Community Review: The Nintendo Switch

Image: Kotaku

So the Nintendo Switch is finally out, along with Breath of the Wild, 1-2 Switch and a ton of NEOGEO games to go with it. But now that you (if you got it day one) have had the console in your hands for a weekend, what do you think?

Perhaps the most prevailing comment I've heard from people who were interested in the Switch prior to launch, but hadn't held one yet, was that it felt a lot better in the hand than they'd expect. That's not necessarily the case playing with the Joycons separately, and I'm still not 100% sold on the positioning of the right thumb stick; I'd almost prefer the Joycons were swapped over, to be honest.

I also found the Joycon straps were incredibly difficult to remove once attached - and, yes, they were on the right controllers. Ideally I won't be in a scenario where I'll have to split the Joycons up much: I'd rather treat it like a DS/3DS, where I'm playing someone on my console and they're playing on their console. That said, the setup works just fine for something like Snipperclips, and I imagine it'd work just fine whenever Super Mario World and the like eventually get ported over.

Something that I still love: the OS. It's quick. It's snappy. It's what I want when a console launches in 2017. There's no browser and there's no function for Netflix or any other streaming apps, but what the Switch does, it does it quickly. That's good.

How have you found the Nintendo Switch so far?


    I love the concept - can happily smash out hours on a game when it's docked and if the missus wants to watch Neighbours or any other of the myriad of shows on her radar, out it comes to a handheld.
    The protroller is miles above the stock standard controller and I have small carnie hands, the only minor annoyance is the placement of the buttons on the right joycon - it's just a little too close to the thumb stick to be truly comfortable.

    Playing Zelda, with young children: a constant delight, happy to see the ease at which people of any age or skill can just 'get it' once again with Nintendo games.

    Playing 1-2 Switch, with young children: see above.

    This is Nintendo through and through, haters be damned. What they do, they do very well.

    Sure there are a litany of issues I myself have with the thing, but oh my word it's going to be creating a generation of new video-game fans and in my book, makes everything worth it.

      Nah I want to hear your take on the issues.

    As someone that was always a Nintendo fanboy, i didnt buy a WiiU, i didnt see the difference between teh Wii and the WiiU as enough of a reason to fork out for a new console.

    So when teh switch was announced, i took a look at it from a fairly cynical standpoint, but placed a pre-order just in case, then they announced bomberman and Zelda as launch titles and my brain switched off and i picked it up at launch.
    I grabbed FAST RMX, lots of fun if a bit simple.
    Additionally i picked up KOF98 from the online store for nostalgia (i spent a good 2 years of after school days at the arcade playing nothing but KOF98)

    honestly i love it, while yes i can see the small flaws and issues people are raising, it fits my style of console gaming perfectly, being a PC gamer with the occasional console exclusive or games night with mate i rarely use my PS4, however i havent put the switch down, my PC has been off for days, and that is unheard of.

    Being able to move about to go from my couch to my bed to my desk and then on the train to work goddamn this thing is amazing.

    The only real issues i have is the local saves, and the worrying reports of dead pixels and no return policy.
    Overall I cant wait to see what else they bring with it.

    Last edited 06/03/17 11:31 am

      I haven't heard of dead pixels, but Australian law includes a compulsory warranty. How long would you expect a $470 games console like the Switch to last for? That's the implied/compulsory warranty, so any defects have to be fixed or they have to replace it.

        Thats exactly the problem, i assume that EB/JB/bigW would have to honour any faulty returns but the word from nintendo seems to be its not an issue as all tech has this issue so deal with it.
        So its up in the air atm

    @alexwalker the straps are designed to be used on either joycon; if you look closely theres a + sign on one side, and if you turn it over theres a - sign on the other. you just match up the symbol depending on which joycon you are strapping up. Yeah they are an absolute pain in the arse to pull off...

    hence why the L & R buttons on the straps are not labelled.

    Last edited 06/03/17 11:33 am

      I know, and I made sure the symbols were matching the right controllers (I'd seen a video just beforehand of someone getting it wrong). They were still real tough to pull off; part of it was because every time I went to pull it back, my hand would sometimes bump the lock mechanism. And I think it could use a bit of WD40 as well, to be fair.

