We all know that Nintendo has a great track record of boldly blazing its own path. For starters, the Wii popularised motion control, the Nintendo 3DS introduced glasses-free 3D screen tech and the Wii U, for all its many faults, brought a lot of interesting, second-screen gaming ideas into our living rooms.
Good news: the Nintendo Switch continues in that fine tradition. We know what you're thinking. Is it a handheld console? Is it a home console? A transforming console? It's all these things and more, as Nintendo blurs the lines between gaming on-the-go and at home without leaving you leaning more toward one use than another.
In that way it really is a fantastic proposition, and one that, going by the console's impressive sales since launch, looks set to rival even the original Wii in terms of popularity.
[Update: If you've been holding out for a new bundle deal before buying a Nintendo Switch, you're in luck – starting on September 5, 2018, Nintendo is releasing a Mario Tennis Aces bundle that includes a console, Mario Tennis Aces and 1-2 Switch for $359. The bundle is exclusive to the US unfortunately, and will be sold via Walmart. There's no word on international bundles with Mario Tennis Aces but we'll update this review if they crop up.]
- Bought a Switch? Check out the latest Nintendo Switch news
Whether you love it or hate it, you've got to agree that the Switch is a great idea. And one that makes a lot of sense than the original premises of both the Wii and Wii U. Those consoles relied heavily on developers figuring out the best uses for the new form factors – Wii Sports did this magnificently for the Wii, while developers had to work a little harder to make use of the Wii U's Gamepad.
But the Nintendo Switch is different. The console's central premise is something that can benefit literally every game. After all, who hasn’t wanted to take their console with them in the past to enjoy full home gaming experiences on the go?
The console mostly delivers on this premise well. It's a solid, premium-feeling handheld, and works more or less as you'd expect a home console to work when you need it to.
Having said that, it certainly isn't perfect. There are a few issues that stop the Switch from being a big success. Most of these issues are related to the fact that the console is (by its central premise) trying to do a lot of things all at once. However, for the most part, it finds a good compromise between both sides of its personality.
Read on for our full thoughts.
Nintendo Switch price and release date
- What is it? Nintendo's newest console
- When did it come out? March 3, 2017
- What does it cost? $299.99 in the US, £279.99 in the UK, $469.95 in Australia
- Three form factors: handheld, console (docked) and tabletop
- Lots of accessories, which are at risk of being misplaced
In the Nintendo Switch box you get the main body of the console, complete with two detachable controller sides, a grip which enables you to combine these controller portions into a more traditional gamepad, two straps which can be attached to these sides to make them into two individual controllers, and a dock that allows you to plug the console into your television.
You also get a USB Type-C power cable (with a non-detachable power brick) and an HDMI cable for connecting the device to your TV.
If you think that sounds like a lot of accessories then you'd be right, and we suspect a lot of people are going to end up misplacing at least one or two of them after some months with the console.
We've taken to wrapping our Joy-Con straps around our Joy-Con grip just to keep everything together, but it would be great if there was some way of attaching them to the console so they don't end up getting misplaced.
It's a pretty novel (not to mention somewhat complicated) setup, so it's worth delving into each of the different ways you can use the console.
- Bigger than traditional handhelds
- Slightly cramped for the right hand due to right analogue stick
- Split D-pad on the left side
First up is handheld mode, which is the form factor that's most like the hardware that's come before it.
In this configuration you attach the two controller portions (the Joy-Cons) to the left and right edges of the screen, and you use the console much like the PlayStation Vita.
In fact, the size and shape of the console's analogue sticks make it feel a lot like a modern Vita, although it doesn't feel as solid because of the joints that exist between the Joy-Cons and the screen.
Along the top of the device you've got a slot for game cartridges, a headphone jack (Bluetooth headphones/headsets are not supported), a volume rocker and a power button.
