What Makes the Switch?
I love the Nintendo Switch. It’s the first modern console I’ve picked up on its release date in over a decade, and I’m here to tell you why I love it, and why if you can afford it, you should get one too. The Switch is the first console ever made to be both a home console, and a portable, handheld one. This gives the Switch a unique position – it’s not a high end console you can only play at home like the Playstation 4, or a portable system that has a tiny screen like the old original Nintendo 3DS. Instead, it’s a fusion of both. What the Switch sacrifices in graphical capability, it makes up for in sheer convenience, and a plethora of fantastic games. Since March of 2017, I have had the Switch, and been steadily adding games to my collection. To date, I have over forty games on the system, and growing. I’ll be highlighting a few of the games to give you an idea of how great the Switch’s library of games is.
The first game I, and most others bought for the Nintendo Switch was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s not an exaggeration to say that within the first minute of gameplay, I was crying. Not from frustration or sadness, but from how beautiful the game looked. I’ve never really played a Zelda game before Breath of the Wild; the closest I came was Hyrule Warriors Legends, a Dynasty Warriors game with Zelda characters in it. So experiencing the world of Hyrule for the first time in HD, with this fusion of Windwaker’s cel shading and Twilight Princess’ detail (both games I’d seen, but never played) was enthralling. Breath of the Wild takes place in Hyrule, which is all one seamless, gigantic map. The fact that you can look at a mountain in the distance and actually reach it, scale it, and find something up there is fantastic. The game truly feels alive and natural in every sense of the word. I love this game so much I almost refuse to fight the final boss, simply because I don’t want the adventure to end.
One of the Switch’s biggest advantages for me is that it allows me to play games I otherwise would have missed out, simply because of my lack of next-gen consoles. Thanks to the Nintendo Switch, I was finally able to experience Nintendo’s freshest franchise, Splatoon in its sequel, Splatoon 2. Many people say that Splatoon 2 is largely a copy of the original Splatoon game for Wii U, but as someone who never owned a Wii U, I’m not complaining. Not only that, but the Switch allowed me to play 2016’s DOOM, one of the greatest modern shooters ever made, AND it’s portable now too!
The Switch even caters to the anime fan, with titles like Dragonball Xenoverse 2, Nekopara Volume 1 and Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds Overdrive. Dragonball Xenoverse 2 is another game I missed out on initially, thanks to the sequel not receiving a Playstation 3 version like its predecessor did. While not having the save data from the original game can put a damper on the story mode (since the character you created in the first game plays a large part in the sequel) I’m just glad to be able to play the game with my own Original Characters again. Nekopara Volume 1 is the video game that the Kickstarter Anime I backed a while ago originated from, and it’s fascinating to see where the story came from, and how the original visual novel differs from the anime I helped create. Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds Overdrive, aside from being the hardest name to say in one go, is a side scrolling beat ‘em up with guest characters from my personal favorite anime Steins;Gate, and an anime taking place in the same universe, Robotics;Notes. Gameplay is as you’d expect from a beat ‘em up, but as you progress you can upgrade your character to give them flashier moves or advantages in battle.
But perhaps the biggest, and coolest part about the Nintendo Switch are its Indie games, the ones that people may not know about, but thanks to being on the Switch, can get the recognition they deserve. Three in particular I’d like to highlight are Typoman, CRAWL, and Battle Chef Brigade.
Typoman is one of the most unique game concepts I’ve ever seen – you play as a character made out of the letters for the word “hero”, and you traverse a barren, post-apocalyptic wasteland to find a way to fix everything, using only your vocabulary skills. You find a jumble of letters next to a platform. If you arrange them into the word “RISE”, the platform will lift. This is the first single player game I’ve ever preferred playing with others, simply because of how fun it is to put your head together with friends to figure out what word will get you out of a situation.
CRAWL, by contrast is a game where you’ll be actively working against your friends. You play as a group of people trapped in a labyrinth. At the start of the game, you are all forced to kill one another until only one remains alive. The others come back as ghosts, while the survivor tries to find his way out of the labyrinth. Meanwhile, the spirits can possess objects or take on the form of dungeon monsters to try and kill the survivor and take his humanity for themselves to escape. The game is addicting, and has a really charming older art style. Every time the human levels up, the phantoms gain more Wrath, which they can spend at the end of a level to upgrade the monsters they can transform into. Seeing just what your monsters can turn into next is fun in and of itself, and playing as the human affords its own advantages, like buying new and powerful weapons to combat the monsters with. It’s a blast to play, and thanks to the Switch, I can do it anywhere.
Last, but absolutely not least, is Battle Chef Brigade. This is another brilliantly unique game, and one that fills me with an indescribable joy every time I play it. In Battle Chef Brigade, you play as Mina, a young woman aspiring to be part of the Battle Chef Brigade, a group of warrior cooks who hunt fantasy monsters to use as ingredients for fantastical food dishes. The game is part hack and slash, part match-3 puzzle game, and both parts of the gameplay blend effortlessly with one another. The game has a rich, deep story mode that, thanks to brilliantly performed voice acting by Erica Mendez (voice of Ryuko Matoi in Kill La Kill), Dave Dixon (a relatively unknown but still remarkably talented actor), Amber Lee Connors (voice of Ms. Joke in My Hero Academia) and many more simply leaps off the screen. The art style is beautiful and every single character present is fantastic. The only bad thing I can say about it is that it ends, which I can’t quite say anymore since the game is getting DLC next week with additional story content and a ton more playable modes, all for free!
On a more personal note, the Nintendo Switch just brings me joy. Whenever I was feeling down, I had the Nintendo Switch to use as an escape. People tend to look down on Nintendo consoles as a whole due to their lesser graphical capabilities or the stigma that Nintendo doesn’t carry any “mature” titles. But I believe the Switch balances the scales, and perhaps even tips them in Nintendo’s favor.
The Nintendo Switch’s portability allows you to play games once restricted to home consoles anywhere you want. Not to mention, the aforementioned DOOM and CRAWL prove that Nintendo has clearly expanded its library of games to a more mature audience. You can even play Skyrim on it! The Nintendo Switch also has the benefit of having fantastic console exclusive games like Super Mario Odyssey, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Fire Emblem Warriors. Conversely, a system like the Xbox One X may be more powerful, but has virtually no worthwhile exclusive games. And the Playstation 4, while having one of the most impressive collection of exclusive games, is restricted to one spot in your home. I believe the Nintendo Switch is a console absolutely worth owning. I’ve made the Switch… so won’t you?