Switch-ing di­rec­tion


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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

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