The bottom of the device is a much more spartan affair. You've got the kickstand for using it in tabletop mode (more on this later) concealing a small microSD slot which provides the console's expandable storage. Internal storage is limited to just 32GB, so if you're planning on downloading games rather than buying them then you're going to want to invest in a microSD card (capacities up to 2TB are theoretically supported).
Check out our unboxing video of the new console below.
The detachable Joy-Cons have a lot going on. The right hand side has the classic A, B, X, Y button configuration that Nintendo has used on and off since the SNES, an analogue stick (slightly awkwardly placed underneath the face buttons) and two shoulder buttons. There's a small plus-shaped button which acts as the equivalent of the Wii U’s 'Start' button, and a home button for reaching the console's system-level menus.
Across on the left Joy-Con it’s a very similar story. You've got a minus button that acts as the console's 'Select' button, a share button for taking screenshots and video (in selected titles), an analogue stick, two shoulder-buttons, and the most un-Nintendo D-pad we've ever seen.
Instead of the classic cross D-pad Nintendo has utilized since the NES, the left Joy-Con instead has a set of four circular buttons that are identical in shape to the face buttons on the right Joy-Con.
This decision, which appears odd at first glance, has actually been made so the left Joy-Con can be used as an individual controller, with the D-pad acting as face-buttons in this configuration (again, more on this later).
- Connects to your TV via an included dock
- Docking process is seamless, and can be done mid-game
The second form-factor is console mode. You place the main portion of the console in the included dock, this connects the device to your television, and you're then free to detach the Joy-Cons to control the Switch from a distance.
The way the console transfers the viewing experience from its own screen to the television is as seamless as it could possibly be. You don't even have to pause your current game – it happens completely in real time.
Detaching the Joy-Cons can be a little fiddly, but is essentially done by holding a small button on their backs and sliding the controller up.
This TV dock is around the same size as the Nintendo Switch's middle portion. Around the back you've got a USB Type-C port to provide the console with power, an HDMI port to connect it to your television, and a USB Type-A port.
On the left-hand side of the console are a further two USB ports, which will mainly be used for charging your controllers as you play wirelessly (more on this later too).
If you want to use the Switch with multiple televisions throughout your home then you can buy additional docks, which should make it easy to transition from one screen to another.
- Screen can also be detached and propped up on a table
- Great for two-player gaming, but four players on the console's small screen is a push
The final form factor is what Nintendo calls 'tabletop mode'. Using the kickstand that's attached to the back of the screen you can prop the console up on a table and then detach the Joy-Cons for some semi-portable gaming.
In theory this is a perfect fit for long journeys on public transport where you have a tray table to place the console on, but this is a bit of a mixed experience.
It's certainly lovely being able to use the Joy-Cons in the grip rather than having them attached to the console. The grip provides just enough extra plastic to make the controllers much more comfortable in the hands, and having the console a little further away from you means that your sitting posture feels a lot more natural.
Tabletop mode is also great for multiplayer gaming. Detaching both Joy-Cons to allow two people to play against one another is a pleasure. This makes the console perfect for whipping out at small gatherings where you'll already have everything you need for a multiplayer session.
But there are a couple of issues that prevent the console from fully capitalizing on tabletop mode.
First is the kickstand. Although it's rubberised, which means that the console doesn't slide around, it only supports the console at a single height. This means that if your tray table is a little closer to you then there's no ability to prop the console up so that it's facing you more directly. You'll instead be stuck with the screen pointing at your chest rather than face.
Second is the charging port, which is inaccessible when your using it in tabletop mode. During a recent train journey this meant that although we were in the perfect situation to use tabletop mode, we ended up using the console as a handheld so that we could make use of the charger next to our seat.
Finally, when it comes to multiplayer gaming, the screen is just a little too small for more than two players. Four-player Mario Kart is almost impossible due to the size and resolution of the screen, and we found ourselves trying to put our face mere inches from the console to be able to make out more distant details in the game's tracks.