      But I made sure the +/- symbols lined up. Funny that they design the straps like that - it'd be real nice if the Joycons themselves were reversible too. Having the right analogue stick at the top would be nicer, although I spent about five hours on a train yesterday playing the Switch and I didn't have any cramping at all, so.

        Can confirm.

        I absolutely adore my switch but won't be using the wrist straps for this reason.
        Even when they are on correctly with the symbols lining up it feels like I'm going to destroy the joycon when removing them.

        That said I actually really like the feel of the joycon without the straps, which surprised me.
        Have been knocking out a fair bit of Fast RMX split screen at work and loving it.

        Does WD40 work on plastic? I thought it's only good for stuck metallic components.

      I don't get how people are finding the extenders so hard to take off. Like... you just grab the two parts and push your hands in opposite directions and voila.

        not sure if its a batch issue but nope.

        on the switch itself they slide on and off no prob.

        but the straps, you need to be brutal to get them off...

          You're not trying to press the release buttons, right? That's the only thing I've been able to think of as making the process difficult, if people don't realise you don't need to do that.

            nope. its difficult to release the entire time. even after the first couple of centimeters slide off, its STILL a pain in the arse.

              After watching the nightmare reel in today's article I almost want to ask if you're putting them on upside-down like many seem to be doing :P

                come on man give me a little bit of credit!!!

                  I did say almost!

                  We're smarter than that round these parts, surely :P

    Some random comments:
    - Had a calibration issue with my Pro-Controller, but there's a built in calibration tool for fixing it, so that was great.
    - I'm using the system a lot with the kickstand + Pro controller. I can hide away from the kids and get some Zelda in.
    - Not sure how much I actually like using it as a portable. It's heavier than I'd like to hold for long periods of time. I kinda prop it up on my knee.
    - Graphics are 'good enough' as a console. Somewhat like the Wii U, it provides a HD experience that will shine if the gameplay is there.
    - Played a bit of Snipperclips with a 5 year old using the joy-cons. Fun game (5 yr old thought it was hilarious). Controllers were kinda passable. Wouldn't want to use them for long periods of time.

    All up I'm happy with my purchase. Not blown away, but it's a good start.

    Last edited 06/03/17 11:32 am

      heavy? how weak are your arms haha

        It's some 96g (I think? Forget what I weighed now) lighter than the Wii U's gamepad, but I find it feels far heavier to hold. Much prefer playing with the gamepad, it's so much more comfortable to use for extended periods of time.

    Feels good, plays well. I spent a lot of time away from the dock on the weekend, and it was a comfortable fit in my hands. The battery usage on standby is also impressive.

    One pet peeve is if the device is turned completely off (not standby) and you plug it into power, it automatically turns on. Mildly annoying.

      there is zero console boot time though, and the game resumes from exactly where you left. Annoying maybe but not an issue really ;)

      Oh yeah, the powering on thing caught me out when it blasted music through the office on Friday.

      But it's par for course with tablets, so I don't know why I expected anything else.

        ...really? Tablets turn on when you put them on to charge?

          My ipad and Asus transformer do. My phone also does.

            Seems... weird. But then I don't have a tablet so I guess chances are I was never going to understand them anyway :P

    I love it to bits. I've seen complaints but none of them are issues for me. This is a machine for PLAYING GAMES. It does it and does it well. Pro controller and Zelda will keep me busy for awhile. Got some cash to splash out on some more games on the eshop when needed and Splatoon 2 and ARMS look great. Then of course Mario at the end of the year. I'm expecting to hear a bit at e3 too.

    Quick temperature check - any pain after using the system as a handheld for prolonged periods?

    My left palm, the bone you feel under the middle finger, hurts like hell after a night with it.

    I am concerned, this same thing occurred with me and the PS4 controller. I haven't really gone back to it, but I did buy some rubber controller condom thingy to alleviate the pain there.

    Not an option (currently) on the Switch in handheld mode.

      Did a long train ride to visit Tegan's parents yesterday, about five hours with the Switch all up. Zero heat issues - you only notice it a bit when it's being charged, and it's nothing like what smartphones heat up to these days - and had no cramping.

      I'm going to get those rubber domes for the Switch as soon as they appear on eBay though; got those for my PS4/Xbox One controllers and I've never looked back.

        Cheers mate.

        I didn't realise I might have gave the wrong idea with the word 'temperature'.

