
Onto something more intense, Breath of the Wild. While the game is a launch title, it was important for me to try it, as it would be the deciding factor whether I get the console or not. Breath of the Wild felt like a mix between a good survival game, and a classic Zelda experience. The demo started off with Link awakening from his 100-year slumber and venturing out of his tomb. Immediately the open world was there for me to experience, and it was a beautiful sight to take in. While it was just a demo of the game, the sheer openness of the world and its mechanics blew me away right from the start.
I took a branch, set it on fire, stood underneath an apple hanging from the tree, and after a few seconds it turned into a roasted apple. I cut wood using an axe I found, then made a fire to roast apples, and cook meat. I found clothes that even changed Link's appearance. Deciding to sneak up on an enemy rather than attack full on, I crept up behind a funny troll monster and stabbed him in the back. Leaving him with low health I then tossed my axe at him for the final blow. Beautiful glitter flew all over the place, and the sounds and sights were so rewarding.It was everything and anything we have never had in a Zelda game, and I wanted more.
I then completed the rest of the demo on the screen itself. It was still the same amazing experience, and the portable display changed nothing but let me get into a more comfortable position. I can see myself playing this on my TV, and then climbing into bed and playing for another few hours, or until the battery dies. It is so different from the Wii U Gamepad, as the quality of the game was still so high, that is kept the same experience from TV to screen.
While I wish I had my own Nintendo Switch to play with all the time, I am strongly leaning towards pre-ordering myself one. At first I thought it was an overpriced device that I will not utilize, but after spending four hours with it, I love it, and I have very high hopes that Nintendo will work their hardest to bring the best first party titles to the console, even if it means I never get any third party games.
We all know how well Nintendo makes games, and the Nintendo Switch and the games from its creator, are a match made in heaven. I dare say; the Nintendo Switch might be the biggest surprise of 2017. If you are keen to get a Switch, you can pre-order them today from R5,199 at Takealot The price has just gone down for the console by R300, making it an even more attractive buy for me.
Does this sound like something you would love? Let us know in the comments below.
More about the Nintendo Switch
- Nintendo Switch Presentation: All the announcements
- Let's Discuss: The State of the Nintendo Switch
- Nintendo Switch leaked specs provide a glimpse under the hood