Ten days with the Nintendo Switch.

Justification is one of the most important things to me when looking at a big purchase.

When I think about buying something, I need it to justify itself being in the bag I carry around almost every day with me.

  • Why do I want it.
  • Will I be using it as much as I did when I bought it, in a month’s time.

When I stayed up for the event in January, followed by the Birmingham visit, that all went. I wanted it.

After ten days using the Switch almost non-stop, these are my impressions so far.

I’ve used gamepads with my iPhone, alongside a Dual Shock for my Mac to play SNES games, and they always felt out of place. The gamepad on the iPhone was the only thing that came close to being a dedicated game device. But once I received an e-mail, a WhatsApp, I was taken out of that.

With the Switch, it’s all about one thing; the games.

It finally delivers on having a console experience wherever you go, whether its on the train, in your home, or on a work break. There’s no compromise to it.

When it got delivered to me on launch day, I went to GAME to buy Zelda and Bomberman. £100 in total to buy them. Something I’ve not done in a long time, perhaps since I bought my Playstation 3 with its games.

But that same day and the day after, a few friends came over to see how it was, and playing Bomberman in multiplayer justified it all.

The joycons are a big part of this. I didn’t need to buy another controller (although for more than three people and Mario Kart incoming, it’s the next purchase), I just had to split the game pad, and give it to a friend.

They feel comfortable, and even the D-PAD surprised me while playing King of Fighters ’98. I could achieve the combos and special attacks from the hundreds of characters from the roster with ease.

I’ve not had a ‘battery low’ for the controllers either in ten days, while snapping them back onto the Switch and off is seamless.

Admittedly I have had rare connectivity issues that have been known, with Link constantly running into a swamp without me pressing anything. I hope it isn’t a hardware issue, but a few tear-downs and videos look like it’s pushing it into that possibility.

I did think that the grip that I used for Splatoon 2 in Birmingham, would be even worse playing Zelda. But I was surprised. It feels comfortable, and I’ve put in more than 15 hours into the game while using it. It may have just been because of the motion controls where I had to aim the gun for Splatoon, but overall, they’re comfortable and I get a good grip while playing Zelda intensifies. It also keeps me from buying the Pro Controller for its insane price for now, so every cloud.

The dock is a flimsy build, that features a HDMI port, alongside 3 x USB ports too and a power connector. Because my plugs are on the left to my TV, it makes the dock look awkward, as all the wires come out to the right, which makes it look out of place. But it’s not a big deal in the long run. I’m pondering whether to buy an additional dock for the TV I have in the bedroom. There’s no limit to how many you can buy. If you like in a house with five televisions, a dock could be a useful investment for each of those rooms.

Switching between handheld mode and TV mode is great. Similar to how I use my MacBook to connect it to the TV, the Switch is even faster.

Whereas the Air would switch to a resolution by flashing to black and loading the apps in different sized windows, the Switch shows Zelda in game, in two seconds.

A time came last Sunday, where Robot Wars was about to start. I played Zelda for an hour, and as soon as it started, I lifted the Switch out of the dock, continued playing as I glanced at the TV in the background.

Seamless, and the best of both worlds.

Zelda impressions will be in another post, but in short; it’s the best 3D Zelda game I’ve ever played. More-so than Ocarina of Time on the 3DS, and more than Wind Waker on my Macbook.

Some quick impressions of the other games I’ve bought since last Friday:

  • Bomberman is perfect for multiplayer. I played through a small slice of its story mode, but to me, that side is irrelevant. It’s a party game, and it becomes incredibly addictive when you’re two games through.
  • Metal Slug 3 is the game i use for the break in the day-job. I take apart the joycons, and I play it with one in each hand, feet up on the table, and enjoy. It’s comfortable, and it works.
  • King of Fighters ’98 is another game I use in the same vein, although I am waiting for Ultimate Street Fighter II to arrive, along with ‘Violent Ken’, a name that raises a smile every time I read it.

I have Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on pre-order. Playing the original on the Wii U at Akedo has me looking forward to it even more, especially with the better resolution, alongside the revamped battle mode, that harkens memories of Mario Kart 64.

Above all, it’s the ease of use. I lost two hours to Zelda as i was in a Caffe Nero without realising. It took the notification of the Switch telling me that battery was low.

The battery has only been an issue for Zelda, but only that one time above. I also didn’t realise the Switch had a fan whirring away until I was playing Zelda in bed with the sound off, which will obviously add to this. But even having it in standby mode for a few hours, the battery only drops by 2%, which is nothing.

If you played it from 100% to 0%, it can last at minimum for two hours, which is fine for me. With the Power bank I have, I can prolong it, so it’s not a massive issue. Only if I was on a long-haul flight, which isn’t likely for the foreseeable.

I will do a follow up in six months. I’m avoiding writing impressions on its online capabilities and game library until it’s fleshed out. My instincts tell me it’s going to be very different in a few months.

But for now, the Switch has justified its place in my carry-bag, and it does its purpose as a dedicated games-machine incredibly well, wherever you may be.