Nintendo’s newest venture into the home console market, the switch, has been out for a few months now. And even though you might not even call it a standard ‘home console’ there is some room for discussion on its library. That being that it is incredibly small. There have been some great games out for it already, but not many. So I want to pose a question by looking at its current library… “what game, or type of game, is perfect for the Switch and why?”. Nintendo’s triple A titles are pretty much always games that knock it out of the park, but for such a unique console what type of game would work?
It makes the most sense to start by looking at the consoles launch title (bear in mind its only one) the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This is an open world RPG with a Zelda flair and Nintendo polish. Now it makes sense to ignore the fact that its single player, so it DOESN’T cater to the Switch’s multiplayer capabilities, as it comes with a 2-in-1 controller in its Joy-Cons but stays single player… strange for a flagship title. Now i know you can technically play it with a friend in a sort of handicap mode, but the design aspect of this wasn’t intentional so I don’t count it, and I don’t really expect a Zelda title to be multiplayer either, but it is worth noting how it ignores this feature.
So onto the game itself, an open world title seems great for on the go, something like Skyrim which despite being almost 6 years old is also coming to the switch, because of the players options. They can play at home and sink hours into a main story, or to just goofing off or literally doing anything the game has to offer for as long as they like. But that style of gameplay does also cater to a handheld, on the go type of lifestyle. Whether it be a plane trip, or just 30 minutes on public transport the type of game that Breath of Wild is allows for both 20 minutes of doing nothing or hours questing, both feel rewarding enough.
Zelda has always been about adventure, and the incredible thing about adventure is that it can be taken in small or large doses.
The Switch feels naturally inclined towards party games, and not just because of Nintendo’s history with catering towards literal party games or the family. But because it also has easy compatibility with controllers, motion control and can bring people around a huge television or squinting in front of its tiny screen with friends. Both which provide fun… or in Nintendo’s case seething anger towards your siblings for stealing your goddamn power star!
You might be inclined to think that “he’s going to talk about 1-2 switch, that is a literal party game!” But to me that game fell way too short, it utilized motion controls yes, but it acted more as a demo reel for what the switch can do. The better analysis would be MarioKart 8 Deluxe edition.
What other game better encapsulates anger, fear, and sheer joy and requires at minimum one other person to scream at for the real enjoyment to come through. The thing about Mario Kart is it is even easier to pick up and play, yes there is actually a skill curve but that doesn’t impede the experience. I played Mariokart on the DS all the time, imagine having a better graphically inclined game on the go that is so much easier to play multiplayer on. It fits so much more to pick up the game on the go, in the car, on the move or just while killing time with someone else and playing a multiplayer game over something singular.
But what about platformers? Like Shovel Knight or Sonic Mania, I want to use these titles to explore gaming’s arguably most famous genre, the 2D platformer. The thing about these games is that these days they are reserved for handhelds for obvious reasons. Most are simple to understand but some can be hard to master. So by definition they are easy to pick up and play but can have a bite too. So the switch’s handheld capabilities make perfect sense for this… but triple A platformers like sonic on it. But then unlike the other console versions you could take this one on the go too! and the game couldn’t handle Nintendo’s 3DS anyway so it makes perfect sense to take a game that goes on non portable consoles or other handhelds to literally get the best of both worlds.
So the switch, what is it best at? Well most triple A games with options that allow for quick play can still be enjoyed. Multiplayer games can be shared on the go much easier than they used to be and the Switch has a leg up on cross-platform titles that come out on it too now, as they can be played on the go.