Nintendo Switch Preview Tour DC Hands-On Impressions!

Three weeks before its release date, I got to try the Nintendo Switch… and it was amazing!

On Friday, February 10, and Saturday, February 11, 2017, I was able to attend the Nintendo Switch Preview Tour in Washington DC and be amongst the first people to try the Nintendo Switch before its release. I typed up some of my thoughts below, but I also was able to interview a Nintendo rep with some clips from the event, which you can watch here:

I also made a VLOG that shows my entire experience over the two days, including lots of Nintendo Switch gameplay footage. Check it out:

And I put together this little montage for fun as well:

So what did I think? Overall, I really enjoyed the Nintendo Switch. The system itself is very comfortable to hold and pretty lightweight. The screen is beautiful in person, and I have a feeling I will be playing in handheld mode quite often. But when hooked up to the TV, games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild did look gorgeous, as well. The JoyCon controllers were actually pretty comfortable, even when turned sideways. My only gripe was the SL and SR buttons, but attaching the wrist strap with the bigger buttons fixed that problem. The Pro Controller was also pretty comfortable to use, but I don’t think it’s necessary as the JoyCons felt great as is. I was able to play a few different games, including some multiple times.

The big anticipated Switch launch title is, of course, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This game was honestly the least fun of the event. That’s not a negative on the game, but more a negative on the demo. The game looked gorgeous, especially when played in handheld mode (we were able to swap back and forth between TV mode and handheld mode). Unfortunately, the demo was mostly cut scenes, so there wasn’t much time for gameplay. But what I did play was pretty intuitive and fun.

The other big Switch launch title is 1-2-Switch, and it was actually pretty entertaining. I don’t plan on purchasing it as I won’t frequently have people to play it with, but it was pretty entertaining for what it is. Quick Draw incited some fierce competition between players, while Milk was odd yet just as intense. Ball Count was particularly interesting because it really utilized the HD Rumble feature. It actually felt like multiple little balls rolling around inside the controller. It wasn’t 100% precise and most people that tried to guess how many balls were in the controller were one off from the actual answer. But it was still a very unique and interesting feeling, and I hope more games utilize it.

ARMS was also very fun. I played it multiple times, both by myself and with others. The variety in characters and arm choices make each match fresh and exciting, and the controls felt pretty intuitive. I even challenged one of the Nintendo reps and we had some intense matches, but I ended up winning most of them. I feel like after a few matches, I really got a handle for the controls and it made me want to keep playing. You can feel little vibrations from the JoyCons as you play, and it felt very satisfying.

I also tried Snipperclips, Cut It Out Together with my sister. I liked the unique style of play using tabletop mode and each person using a JoyCon controller. We were able to point at the screen and give instructions to each other, and it worked quite well in that setting. But I could foresee this game getting very challenging very fast, and it’s not something that I see myself playing much. It certainly had its unique charm to it though and anyone looking for a fun and challenging co-op game should definitely look into this game.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was another big title that I played multiple times. I was able to play the game in tabletop mode, TV mode, and handheld mode, and I also played both races and battle mode. First off, the game just looks and feels amazing. No matter what setting I played the game in, it felt great and I had a blast. My only note would be to make sure you use the wrist straps for tabletop mode on the JoyCons because otherwise the SL and SR buttons are a bit hard to press accurately. I played as Inkling Boy and also was able to try the Splatoon battle mode map, which felt great. Mario Kart is one of my favorite series and I did pretty well in my matches. I cannot wait for this game, and it is definitely worth a purchase in my mind, even if you had Mario Kart 8 on Wii U.

And then there is Splatoon 2. If you loved Splatoon, you will love this. It has the same feel to it, and all the new weapons and maps felt great. In handheld mode, the gyro aiming was a little bit difficult because you’re moving the entire screen. But in TV mode, I used the pro controller and that was perfect. To jump to another teammate’s position, you press X and then a direction on the D-Pad, and that was actually very quick and easy to do once you get the hang of it. So I didn’t miss the second screen at all, and in fact I preferred having everything on one screen. I had so much fun playing Splatoon 2 and I cannot wait to own the game this Summer.

There were a few third party titles present, such as Sonic Mania, Just Dance 2017, and Super Bomberman R. The only one I played was Super Bomberman R, as it’s the other Switch launch title that I have pre-ordered. I played with a single JoyCon turned sideways and it felt fine. The game is classic Bomberman and even though I hadn’t played the series in years, I picked it right back up. Since the matches can go up to eight players, I foresee a lot of intense and crazy online battles in the future. I had fun with this game, and I look forward to playing it soon.

All in all, it was a fantastic event. The setup was great and they even had a station setup where you could just play with the Nintendo Switch system and feel it. All the Nintendo reps were super nice and helpful, and I loved their energy. They made the entire event a lot of fun, so huge props to them. And thank you to Dave from Nintendo for doing the interview with me. From the start of the Nintendo Switch’s unveiling, Nintendo has made sure they have a clear vision for the system. And they had a clear vision for this preview tour as well, which got me even more hyped than I was before. Thank you, Nintendo! I look forward to March 3!