Overall it feels as though tabletop mode is better suited to short periods of use, which is a shame when it should be the defacto way to use the console over long periods.
- Set-up is simple
- Console will need to be told whether Joy-Cons are being used together or separately
Setting up the new console is suitably simple.
If you're using the device as a handheld then simply attach the Joy-Cons and press the power button.
If you want to play games on your TV you'll need to plug the dock into the TV via HDMI, and hook it up to some power via the included USB Type-C power lead. The console then easily slips into the dock.
Pairing the controllers is a little more complicated than with other devices because of the fact that they can either be paired or used separately. The way you tell the console which controllers you're using is to press both the L and R shoulder buttons in whichever configuration you've opted for.
This means that if you're using the Joy-Cons individually you can press the buttons on the Joy-Con straps to indicate that this is the case.
On the software side the console will ask you for the standard combination of Wi-Fi details and user account set-up info. These details are a doddle to input if you make use of the console's touchscreen; the keyboard isn't quite as good as a smartphone's, but it's a lot better than using a traditional controller.
After that's done you're able to play games off a cartridge, or games that are saved on the system's memory.
- Check out our guide on how to set up the Nintendo Switch to see how simple the process is for yourself.
Nintendo has designed some absolutely classic controllers in its time. The original NES controller wrote the blueprint for what console controllers have continued to be ever since, the N64 was the first console to have a controller with an analogue thumb-stick, and the Wii, for better or for worse, introduced the world to motion-controlled gaming.
With the Switch, Nintendo has attempted the seemingly impossible in trying to create a controller that's simultaneously one whole controller and two separate controllers, while also functioning as controllers in the handheld mode.
Joy-Cons: general impressions
- By trying to do many things at once the Joy-Cons don't do anything perfectly
- HD Rumble tech is impressive – but developers need to find a use for it
Ultimately these multiple roles mean the controllers end up being jacks of all trades and masters of none. None of the controller configurations are unusable, but we've used more comfortable controllers in the past that have had the advantage of only having to do one thing very well.
The left Joy-Con's D-pad exhibits this problem in a nutshell. Rather than going for the cross D-pad that the company's been using since the NES, the D-pad is instead split into four separate buttons to allow them to be used as face buttons when the Joy-Con is used as an individual controller.
The result is a D-pad that you’re not going to want to use for classic games that rely on it a lot, like Street Fighter.
The analogue sticks also feel like a compromise between the form factors. They're too small for a traditional gamepad, yet big enough that we wouldn't want to throw the console too carelessly into a rucksack for fear of one of them snapping off.
You do of course have the option of buying separate accessories which don't have these issues (the Pro controller being the prime example), but in this review we're going to limit ourselves to talking about what you get in the box, since this is the primary way most people are going to be using the console, at least initially.
One part of the controllers that we absolutely love are the face buttons. They're a little smaller than those on other consoles, but they've got a really satisfying click to them that we really appreciate.
The Joy-Cons feature an interesting form of rumble, which Nintendo has dubbed 'HD Rumble'. From what we've seen so far this isn’t just a marketing gimmick – it genuinely feels like a step forward for rumble tech.
One mini-game in the launch game 1-2 Switch has you counting the number of (virtual) balls inside a Joy-Con, and it's impressive just how well the HD Rumble creates the impression of there being real balls inside the controller.
Another mini-game impresses by tasking you to crack a safe by feeling the click of a dial as you turn it.
Both mini-games have us excited for the possibilities of HD Rumble in the future, but the success of the technology will depend on the ability of developers to make use of it – the potential is there, but we're yet to see a killer app.
Nintendo has made a practical use of the feature in the Switch 3.0 OS update – now if you've lost one Joy-Con but the two are still paired you can make the other vibrate to make it easier to find.
There have been reports of connectivity issues with the left Joy-Con which is something we've experienced ourselves. The problem is that sometimes during gameplay the left Joy-Con's connection just drops out completely.