        To reiterate, my issues don't seem to stem from the heat (there isn't any) but yeah, I will also be grabbing the rubber for it as soon as possible.

        Also, reading it back, that's got to be the most innuendo-laden post I've made in a while.


          Worth bringing up actual heat though, especially in an era of dodgy USB-C cables and devices quite literally blowing up/getting fried. (And it's nice that there's going to be no fears with that re. the Switch, and other USB-C cables/charging through power points, laptops etc. works just fine.)

        The Switch gets warm, but it's not an uncomfortable warmth. My phone on the other hand, can get quite hot to the point it's uncomfortable to hold.

        I definitely don't like how close the buttons are to the thumbstick, especially when using it as a single controller. I got a couple of those rubber domes with my Mario Starter Kit, haven't used them. Mostly because it destroys the aesthetic of my neon colours.

      any pain after using the system as a handheld for prolonged periods?

      I had a little wrist soreness after some sessions of Shovel Knight with the Switch in handheld mode and the Joy-Cons attached, but I found that was lessened by detaching the Joy-Cons and letting my hands rotate into a more comfortable position. Obviously that depends on having a flat surface to set up the kickstand on though.

    I've used the browser built into the ui and it's actually really snappy! Weirdly, it identified as safari.

    Snipperclips is fantastic, and the joy-cons are actually pretty comfortable to use separately, even for my meaty mitts. It's my second favourite switch game.

    Zelda is brilliant because it eschews the normal gameplay loop revolving around grinding xp by doing "stuff". It's a much more liberated open world.

    We played a bit of 1-2 Switch at work. It presents some very interesting ideas about multiplayer gaming and functions as a good tech demo, but it's still a weak package. I read an amazing story about a woman playing it with her blind husband, it's definitely an important game.

    The lcd looks fantastic. I'm not sure if that's because Nintendo had conditioned me to expect less with the ds and wii u, but zelda works remarkably well on the small screen where XCX was barely manageable.

      How'd you fire the browser up?

        Every time you have to link an account it uses the browser, but it's quite restricted.

        To have full access go to add account via other, then choose google. You can then get to other google pages like translate, and use the search bar from there to go anywhere (even posting on kotaku).

          Neat hack. I did notice there seemed to be some kind of browser in there.

          Inb4 they patch out access to unauthorised websites :P

    So far I'm loving it! although, it is a little hard to review a console when I'm playing one of, if not the best game of year on it.

    The console feels amazing in hand. The ability to play on the big screen then pick it up and take it anywhere is honestly better than i thought. Battery life isn't an issue. I cant think of many occasions that ill be using it for more than 3 hours without having a power point near by. Nobody really travels more the 3 hours a day to and from work. if you do you need a new job ;) Maybe on an international flight?

    EDIT: forgot to mention the way the game pauses when i turn the console off and immediately resumes is great. Game cartridges are super quick on load times. love that

    Last edited 06/03/17 11:42 am

    I'm enjoying Zelda so far, and the machine itself is great - however the joy-cons are annoying.
    The positioning of the right thumb stick is really bad and makes it very difficult to use the buttons whilst controlling the camera angle.

    Question for the people that have bought it, is a Switch worth the money purely to play Zelda?

      I don't know, have you enjoyed the previous Zelda games?

      I'm loving playing Zelda, but I don't know if that's part because I've played all the others or if it's because it's a good game.

      Do you believe you're the sort of person to get a game, and utterly disappear into it?

      If not, then perhaps not.

      'This console has no games!' crap you see on the internet all the time is a huge fallacy, the only reason anybody ever buys a dedicated gaming hardware device is because of at least One Game. Look at how many people probably only buy a console for FIFA or GTA.

      If you're the sort to have multiple games on the go, and do, that's great. But you have to ask yourself if you're going to invest in a Switch now and reap the games later, or you're going to drop Zelda after a day or two and continue your years-long save game in another open world game or something.

      Online marketplaces like Steam are built around a smorgasbord for whatever mood you're in, at the time you're at your PC/laptop. That may be 24/7 for you too!

      The other consoles have also embraced this philosophy by encouraging AAA games be released every month of the year instead of only around Christmas.

      Nintendo's still sticking to that traditional 'crown jewel, every so often' approach, that doesn't seem to gel with the life and tastes of Modern HardCore Gamerz.

