NINTENDO DITCHES THE WII U AND SPRINTS FULL SPEED AHEAD INTO HYBRID TERRITORY WITH THE SWITCH
Picking yourself up after a failure is a tough slog. Nintendo’s Wii U was beset by bad marketing, a dearth of great third party games, and was chronically underpowered. With the world’s eyes set squarely upon it, the big N needed a win, badly. Although last year’s Pokémon
Go and the NES Classic Mini were minor hits, things on the home console front were seriously flagging.
Everyone and their nanna understood the Wii, with its easyto-grasp remote and Wii Sports. It was simple, and it was fun. The Wii U and its gamepad, on the other hand, presented a new level of complexity, and the touted second-screen experience failed to convince gamers or critics. Despite this, anticipation for its successor, codenamed NX, has been high. That early moniker has evolved into the Switch, and you’ll be pleased to know that Nintendo’s released something very enticing.
Never to be seen sitting on its laurels, Nintendo has attempted to merge the home and handheld markets, and present a solution no-one even knew they needed. The result is a cartridge-based system powerful enough to play fully-fledged games not only on an HDTV, but also on the go. On top of that, the Switch supports two-player gaming straight out of the box, and wireless connectivity opens up a wealth of possibilities for local and global network multiplayer.
Looks-wise, the Switch has come out swinging, sporting a stylish but playful look. The bloated, unrefined edges of the Wii U gamepad have been cast aside and the Switch is Nintendo’s most sophisticated console. It comes in two cosmetic options, one with standard grey controllers, the other sporting a funky neon red/blue colour scheme.
The Joy-Con controllers are surprisingly pleasant to hold, and at first glance they resemble an amalgamation between the Wii remote and nunchuck, but feel far more solid and weighty. Both slide into the main unit, offering a rewarding click as they connect. A nice touch is that they can detach to become individual controllers; an inspired move by Nintendo that enables multiplayer gaming with only a single console. Small enough to be portable, but big enough to mean you will require a case in which to ferry it around, the console is essentially a small tablet, and the metal casing adds a decent weight to the system.
The console hosts all the usual buttons you’d come to expect from
ABOVE The screen is bright, sharp and punchy; not quite iPad territory, but Zelda’s scale is still stunning