Fortunately, Nintendo is now offering a repair service for any broken Joy-Cons, so we'd advise sending yours in if you experience connectivity issues of any kind.
- Handheld controls are a little cramped and awkward
- Right analogue stick in particular is uncomfortable
It's in the handheld configuration that the Switch controller's deficiencies are most apparent. The main problem is the low positioning of the right analogue stick, which we found very difficult to operate comfortably.
Either you hold the Switch precariously on the tips of your fingers in order to operate the analogue stick with the tip of your right thumb, or you hold the device more tightly and operate the thumbstick with the inside of your thumb knuckle, which feels cramped and awkward.
Looking back, on the Vita the layout is very similar, but the increased weight of the Nintendo Switch makes it much more difficult to comfortably hold on the fingertips.
It's a mode that we think works in small bursts, but it's not comfortable over longer periods. If you're gaming on a flight, for example, we'd expect most people to opt to put the console in tabletop mode on the tray table in front of them.
We are, however, fans of the shoulder buttons, which manage to feel big enough without impacting on the depth of the console too much.
- Analogue sticks are smaller than a traditional controller
- Overall the controller is comfortable and nice to use
- Clicky face buttons are especially appealing
The main way we expect people to play with the console when it's docked is by combining the two Joy-Cons together into a single controller.
This is done by using the included Joy-Con grip, which the two sides slide into.
We were initially concerned when it was revealed that the Joy-Con grip that comes with the console is unable to charge the two controllers (for that you'll need to buy the separate Joy-Con charging grip).
This means that if you want to charge your controllers you'll need to plug them back into the console's screen.
The Joy-Cons' battery life is rated at 20 hours, so we'd be surprised if they ever run out of battery mid-game, but we'd be lying if we said that having to dismantle our controller after every play session wasn’t annoying.
A grip that charges the Joy-Cons is available, but this is sold separately.
Aside from charging concerns, we were pleasantly surprised with how the controller feels when assembled in the grip.
Although the analogue sticks are a little small, we found them perfectly usable for lengthy Breath of the Wild play sessions, and the addition of a little more plastic massively helps the ergonomics of the controller as a whole.
It's just a shame that the controller doesn’t have a proper D-pad on its left side; as it stands you’re going to need to buy the Pro controller if you want that traditional Nintendo controller feel.
- Oddly positioned buttons due to having to work as a combined controller
- A nice option to have if you want a friend to join you for multiplayer
Split the Joy-Cons apart and they can work as individual controllers complete with an analogue stick each, four face buttons, and (if you attach a Joy-Con strap) two shoulder buttons.
It's this configuration that feels like it's required the biggest compromise in Nintendo's pursuit to make them work in multiple ways.
On the left Joy-Con the D-pad/face buttons are in the centre of the controller, which means your right thumb is uncomfortably far over, and the same is true of the analogue stick on the right Joy-Con.
The asymmetrical configuration also makes describing controls to another person very difficult, since the control buttons have different names between the two Joy-Cons.
The lack of hand grips is also prone to causing cramp if you use the controllers over long periods, especially if the game you're playing relies heavily on the Joy-Con's shoulder buttons.
As a final point, the shoulder buttons can feel a little stiff to press, which adds to the discomfort of using them over long periods.
So while this configuration might work in a pinch if you want to let a friend join you for a couple of rounds of Mario Kart, we don't see it being something you’ll want to spend a lot of time with.
Additionally, you'll need to remember to carry the Joy-Con straps with you if you want to use the shoulder buttons, which will be an annoying inconvenience for most people.
Alternatively, you can use the two Joy-Cons as a single controller while split apart. Here they function identically to when they’re assembled into the Joy-Con grip, although we found it much less comfortable because of how cramped the right analogue stick ends up feeling.
Again, this feels like a compromise, this time for when you've forgotten your Joy-Con grip. We can’t see ourselves using this configuration unless a motion-controlled game specifically calls for it in the future.
