Inside Gamer News: The Hands-On Review of the Nintendo Switch

1 Feb , 2017  

Written by Jon Scarr


The official launch of Nintendo’s new hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch, is just weeks away.

This past Friday I was able to go hands-on with the new hardware and some of its upcoming games at the Nintendo Switch Preview Tour.

Hosted at Toronto’s Metro Toronto Convention Centre – the only Canadian stop on the tour – the 10,000 square foot event was truly spectacular.


nintendo switch toronto

Photo Credit: Game Usagi


After checking in for the event, I was whisked up the elevator to the show floor. Mario was there to welcome me to what was Nintendo’s best Canadian event to date.

It was clear to see that Nintendo went all out and spared no expense. Game booths were set up with couches so that you could sit comfortably and enjoy playing the games in your own way.


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The Nintendo Switch and The Controllers

Nintendo consoles and controllers have been praised for their unique design and quality builds. From the GameCube’s compact design to the Wii’s motion controllers, nobody comes close to Nintendo.

I was amazed after my hands-on with the Nintendo Switch, the Joy-Con, and Pro Controllers.

The Nintendo Switch is by far the most “techy” and “mature” looking console Nintendo has ever made.


The Nintendo Switch (off of the dock), Pro Controller, and Joy-Cons all have a nice weight, excellent build quality, and they fit perfectly in my hands.

To be honest, I was a little worried that the Joy-Con controllers would be too small. In the various videos I watched, they looked like they might even be flimsy. But was I wrong! After a minute of playing with the Joy-Con controllers, it felt like second nature and I couldn’t be happier.


Inside Gamer News: The Hands-On Review of the Nintendo Switch

The Pro Controller is meant for those gamers who want a more traditional experience, for games like Ultra Street Fighter 2.

  • The controller’s layout is similar to Microsoft’s Xbox One controller and has curved grips that allow it to sit comfortably in your hands.
  • I was shocked to discover that the Pro Controller also offers motion controls, and can be used on games like Splatoon 2 to control the camera.
  • Overall, I was impressed with the Pro Controller and I am looking forward to picking one up at launch in a few weeks.


After checking out the Nintendo Switch’s different control options, I wanted to see how switching between the TV screen and the Nintendo Switch screen worked.

I was able to play a demo of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to test this. Switching between the TV screen and the Nintendo Switch screen is virtually instantaneous:

  • I simply detached the Joy-Con controllers from the grip, snapped them onto each side of the Nintendo Switch, and lifted the hybrid console from the dock.
  • The delay between TV screen and the screen on the Nintendo Switch is virtually instantaneous.
  • Additionally, the dock is designed so that you can remove the Switch screen easily, never worrying about damaging it.


The Nintendo Switch Games


After spending 30 minutes on the Nintendo Switch hardware and controllers, it was time to check out the games. There were 15 games in total on hand at the event:

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • ARMS
  • 1-2-Switch
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Splatoon 2
  • Snipperclips
  • Just Dance 2017
  • Skylanders Imagination
  • Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers
  • Has Been Heroes
  • Super Bomberman R
  • Disgaea 5 Complete
  • Sonic Mania
  • Puyo Puyo Tetris.


Inside Gamer News: The Hands-On Review of the Nintendo Switch
While I played all 15 games at the event, I can’t talk about them all. But I can say this: none of the games felt like ports, even though some might be on other consoles.

Each game uses the Nintendo Switch hardware in a way that makes it worth the purchase, even if you own a few for other systems.

As you might have guessed, the number-one game on my list was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. 20-minute play sessions were reserved by tickets that were handed out with a specific time to play, and I understood why. The demo was the same as E3 2016, except I now had the chance to play it on the right hardware.

The Wii U version of the game runs at 720p, while the Nintendo Switch version runs at 900p on the TV.

I noticed several enhancements right away, such as a greater level of detail, a better framerate, and a greater field of view when looking out from the hilltop. This game is unique in that it feels familiar, yet fresh. The Switch’s higher resolution brings out that familiarity in a way I can’t quite explain—but it works.

Touted by many as the game of E3 2016, Nintendo has a potential game of the year on its hands for 2017.


Inside Gamer News: The Hands-On Review of the Nintendo Switch
Next up: I made my way to ARMS.

I wasn’t very impressed with Nintendo’s new IP at Nintendo’s last live event in Japan.

I sort of shrugged my shoulders and thought this game wouldn’t be for me, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

You hold each of the Joy-Con controllers in your hands, and use motion controls while attempting to knock out your opponent.

At first, it reminded me of Wii Sports Boxing, but after a few games, I realized the amount of strategy involved with the game.

The different weapons you can equip before each battle really change the way you play, and I had a tremendous amount of fun with ARM this time around.


Inside Gamer News: The Hands-On Review of the Nintendo Switch
1-2-Switch was another game that I wanted to check out.

This game isn’t a traditional video game where you look at the TV screen. It’s about the interaction between you and your opponent.

I had fun with samurai swords, milking cows, and playing ping pong. I can see this being a fun party game for longtime gamers and newcomers alike – maybe even the new Wii Bowling. However, I think this should really be a pack-in game for the Nintendo Switch and not a retail/digital game.


Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2 is shaping up to be another killer game, and could be the breakthrough title Nintendo needs to establish a community for online competitive play.

It takes everything that you loved about Splatoon and adds new characters, weapons, and levels. Scheduled for release this Summer, Splatoon 2 could be the smash hit game of Summer 2017.

As expected, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe looks and plays like a dream. Everything from the Wii U version is here, and a whole lot more.

New playable characters such as Splatoon’s Inklings, Dry Bones, and Bowser Jr. are here welcome additions.

Nintendo went all-out to make sure that this is the absolute best version of Mario Kart 8, and playing it on the go is identical to playing it on your TV screen.


Final Thoughts About the Nintendo Switch

Leaving the event, I was more excited than ever for the launch of the Nintendo Switch. The visual quality on the Switch screen is simply stunning. At 720p resolution, games look crisp and clear.

I can see myself taking the Nintendo Switch on the go and having gaming experiences that nobody else can offer.

Is there anything about the Nintendo Switch Preview Tour that I didn’t talk about that you want to know?

Let me know in the comments section below!



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About the Author: Jon Scarr


Based in Toronto, Jon is a proud Canadian who loves all things gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been in love with technology and gaming for over 20 years. Come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Twitter.

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