      Arguably no game is worth $660 ($470 console + $100 Pro Controller + $90 Zelda).

      But there's a lot of indies being released, Mario Kart and Splattoon (if you missed them on Wii U) and a bunch of other stuff for the rest of the year.

      But yeah, Zelda is very good.

      Probably not if you have a WiiU already and play mostly at home (i.e. no long Commute to work/school/uni)

      Depends if you have a Wii U or can get a cheap one (and have the 3gb spare storage). It's already one now my favourite games and I could never get into Zelda games before, but apparently the Wii U version is also very good and if it's easier/cheaper to get the Wii U version then get that.

      BoW is really quite special. It's at once familiar, but something very different at the same time.

      Up to you whether it's worth $550 though. I regret nothing. Wish I was home playing it right now.

    Great console the portable mode has worked the couple of times I have used it and docked mode is great. I agree taking the straps off is a nightmare hopefully it gets easier with a bit of use. Usinge each joycon individually sideways for games like fast rmx I'm not a fan of as they are a bit too small and not quite as comfortable but using two either separate or in the grip feels fine.
    P.S. the new zelda is freaking amazing

    There have been discussions at various places (Reddit being one) where supposedly rubber skins for the Switch are damaging the finish on the console. Can anyone confirm?

      Rubber skins? I knew that vinyl wraps were causing problems, but I can't see how sillicone could.

        That's probably what I was thinking of. ;)

    I have a panel installed in every room. The hand feel is nice; responsive. Having that audible click, so satisfying. My biggest complaint is that illumination varies drastically between each room, and in some rooms the lighting flickers and buzzes.

    Wall mounted switches have really brightened up my house and added an endless source of amusement. 9/10.

    Absolutely love it to bits.

    I have mutant man hands and playing Fast RMX for an extended period of time becomes uncomfortable.

    Played Snipper Clips with my wife with the Switch sitting on it's fold out stand. Great game, much enjoyment had. Even cracked out Snipper Clips at a bbq on the weekend. Fun times. Oh I wish we had another Switch and SF2. Or Mario Kart. This thing is just begging for local multiplayer.

    I can honestly see the Switch turning into the a few years everyone will have several.

    Enjoying mine, gf and i played a ton of snipperclips (shes not a gamer at all) so its been good to do something games related togethor
    pro controller is fantastic except i hate home button just below the + butron, always hit it by mistake being used to ps/xbox
    the straps are a pain to get off and im worried im gonna destroy the controller or take the top of my thumb off
    zelda is overrated

    I was really worried I wouldn't like the new Zelda, that it wouldn't live up to the hype. 2 days in I got up to have shower and see if my cats and gf were still alive.

    As for the Switch itself my only complaint is that I don't have two because now she's playing it.

    The first thing I noticed was how small the tablet is. When the EB staff brought out my Switch in its box, I practically shrieked "OMG it's so tiny!". It's lovely and slim and easy to hold. I think I was expecting something closer to the Wii U gamepad controller, but it's really more like a 7" android tablet.

    That said, most of my gameplay so far has been docked. The pro controller is great and feels very similar to an Xbone controller (except a bit smaller). The UI is nice and simple. Everything works well. I haven't noticed any glitches or dead pixels. The small amount of time I've played the Switch in portable mode gives me the impression that the screen is very nice, but the button on the Joycons are a bit weird and might take some time to get used to.

    Zelda is awesome. I haven't played a huge amount of Zelda games before this (mostly Twilight Princess), but I've found BotW much easier to get into and enjoy than the other Zelda games I've played.

    I like my Switch! I will love it more when more games come out. F*** Zelda.

    Heavily mixed. I'm happily playing Zelda on my Wii U, so I've only used my Switch to check that out a bit and play a bit of Bomberman, 1-2-Switch and the Snipperclips demo. Bomberman's pretty good, the cutscenes and everything are excellently animated and the dialogue is just the right level of cheesy, though I'm not sure about how the game itself handles. Also kinda wish the cartoony visual style carried over to the actual game too. 12S is pretty well covered by most, it's alright but nothing great. Most interesting thing about it would be the ball-counting game as a demo of the rumble. And Snipperclips is pretty great, though I have nobody to play through it with so it'll have to wait til that changes because it's nowhere near as good solo.

