Nintendo Switch Review

Michael Pereira, Editor-In-Chief

My journey to obtain Nintendo’s newest piece of hardware, the Nintendo Switch, was an exhausting one. I set off on my mission on March 4, the day after the Switch released. That was my first mistake. I didn’t know the Switch would be sold out, and I suffered the consequences accordingly.

My quest took me to the Gamestop on Ferry St, Newark, the Target on Route 3 and the adjacent Gamestop, and even to a Best Buy. Determined to find a Switch before the day was over, I started searching articles on Google trying to find out how I could buy a Nintendo Switch without pre-ordering it. To my luck I found a Toys R Us in Wayne, N.J. that had a few spare, yet they were about to close shop, so I had to set home and try again the next day.

After lunch on Sunday I drove to Wayne from Newark and hurried inside the lucky Toys R Us, making a beeline straight to the technology department. Lo and behold there I found about six Nintendo Switches left, and quickly proceeded to buy my system. Extremely grateful of my success, a took a victory lap around the store that I hadn’t been to in a very long time. Ten minutes later I returned to the technology department, and much to the sadness of the rest of the people in line there were no Switches left. If I had been ten minutes late, I wouldn’t have my own Nintendo Switch.

But what exactly is the Nintendo Switch, and is it worth all this trouble? The Nintendo Switch, is the successor of the Wii U, Nintendo’s previous console. At its heart, the Switch is a gaming system, but it has special features that distinguish it from other consoles on the market. The system itself is sized somewhere between an iPad and iPhone, sporting a 6.2 inch touch screen. This seemingly small system is accompanied by two controllers, the left and right “Joy Cons.” The left and right controllers can be snapped into place on the left and right sides, respectively, of the system. Thus, you can play the Switch as essentially a tablet with small controllers on each side.

Yet the Switch also has another side to it. If you wish to, you can remove the controllers and place the system into a separate dock that connects to the television. By doing this, you can play the Switch similarly to any other console. If you wish to play the Switch but don’t want to hold the whole system in your hands, you can pull out the leg in its back and prop it on a flat surface. Then, you can remove the controllers and play the game normally.

Photo of the System, the controllers and the Joy Con grip.

I have experimented playing on all three of these modes that earn the Switch its name. The television mode is clearly the best way to play, offering clearer images and simply more screen to spread the game out on. I played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which is not only the highest rated Nintendo Switch game currently, it is also the 4th highest rated video game of all time, according to metacritic, a video game review aggregate. While playing on television mode, I could explore the sprawling grasslands, arid deserts and frozen mountaintops as far as the eye could see. The overall graphics are not as crisp or realistic as the Xbox One or PS4, both of which have better processing power and are just stronger machines overall, yet the are visually pleasing enough and impressive for such a small machine.

To play the Switch in television mode, the controllers must be removed and attached the Joy Con grip, which holds the two smaller controllers in place to mimic the feel of an Xbox or PS4 controller. However, I initially felt slightly uncomfortable with the size, weight and shape of the controller. It felt a little light, which makes sense since it is essentially a piece of plastic holding two smaller controllers. Yet when the controllers are combined into one controller it is substantially smaller than both the Xbox and PS4 controllers. Of course, over time you’ll get used to it, but it feels strange initially. The controllers also have motion sensors that allow you to move the controller in real life to correspond to an action in the game. For example, in Breath of the Wild, while aiming a bow, I could either use the analog stick or move the controller itself to line up the shot. I have found that sometimes this motion control can be a burden and cause you to miss unintentionally at times, but most games have the option to turn off the motion control if you feel uncomfortable with it.

The Switch’s second mode, the handheld mode, is strangely unique. There is no other portable gaming system quite like it since most handheld game systems sacrifice technological prowess for portability. Yet the Switch attempts to transfer the glamorous graphics on the televisions to its 6.2 inch screen, and although the transfer isn’t perfect, it is far superior to other handheld systems, including Nintendo’s own 3DS. There is something special about seeing console-worthy graphics in a device that fits between your hands, and the first time I played Breath of the Wild in handheld mode, I was simply stunned.

Link runs through a filed in grass field in game’s town Hyrule.

Yet this upgrade comes at a few costs. The system can heat up very quickly, and I often felt the heat as I used it. Since the Switch uses so much power when playing graphic intensive, its battery life suffers, reaching about 2 hours and 30 minutes while playing Breath of the Wild. Although the graphics aren’t as crisp as they are on the television, but they are impressive nonetheless. As for other, less graphic intensive games, they can reach up to 5 hours.

Tablet mode is the Switch’s third mode. It is nearly identical to its handheld mode, except that you prop the Switch on its hind leg on top of a flat surface. Once propped, you remove the controllers from the sides and play away. When I played on tablet mode, I wasn’t particularly impressed as it was essentially playing on a small television. I’d rather play on television mode, followed by handheld mode. However, if you are playing with a group of friends away from home, then tablet mode is your best choice.

Now, for the games. The Nintendo Switch released with 11 games, which is an unusually small amount of games for a new systems release. The most notable games are “Super Bomberman R,” “Just Dance 2017,” “1-2 Switch,” and finally “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”

A photo showing the graphic fidelity of the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Breath of the Wild provides the most bang for your buck, a 50+ journey filled with beautiful landscapes, compelling stories and enjoyable combat. The game is a single player game, however, so you’ll be experiencing the journey alone. For cooperative play, 1-2 Switch is probably your best bet. It is a compilation of minigames that use the Switch’s motion sensor in unique ways that is sure to cause a couple of laughs when you play with your friends. However, I’m not sure if the $50 price tag justifies its content. Apart from the 11 initial games, there are more big name games on the way including Mario, Dragon Ball, Minecraft and Pokemon to name a few.


Overall, the Switch strives to be a unique experience while it stumbles along a few parts. However, the Switch’s success overshadows its faults, creating a highly enjoyable system with a few hidden gems of games. In its release, the Switch managed to produce on of the highest rated games of all time. Let’s hope that it can keep up the pace and create equally as good games in the months to come. Score: 8/10