The Switch is a rather special console that stands on the borderline between the traditional home machine and the portable console. Simply put, the console is built around a tablet that can be used on its own to play your favourite games on the go, alone or with others, but can also be installed in a dock so you can enjoy the same games comfortably in front of a TV screen.
Behind the creation of this console is Nintendo’s desire to take the concept of the Wii U even further. Although it too uses a tablet, it doesn’t offer the same freedom as the Switch. The Wii U tablet was just an accessory that in most cases offered a remote game screen to display a map or the game inventory. In some cases, this could offer players new perspectives, for example through the asymmetrical gameplay principle implemented in NintendoLand.
With the Switch, the tablet becomes the heart of the system, housing the entire system in its bowels, allowing the console to offer uses that are still quite new. The most interesting thing about the mobility of the device is undoubtedly its versatility. As mentioned above, it is thus possible to start a game, the last Zelda for example, sitting on a warm couch, and grab the tablet so that you can continue playing without interruption when you change rooms or leave your home. Another interesting idea is the possibility to put the tablet on a corner of the table, and use it as a screen to play a 4-player Mario Kart game.
This diversity of use, and the ease with which it can be used, as well as the rich toy library of this console, is without a doubt what has pleased more than 23 million gamers worldwide. The console has already surpassed the sales figures of the Wii U, but still has a long way to go to reach the Wii and its 101 million units sold. With only two years of existence and a popularity that continues to grow, the Switch is sure to have a bright future ahead of it.
Anatomy of the Switch
As mentioned above, the Switch is a console whose central element is the tablet, which contains the system, as well as the screen that allows you to play in nomadic mode. Based on a 6.2-inch IPS touchscreen panel capable of displaying games in 720p. Inside, at the heart of the system is a Nvidia Tegra X1 Custom SoC with a 1020 MHz ARM Cortex-A57 quad core processor combined with an ARM Cortex-A53 processor, and a Nvidia Tegar GPU running at 768 MHz. To support all this, there is also 4 GB of RAM in LPDDR4, as well as 32 GB of internal storage in Flash memory which can be extended up to 2 TB using SDXC cards It works thanks to Horizon, a home-made OS created by Nintendo for the occasion. A USB-C port, to charge the 4310 mAh Li-Ion battery (for an autonomy of between 2.5 and 6.5 hours), a jack socket, as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi complete the package.
In order to switch the console to “Lounge” mode, simply install the tablet in the dock provided for this purpose, and connect in HDMI to any TV screen. It has two USB-A 2.0 ports and one USB-A 3.0 port for connecting peripherals (to connect the console to the wired internet for example), and allows the console to display games in 1080p on the TV.
To accompany the tablet, there are the Joy-Cons, small controllers that can be added to the screen to make a portable console, be used as individual mini controllers, or be associated in pairs with a support (the Joy-Con Grip) to become a single controller, with all the traditional functions of this type of device. The Joy-Cons are classically equipped with four buttons, an analog stick and triggers, allowing them to offer a wide variety of controls. In addition, they are equipped with a motion-sensing infrared sensor that allows them to detect the shape, distance or movement of an object, as well as a system called Vibration HD, which provides enhanced touch sensations, such as the ability to feel the “presence” of an object in the controller. Enough to increase the possibilities of gameplay, to bring it into the physical realm.
Finally, it should be noted that Nintendo has taken a step backwards for the Switch by abandoning disc support for its physical games. Switch games are in effects sold on cartridges, or game cards that look very similar to the usual flash memory cards. These are inserted directly into the tablet via the appropriate port.
eShop, My Nintendo and online gaming focus on the Switch
online Like all current machines, the Switch has an online shop where you can not only buy games in dematerialised format, but also retrieve game demos and access the latest news. It’s a fairly standard shop that you can access both on your system and on a computer through your My Nintendo account. Each game has its own description sheet that will allow you to learn more about it, and to consult the trailers and images related to it. There are also many lists of the most popular or top rated games to help you expand your toy library.
You will also be able to take advantage of the My Nintendo service, which will allow you to collect points by buying games, logging in to the eShop, or using Nintendo applications on your mobile. Points that can then be exchanged for various rewards (discount vouchers, exclusive games, etc.), or directly to purchase games in the eshop or on Nintendo’s official website. The My Nintendo application, available on mobile phones also allows you to purchase software or games and then start downloading them to your machine, even if you’re not around. Finally, this service will also allow you to receive personalized information,
Just like the Playstation 4 or Xbox One, the Switch has extensive online features that allow you to fully enjoy the games you own. Free at launch, the service became payable at the end of 2018, gaining a few additional features in the process. Currently available for €19.99 per year for one Nintendo account, or €34.99 for eight accounts in the family package, this service will allow you to play online using Nintendo Switch Online. The service also offers access to a selection of classic Nintendo games, such as Super Mario Bros 3, Double Dragon, Dr Mario and Excitebike, and the ability to save game data directly to the Nintendo cloud. A dedicated mobile application also allows you to use in-game voice chat, to play Splatoon 2 for example. Finally, Nintendo Switch Online subscribers will be able to receive a host of exclusive offers, discounts and other similar goodies.