- Want to get the best deal on a Nintendo Switch in Australia? Compare prices on our sister site Getprice!
Nintendo was a little late to the online party. While Microsoft stormed ahead with its Xbox Live service and Sony got to grips with the PlayStation Network, Nintendo was languishing with inconvenient friend codes and limited voice chat options.
So far the Nintendo Switch's online offering is unproven. Its servers haven't yet gone live (a launch is promised for September 2018), so we haven't been able to try out multiplayer gaming or the eShop.
We'll have a full review of each of these services when they launch on their respective dates, but read on for our experiences so far.
- More basic service available now
- Full service to launch in September 2018
Online multiplayer is available in compatible games from the console's launch. At the moment the service is free, but you'll have to pay for it when it launches fully in 2018. We're hoping its functionality expands to justify the price increase, but at the moment details are thin on the ground.
The console's companion app has launched however, and is compatible with Splatoon 2.
This app allows you to invite friends to matches, and to voice chat with them.
However, the whole process is a little bit cumbersome. Using a separate device isn't ideal, and its connectivity isn't perfect.
The situation is improving slowly over time. Nintendo recently updated the app, and updates to the console's firmware itself have added nice features such as the ability to add friends directly from your 3DS and Wii U Friend Lists (as of Switch OS 3.0)
Local wireless multiplayer
- Easy to set up and join other players
- Supports up to eight Switch consoles
Local wireless multiplayer within a game such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe works very well.
We used 3 consoles to have 6 people playing at once and found the entire process simple to set up with no lag or connection problems.
To set up an online multiplayer game using local wireless players simply start up Mario Kart and select local wireless mode for either one or two players within the game itself. After this one player will set up a room which the other players then join and the player that has set up that room will select the race rules.
Each player will be given the chance to vote for their track preference and the game will randomly choose a track from those that players have voted for, much like online play works.
If you have two players to one console the screen will split for each of you to see your place in the race, but you won't see what everyone else is seeing on their screens unless their consoles are in front of you.
In the specific case of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe the maximum number of players that you can have in a single race over local wireless is 8 with one or two players per Switch.
However, if you don't have multiple consoles up to four friends can play on a single Nintendo Switch console in TV mode, or in tabletop mode.
Alternatively, if you have a lot of friends and a lot of consoles to hand, up to 12 consoles in TV mode can be connected via LAN Play, with one or two players per connected Nintendo Switch; however with each player required to have their own USB Ethernet adaptor, it's unlikely that many outside of tournaments will end up using this functionality.
- Limited functionality at launch
- Full service to launch in September 2018
Nintendo’s online service certainly looks better than what it's offered in the past, but it still falls short of what competitors Sony and Microsoft are doing.
The service will cost $4 (£3.49/AU$5.95) for a 1-month membership, $8 (around £7/AU$11.95) for a 3-month membership and $19.99 (£18/AU$29.95) for a 12-month membership.
Those are the prices for one user. If you've got a family on your Nintendo Switch then you'll be looking to sign up for the more expensive family plan which costs £31.49/$35 per year. It seems like a fair bit more but it does allow up to eight accounts across multiple consoles, meaning you get a decent discount if you know a few people with Switches who are willing to split.
Before the service launches officially, you can still play online with friends for free. Functionality is currently limited, with voice chat and parties offered in just Splatoon 2, but it's there in a basic form. When the service does launch, though, you'll need to sign up if you want to keep playing with your friends online in games such as Mario Kart 8, Splatoon 2 and, soon, Super Smash Bros.
Nintendo has confirmed that the full online service will launch in September 2018. When the full service launches, large parts of it will function through an app on your phone, through which you'll organise your online lobby and voice chat. This means you'll have to have your phone on you if you want to use this functionality – the functionality isn't present on the console itself.