    So as it stands, the only reason to have the Switch right now is to get in on the Splatoon 2 testfire in a couple of weekends. The hardware itself is sleek and everything... but I dunno. For one, there's absolutely no reason they couldn't have had a kickstand on the left side too, only having the one and that far over to the side is just asinine. It's fine enough on a hard surface but on anything even slightly unstable or cushioned, the whole unit is pretty much right on the balance point and ready to tip over. I don't like how hard they make it to fully turn off the unit, especially when a fresh startup takes only about 9 seconds. It's still way faster to get going than anything since the DS. Hell, might even be faster than that.

    The joycons are somewhat baffling. I don't get why the left one is having all the issues when apparently it's the right one that is loaded up with all the extra stuff. There's only a few grams difference between them, but I don't know why they didn't chuck in a motion camera on the left one as well to bring them closer to feature parity. The control sticks really don't feel great though, I probably would have preferred to even have a couple of circle pads on there instead. At least that would make it easier to reach over for buttons without hittig the stick instead. As it stands, I won't be using the joycon grip at all. It's way more comfortable to just hold the two in your hands separately (thank god they don't use hardware checks to test if you've actually got the grip connected or not) like the Wii let us do when playing nunchuk style, although even then they've given us that Pro controller which is holy shit amazing. Never not going to be using that to play unless I'm forced to go gamepad style.

    Also, examining the whole system setup shows just how hilariously paranoid and terrified Nintendo have become of anyone finding any kind of exploit. This thing is locked down HARD. Barely anything gets in or out - in fact if you even eject your SD card at any point the system will make you shut it down. So, uh... careful not to somehow bump that while your kickstand's open I guess. I was honestly surprised they let you copy screenshots over, but it doesn't like it if you try to edit them externally at all. I'm still pretty peeved about the setup with games - having saves on the console instead of the cart, and being locked to the console with no backup feature is horrendous. The browser thing mentioned above is kinda funny too, seems they've had to begrudgingly include one and are just trying to limit its use as much as possible.

    All up, I think I want to like it more than I actually do. Much like in the leadup to it all, there's no one major things that is a showstopper, but there's so many tiny grievances that makes me overall dislike it. I nearly didn't buy the 3DS on launch (which would have made it the first Nintendo I've skipped at launch) because I felt it was too expensive for what it was, but caved on a good preorder deal. And did grow to like that quite a lot shortly after. This one though, I'm still feeling regret over it/kinda wishing I hadn't bothered, the only thing I truly love about it is the new pro controller.

    I reckon things have to be pretty dire to turn off a guy who can frequently be found defending the Virtual Boy :P

      You pretty much cover most of my gripes here, dude.

      The painful-to-hold/hand-pain-afterwards is something I do hold against the system's form factor, not my grip/etc.

      I don't know why we were teased VC/especially Gamecube content yet there's seemingly no way to hook up legacy controllers. That is more of an insult to me than having to 'buy old Mario games again'.

      I miss stylus input, the keyboard is tiny so it seems haphazard, especially for p***words.

      I can't easily take my Zelda cart to another Switch and continue off, can I?

    Im lovin it..

    Zelda is one epic game.. i welcome nintendo back into my life.. the switch's concept is what i always wanted in a console, sure there are mild annoyances here and there... at the end of the day, it does it's core concept well..

    I hope more games are comin soon... wouldnt mind buying a few more

    I'm truly loving mine. I've played a lot of docked mode and handheld, and both perform like a champ. I'm super, SUPER happy that the system doesn't cramp my man hands... even the NN3DSXL was something I could only play using a third-party grip.

    Zelda is shockingly great. I went in expecting hype, but came out hooked. FAST RMX is keeping me occupied too, fantastic update on NEO. Once the Time Trials are in there, I'll be set. Snipperclips is a heap of fun. Just got off the back of a game with my brother, and we both enjoyed the hell out of it.

    The JoyCons (with the grips) are a lot easier to use than I thought they would, and I had no problem with Snipperclips in this configuration.

    I honestly love the hardware. It looks plenty nice on my Projector in Docked mode, and the screen is really nice in Handheld mode.

    Super happy with my purchase.

    Last edited 06/03/17 9:01 pm

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