When the Nintendo Switch debuted in March 2017 it was met with a lot of excitement – and also a lot of questions. Would the console work well as a handheld? Could it dock and undock to create a seamless experience? And most importantly, would the console play a wide variety of games?
As it turns out, all of these questions and more have been answered, and the Nintendo Switch has become a huge success. It’s a different beast than the PS4 and Xbox One, with the Switch appealing to a very distinct audience that Sony and Microsoft aren’t reaching with their latest next-gen systems.
The main portion of the console is a little different than the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as it features a pair of Joy-Con that can be attached to the console or slotted into the included Joy-Con grips (more on these in a bit). These Joy-Con can then be paired together to act as a single controller, with the D-pad acting as face buttons in this configuration. They can also be detached and used as separate controllers for a range of games, with players able to swap between the two in-game to control different characters or modes.
This flexibility is the heart of the console, and it allows players to enjoy a wide variety of games in whatever way suits them best. This includes a full TV mode, where the console can be docked to the TV and a remote is used to control it – this works just as well for a mobile setup, with the Joy-Cons being able to be detached and played with individually.
Aside from the versatility of its hardware, the Nintendo Switch is also a powerhouse in terms of games. It runs on a modified version of the Nvidia Tegra X1 platform, which is an ARM-based mobile device processor similar to those found in high-end smartphones and tablets. This is far more conventional than the CPUs in the PS4 and Xbox One, which use quad-core Intel chips for their computing needs.
Another key aspect of the Switch is its multiplayer capabilities. Whether playing solo or with friends, the Switch supports up to 8 local wireless connections for cooperative and versus gaming. The console can also be hooked up to a HDTV via HDMI and then controlled with the remote, or the touchscreen on the Nintendo Switch Lite or OLED model (more on this in a bit).
As for its library of games, the console has a massive back catalog that’s a literal goldmine. This includes Breath of the Wild, last year’s pick for our best console game, Super Mario Odyssey, a mind-blowingly fun open world adventure that’s also a must-play for Mario completionists, and Bowser’s Fury, an experimental 3D game in which the Nintendo mascot takes on a giant kaiju dressed as a cat. Also worth a look is Celeste, a tough as nails 2D platformer about living with anxiety. Nintendo Switch