The service also offers its own somewhat limited version of Sony's PlayStation Plus free games and Microsoft's Games with Gold which will allow players to access a small library of 20 NES games. These games will have modern features such as online multiplayer. There's no word yet on whether Nintendo will expand the selection.
Something a lot of people have been waiting for has also been confirmed to be a part of the online service: cloud saves. Those who subscribe to the online service will finally be able to back up their saves for the games they've plugged hundreds of hours into (though they will have to pay for the privilege).
Though the Switch launched without the popular video streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime we've come to expect from consoles, Nintendo was quick to promise that these services would come to the console 'in time', though we haven't seen much yet.
Hulu is the first of these services to have launched. It's US-only, but we're hoping this is a good sign that other streaming services will be arriving soon.
eShop online store
- eShop available at launch with modern games
- Retro games through Virtual Console not available yet
Like the Wii U before it, the Nintendo Switch features an online store that will allow you to download games rather than buy them in-store.
If you're looking to download your games rather than buying them in a physical format then you'll want to invest in a microSD card. The console's internal memory is limited to 32GB, an amount which is already too small for one game, Dragon Quest Heroes.
As for the Virtual Console seen on previous Nintendo devices, that's not coming to the Nintendo Switch. Instead, retro games will be made available through the online subscription service we've already mentioned.
Although the eShop is sparsely populated at the moment, we like its minimalist design. Along the left are sections for 'Recent Releases', 'Coming Soon' and 'Redeem Code' and there's also search functionality.
You can add upcoming games to your 'Watch List', and there's also a section for downloading previously purchased titles.
Nintendo is clearly planning to continue to add to the store as time goes on, too, as recently it added the ability to store your credit card information so that you can now purchase your games without having to re-enter your details every time.
With the Nintendo Switch having to work as a handheld as well as a home console, we were initially worried that the console’s graphical abilities would be limited.
Internally the Switch is using an Nvidia Tegra X1 chip, which is broadly similar to what was found in the Nvidia Shield. That's not exactly a bad thing considering the Shield is a 4K-capable set-top box, but you have to remember that as a portable device the Switch needs to make compromises to ensure a good battery life.
At launch, concerns over graphical horsepower appear to be partly borne out, but we wouldn't call them deal-breakers – we'd say the Switch's graphics appear to be roughly equivalent to the Wii U.
- Roughly equivalent to Wii U
- Not as good as PS4 or Xbox One
- Strength of Nintendo's art direction makes up for technical shortcomings
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, for example, runs at a resolution of 720p on the Wii U, while this is boosted to 900p on the Switch when docked and outputting to a Full HD screen (4K output is not supported).
On the surface this suggests the Switch has the graphical edge on the Wii U, but we experienced frequent frame rate drops when playing the game on our television.
Meanwhile, when played on the Switch's own 720p screen, the game maintained a consistent frame rate.
These initial observations suggest that we're looking at a new console with roughly equivalent power to Nintendo’s last-generation system, but we'll see how the situation improves as developers continue to get to grips with the new hardware.
Nintendo has never been one to push the graphical envelope. Past games such as the Wii U's Mario Kart 8 have certainly looked good, but this has been more as a result of their distinctive art style than the technical prowess of their graphics.
Thankfully this has tended to be a strong suit of Nintendo's in the past.
The look of the games (in handheld mode at least) is also helped by the quality of the Switch's screen. Although it's only 720p resolution, the screen is bright and its colours are vibrant. It's not up there with the best smartphones on the market, but it's a step above Nintendo’s past handhelds.
The games we've played look very good for handheld games, but as console games they don't quite have the same fidelity of current-generation games on other consoles.
- As low as 2.5 hours for graphically intensive games
- Enough for a commute, but longer journeys might prove problematic
- Ability to charge over USB allows use of portable battery packs
Much has been made of the Switch's battery life, which Nintendo has claimed will last between 2.5 and 6 hours.
