Nintendo was in Toronto last weekend and they’ve brought something special…the Nintendo Switch! The anticipated console was in town for 3 days and playable to the public. I had the opportunity to head down to the Metro Toronto Convention Center to try out the demos they had available. When I got there I was dumbfounded at the plethora of games they had available.
Once I got inside I headed right for MY most anticipated game: Arms! The Nintendo Ambassadors were super helpful with the startup and tutorial stuff and before I knew it I had a joy con in each hand and was punching my friend in his face (not really, in the game). I had an extremely fun time with Arms and later on in the event I ended up going back and playing it twice more.
After Arms, the showfloor had gotten considerably more busy and every game demo had been occupied. My friend and I headed over and decided to wait for a turn with 1, 2, Switch! When it was our turn to try out the game we were each given a joy con and a comically large foam cowboy hat. We were then given a rundown on the first minigame, which was Quickdraw. This required my friend and eye to look in each others eyes and listen for the game to say shoot! then we would aim the joy con at each other and pull the trigger. The game was fun, but I could see it getting old quick. The game would definitely suit a party atmosphere a lot better.
The next game we tried out was one where we had to guess how many marbles were in a box using the joycon’s new HD rumble. I don’t know what to say about the HD rumble besides how incredible it is. It works really well for conveying that there’s something inside the controller. You could feel the ‘marbles’ inside the joycon and I accurately guessed every time. Lastly, we played the ‘cow milking’ game. It was incredibly awkward and the controls took a bit to get used to but the game was as fun as the rest. All and all, ‘1, 2, Switch!’ is a lot of fun, would be perfect for a party, but $65 is way to much for the game and it really should have been included in with the console.
Breath of the Wild was still queued up for hours, so we decided to head over to Mario Kart 8, the only other game I played twice (first being Arms). As we approached the line up we could see that the demo was broken up into two different stages; one was set up as an airplane fuselage with uncomfortable seats and weird swinging trays, this is where you tried out MK8 in tabletop mode. Beside that on a giant TV is where you can try out the game in TV mode with motion controls. Both modes were fun, but if I had a choice I would choose TV mode every time. Tabletop mode is great, and the joycons fit really good in my hand, but it seems a bit limited in how many people can play because even with only 2 people, the displays were pretty small.
I’m not too interested in Splatoon 2 but it was there and there was no queue so I thought, ‘hey why not’ and tried it out. I played the game in handheld mode and it wasn’t bad at all. Personally, I rarely enjoy online multiplayer games, but Splatoon 2’s gameplay was fun (until I was killed a hundred times) and the visuals were really nice. I won’t be buying Splatoon 2 myself, but fans of the first game should enjoy the new additions to the sequel; the squid dualies and map hopping (very fun).
Some smaller tidbits about some of the other games I played. Bomberman was a fun competitive game that looked great and had good controls, but suffered from really glitchy AI that would occasionally get stuck in walls. Fast RMX was a thrilling ride with great framerates and required fast thinking and quick reflexes, a lot of fun. I played my very first Street Fighter game in the form of the Street Fighter II port for the Switch. I was never good at fighting games so it was just button mashing and swearing for a good 5 minutes. The game is playable in the classic SF2 graphics OR really nice looking upgraded graphics. Both were good. We played Puyo Puyo Tetris for two minutes and it made me realize how bad I was at tetris. Lastly, I played Disgaea 5 only because I wanted to sit on the comfy chair for a minute. I ended up spending a good 30-40 minutes with the game. It was a genuinely fun turn-based RPG that really utilized all of the Switches capabilities the best out of any game at the event. I personally loved having a joy con in each hand and controlling the game on the TV. Although the game is set at quite a weird angle and you definitely don’t want anyone standing behind you when you play this game (as my friend awkwardly found out).
Finally, it was time to play Breath of the Wild. I got 20 minutes with the game and unfortunately a good chunk of that was instructions or dialogue. But when I was able to actually take in the stunning beauty and gameplay I was a little blown away. This is my first experience with a LoZ game (aside from an hour or so with Ocarina of Time) and I had a blast. The controls were great (I liked the addition of jumping), and it looked fantastic. This game makes me want to buy a Switch. The only real issue I had with it were some minor frame rate freakouts.
Surprisingly enough, Breath of the Wild was not my ‘best of show’ as some would call it. No, that prestigious honor goes to…Snipperclips! The gameplay was fun and innovative. It looked incredible, and it’s a great cooperative game that can quickly turn competitive. The only reason I didn’t play it twice was because it was the same demo everytime and the line-ups were almost as bad as Breath of the Wild’s.
I had a great time at the Nintendo Switch Event. The staff or ‘ambassadors’ were all incredibly kind and helpful. The games were incredibly fun. And the atmosphere was great. The highlights for the show (for me personally) were Snipperclips, Breath of the Wild, and Arms. One thing I wish was there was a Super Mario Odyssey demo though. The joycons were amazing pieces of technology that WILL be in the Smithsonian eventually. My main issue with this console is the price. Not only the console price but the price of the accessories. The Pro controller costs a whopping $90. After using the Pro controller myself, I think that’s a grossly exaggerated price. All that being said, the Switch is shaping up to be a great console that I will be more than happy to pick up when the price drops. I wish Nintendo well with their launch, and hope it does 100x better than the WiiU.