Games as if it were raining
In addition to the versatility, which we have already mentioned, and which is certainly one of the Switch’s strong points, another of its advantages lies in the richness of its catalogue, and for the occasion we have decided to present you with a small selection of titles that should not be missed under any circumstances. Traditional titles of course, from the great Nintendo tradition, but also some games that have found a second wind at Switch.
Zelda Breath of the Wild
The latest Zelda to date, Breath of the Wild drastically changes its approach compared to its predecessors by offering us a gigantic open world organic, with a mix of fascinating survival mechanics and a history as rich as it is catchy. Once again, we embody Link, the famous hero of the franchise, who wakes from a long sleep, amnesic, in a devastated world very different from the one he knew. His task, once again, is to settle the score with the infamous Ganon, responsible for all of Hyrule’s misfortunes through a non-linear adventure, where the player will be free to progress at his own pace. A true success both on the graphic and pure gameplay levels, Zelda Breath of the Wild is a pure marvel to be consumed without moderation.
Super Mario Odyssey
With each new console comes a new Mario, bringing with it a particular concept. In this case, our plumber with the proud moustache, who will have to go (for a change) to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser’s clutches, finds himself wearing a living hat that will allow him to incarnate into a whole bunch of objects and creatures with a variety of properties, which will allow him to overcome the obstacles that stand in his way. Once again, Nintendo has struck a big blow with an original Mario that features millimetric gameplay and impeccable execution.
Born on the Nintendo 64, the Smash Bros license has since come a long way to deliver Smash Bros Ultimate, the last episode released just before Christmas and currently the best of the saga. A Nintendo-made fighting game featuring a host of historical characters from the company, Smash Bros is a joyous fistfight that’s simple enough for the novice, but complex enough for the more seasoned. And this Switch episode is no exception to the rule, offering a host of characters to play with, and a plethora of content to discover and unlock through the various game modes present.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Is it really necessary to introduce Mario Kart? Nintendo’s racing game, established since the era of the Super NES, is still going strong after more than 25 years of existence. A boosted version of the Wii U episode, this Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will offer a variety of tracks, both new and classic, on which you can compete with friends, family and online celebrities. The usual pilots are obviously on board, and you can fight shamelessly with the various “weapons” offered by this episode. If you opt for the Switch, you might as well tell yourself that it’s imperative that you take this Mario Kart.
Mario + The Rabbids Kingdom Battle
A real surprise that no one saw coming, Mario + The Rabbids Kingdom Battle is the result of a collaboration between Nintendo and Ubisoft. A turn-based tactical strategy game that borrows some gameplay elements from the famous XCOM, this title will require you to play as a team of three characters chosen from the game’s eight characters (four from the Mario universe, and four Rabbids monkeying around with Nintendo characters), with a variety of skills that you’ll need to master and learn how to use wisely. At the head of this team, you’ll have to fight a host of opponents in strategic battles that sometimes flirt with the puzzle.
After reigning for a long time on the Hack & Slash PC, Diablo, through its third episode, tried the console adventure. Late last year, Blizzard’s game went ghostwritten on Switch, sparking renewed interest in the title among many players. It must be said that Diablo 3, with its perfectly oiled game mechanics, is a real treat for fans of the genre. Simple to take in hand, enjoyable, generous, it takes you by the hand to take you on an endless spiral of play, which will see you accumulate hours of play at top speed in a race for power. A little extra for the possibility of playing with four people.
Released on PC in 2017, Hollow Knight is undoubtedly one of the most successful independent game in recent years If we’re struck by its plastic beauty and its beautiful and intriguing universe, it’s its gameplay, with its little onions, and its level design that make us stay. Metroidvania in the purest tradition of the genre, Hollow Knight is a perfect fit in every respect, and we can’t encourage you to discover it without further delay. Not to spoil anything, it proves to be perfectly adapted to the Switch’s nomadic gameplay.
Created by the French from Motion Twin, Dead Cells is a rogue like (understand that it’s a game in which you’ll go through levels randomly generated at each game, and that the resources collected will allow you to unlock different elements giving you the opportunity to progress always a little further) that puts a lot of sights on it. Magnificent with its fluid and shimmering pixel art, it also shines with its perfectly mastered gameplay that will push you into your final strongholds, but will allow you, with each game, to progress by learning from your mistakes. A must have for all fans of action games with a good feel.