In our experience this claim has rung true. When actively playing Zelda we got around 2.5 hours, which was enough to cover our commute to and from work in a single day before we charged the Switch overnight.
If you're looking to use the console for a longer period, such as on a flight, then there are a couple of things you can do to squeeze some more battery life out of the console – turning on airplane mode (although this prevents you from detaching the Joy-Cons) and turning down the screen brightness.
Additionally you're able to use portable battery packs, but this is hardly ideal, and we found that the Switch draws so much power that at best they prevented the battery from dropping during play, rather than actively recharging it.
It's difficult to compare this battery life to previous handheld consoles, as even on the Switch itself this battery life will vary massively between different games, but a recent rest-mode comparison put the Switch ahead of the Vita, PSP and 3DS, although it loses out to the DS and GameBoy Advance.
The bottom line is that this is a console that should be able to deal with your daily commute, but might struggle with longer journeys.
Update: This page originally covered the games that launched alongside the console, however after over half a year on sale the number of games on the Nintendo Switch has increased significantly. Check out our guide to the best Switch games for a constantly-updated list of the games you absolutely need to pick up.
- Plenty of good games over the first 12 months
- Eventual success will rely on third-party developers
- Lack of graphical parity may harm long-term support
The Nintendo Switch's launch lineup is a combination of ports of existing games such as Shovel Knight, World of Goo and I am Setsuna, new entries in existing franchises like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Bomberman R, and all-new games like Snipperclips, 1-2 Switch and Fast RMX.
All in all it wasn't a bad launch lineup, but the console's first 12 months on sale also saw big new releases in the form of Super Mario Odyssey, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Splatoon 2 and Arms.
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has also said in an interview that we could see more of Nintendo's big first party titles come to the console in one form or another (and Super Smash Bros has now arrived, for example).
How this will continue to play out isn't fully clear, but Fils-Aime did say that a main Nintendo development philosophy is to have at least one of its classic franchises on every platform.
In its first year the console also received versions of big existing games like Minecraft and FIFA. Though not exactly new, titles like these will be important for consumers who don't plan on using the Switch as a second console, but will be using it as their primary gaming device.
The real test in the long term will be how third-party developers (i.e. those not financed by Nintendo directly) embrace the console. Although its graphics are good for a handheld, we worry that a lack of graphical parity with PS4 and Xbox One will prevent developers from easily supporting the console alongside those devices, which may harm the number of game releases it will see.
So far there have been some positive signs for third party support. Rocket League developer Psyonix is "evaluating" whether to bring the game to the console, and the release of Snake Pass suggests that games can be brought over to the Switch without too many compromises.
Mario and Zelda have always been excellent games, but without the likes of franchises with more regular release schedules like Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed and Far Cry, you might find yourself lacking games to play in the long run.
We've had the chance to try out a select portion of the console's launch games, so read on for our thoughts.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Impressive modernisation of a classic franchise
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of Nintendo Switch's launch lineup. Although the game also arrived on Nintendo’s older Wii U console, the thought of being able to take a full-on, modern Zelda on the go with us is a compelling proposition indeed.
But quite apart from being the best handheld Zelda game ever made, the game is also up there with being one of the best in the series. It feels fantastically broad and open, with dozens of weapons to find, items to craft, and environments to explore.
Yes, the game breaks with tradition in so many ways but the experience still ends up feeling quintessentially Zelda, with all the charm that this entails.
If you're picking up a Switch, then Breath of the Wild is an absolutely essential purchase, but we'll be trying out a copy of the Wii U version of the game to see if you can get away with experiencing the fantastic new game without having to invest in new hardware.
- Looking for a second opinion? Check out GamesRadar's review of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- An interesting showcase of the hardware, but doesn't quite have the staying power of Wii Sports
Like the Wii before it, the Nintendo Switch introduces new technologies to gaming that haven't been explored before.
