The next Nintendo video game console, the Nintendo Switch, is within a month away from international release (March 3rd). While there’s no indication yet that we can expect the main series Pokémon games to appear on the Switch yet, there will be surely Pokémon titles of some sort sooner or later.
I was fortunate enough to try out the Nintendo Switch ahead of release at the RTX Sydney expo, and even film a bit of footage for one of the new IPs, ARMS. Check out the video below, and read on for my impressions!
The Nintendo Switch
The short version – the Nintendo Switch was better than I expected, and I look forward to trying it out come March the 3rd.
The whole package is smaller than I expected from looking at it online, and sleeker by far to the comparatively chunky Wii U Gamepad. The screen is pretty gorgeous and connection with the dock was fairly swift, as was the connection and disconnection of the JoyCons. No more fiddling with syncing up the controllers with the console!
The JoyCons were showcased a lot in demos for ARMS and 1-2 Switch, being the controller of choice in these demos. They handled well with ARMS and seemed rather responsive to position and movement. However, the moment they shined brightest was in the ‘Ball Count’ two-player minigame. Each JoyCon was made to simulate a wooden box with marbles inside, and you have to guess how many marbles are within the box. The sensitivity was frankly amazing, and it really felt like you were rolling marbles about in a box. The HD Rumble of the JoyCons were greatly hyped in the Switch reveal, but you really have to try them in person to properly appreciate them.
My worry is that the HD Rumble feature may not see much use in other games. Time will tell on how much it is properly utilized by game developers.
At RTXSydney various game demos were on display; ARMS, 1-2 Switch, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Fast RMX, Ultra Street Fighter 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. I focused my impressions below on ARMS and 1-2 Switch. Sadly I could not try out the Legend of Zelda title; some somewhat messy organisation (it was separate to all other Switch titles) and an apparent underestimation to anticipated crowd sizes meant the line was already capped when I tried to get in.
The ARMS demo featured six characters to play as. Each demo started with a training segment to get you used to controls, which was followed by two matches of best-of-three rounds. While the full game will reportedly support different controller schemes, here the JoyCons were understandably the only choice.
The style and gameplay was certainly fun. Each character looked and felt substantially different to control, and customisation for each character was also available in the form of gloves worn, and hence attacks executed. It took me a short while to get used to dodging properly with dashes and jumps, but once I did my results drastically improved. While we mostly worked with basic techniques, I had glimpsed the odd combo struck upon by other players as well.
There were a few different stages on offer. The default stage was surrounded by trampolines you could jump from for a double jump. Another (seen in the video) featured a long staircase and hence a sloped terrain. Yet another had pillars you could hide behind as well as destroy. This gave welcome variety to gameplay style – more than seen with the likes of Pokkén Tournament, for example.
ARMS will need more than just one-on-one fighting modes to be successful, I feel, but already the gameplay of that mode is pretty fun, and I’m looking forward to finding out more about this game.
To be honest, 1-2 Switch is not a game I had planned to buy at current advertised prices ($69.99 AUD for myself, $49.99 USD for US based consumers). Having tried it out, my impressions were improved but it’s still not quite the game for me. It would undoubtedly work well in party situations and would be very entertaining to watch, let alone play. But if you’re not anticipating bringing a Switch to a lot of gatherings, you may be disappointed with how much usage the game gets. It’s potentially a missed opportunity as a pack-in title.
The games I tried were certainly fun enough – just not something I imagine to get prolonged enjoyment out of. As mentioned above, Ball Count did very well in showcasing the HD Rumble feature of the JoyCons. Samurai Training was all about hitting the opponent with an imaginary sword while using a JoyCon as the hilt, while the other player tries to catch the sword. Turns are taking until a catch is missed. Catching felt a bit odd as you had to clap a hand against the other holding the JoyCon, and while it worked accurately enough it felt weird to me to be effectively striking the controller in clapping. Mind games are the order of the day here, and the position and movement of the JoyCons appeared accurate.
The last game tried was the Milking game. This was as awkward as it sounded and looked like from online previews of 1-2 Switch, but this was played to its advantage. Again, the game itself was fun, but after a few rounds I suspect most would move onto another game.
A shout out is deserved for the presenters of the 1-2 Switch games. They dressed for the part. The Samurai Training game had a presenter in a samurai garb, while the amusingly weird Milking game’s presenter made a convincing farmer.
The Switch will release to the public for $299.99 USD/$469.95 AUD on March 3rd. 1-2 Switch will join it as a release game, and Arms will arrive “Spring 2017”. Are you looking forward to the Nintendo Switch release? What sort of Pokémon titles would you like to see on it? Tell us in the Switch discussion thread below!
Footage and photos by bobandbill. Video by Achromatic. Edited by ddrox13.