Whereas the Wii had Wii Sports to show off these new concepts, the Switch is banking on 1-2 Switch to show off what the new hardware is capable of. The result is a collection of 28 mini-games, which cover everything from sword-fighting to Wild West gunslinging, while also making some time for cow-milking.
It's a fun collection of games, but we don't think it has the same 'replayability' as Wii Sports.
The games are more about performing in front of your friends than outright winning. For example, one game has you pulling Yoga poses and trying to keep as still as possible for as long as you can, but since the Joy-Con is only tracking the movement of one hand, there's nothing forcing you to actually hold the pose specified by the game aside from drawing the ire of your friends.
There's also no single-player mode for you to practise with when you're away from a group of pals.
Overall the game is a bit of a mixed bag, but it's a fun one to use to show off your new console to friends.
- A great little co-op indie game
One of the nice surprises of the Switch launch event was Snipperclips, a small puzzle game in which two players solve puzzles by cutting sections out of each other and changing their character’s shapes.
It’s a delightful, charming, little game, and with its budget price tag we think it could end up being an essential purchase.
Just Dance 2017
- A competent entry in the series
You've almost certainly heard of Just Dance, the dancing series that first premiered on the Wii way back in 2009.
The game tasks you with completing various dance routines either on your own or with a friend, and judges your progress based on the movement of a Joy-Con in your hand (unfortunately there doesn't appear to be a way to use two Joy-Cons simultaneously).
Much like 1-2 Switch, there's little to stop you cheating and not dancing with your whole body, but also like 1-2 Switch this is meant as a party game, so social niceties will hopefully stop you from spoiling the fun.
It's not the most feature-packed or technically advanced game in the world, but if you've enjoyed Just Dance games in the past this appears to be a very serviceable version.
By all accounts the Switch has had an amazing start to life, with a number of excellent exclusive games and solid sales.
Even more than a year after launch though, we still haven't seen the complete package: the full-featured online service has been delayed and is still a month away. Once it becomes available at the end of September, we'll update this review, but we have to say we're very impressed with what we've seen so far.
When compared with the handheld consoles that have come before it, the Nintendo Switch blows them out of the water with its graphical quality, which comes close to the last generation of consoles.
This is helped by its impressive screen which is bright, crisp, and colourful.
Providing the console with a controller that also doubles as two individual controllers is a very neat inclusion, and should mean that you're never unable to join a friend for a quick multiplayer game while you're out and about.
The docking and undocking process is impressively seamless, with games that don't even need to be paused before being plugged into a television.
The phrase 'jack of all trades and master of none' may sound negative, but the impression the Nintendo Switch has left us with is that sometimes compromise is a necessary, good thing.
Yes there are better home consoles out there with controllers that can be good at doing just one thing, and yes there are handhelds out there that have better battery life and a more compact form-factor, but no other piece of gaming hardware has attempted the sheer amount of things as the Nintendo Switch and delivered so competently on so many of them.
The graphics aren't the best around, but they're good enough that they don't feel dated. The controller isn't the most comfortable, but it never feels outright difficult to use. The battery life isn't the best, but it's enough for daily use.
All of these trade-offs have been born out of compromise and an attempt to make something that works in so many situations, and on that final point the Nintendo Switch is a great success.
What remains to be seen is if, in the years ahead, its games library can shape up to be something you'll want to play both at home and on the go, and whether its online service can compete with the existing efforts from Sony and Microsoft.
If both of these play out well, then Nintendo will have found a compromise worth making.
So is it worth the $299.99 (£279.99 / AU$469.95) asking price? At this point the answer seems to be a resounding 'yes'. Nintendo has released excellent game after excellent game for the system, and the hardware does a great job at playing them.
It's also worth mentioning there are often some really good value bundles available across all markets, check out our guide to the latest Nintendo Switch bundles and deals.
But if you're after a 'complete' console experience, then you might have to wait a while longer to see how Nintendo's online service that's due to launch in September pans out.