Late last night, Nintendo held a live conference detailing the specifics of their newest console, the Nintendo Switch, which we’ve talked about before. The details are as numerous as they are exciting.
The Launch Price
Nintendo announced that the suggested retail price is $300, and that pre-orders are available now (via Walmart, GameStop, and Best Buy, it looks like). The price is still way below what you can get its rival consoles, the PlayStation 4 and the xBox One, for currently.
The Switch comes with a few interesting gadgets. As we’ve known, there is a controller that the button pads can be removed from and played similarly to the Wii’s wands. These are called “Joy Cons,” and they come with some nifty features like “HD Rumble,” meaning the rumble feature is a lot more than shaking. It apparently mimics with surprising accuracy whatever situation you’re in. There is also a standard controller, called the Pro.
The biggest feature is the removable screen, with allows you to either attach the Joy Cons to either side to play as a tablet or set its built-in kickstand to use it as a smaller screen to play from. The Joy Cons themselves come in either black or neon red or blue, offering a colorful change to the otherwise sleek design.
The screen is going to be in 720p definition, and the console will have 32GB storage space.
There are two games that Nintendo announced fairly early in the event, and they mirror the mini-game set up that was fairly popular on the Wii. The first is called 1-2 Switch, in which you use the Joy Cons like weapons, etc. to take on another person, but with a twist – you don’t play with the screen. The “combat” is based entirely on your interaction with someone else. Meaning, if it’s a quick draw game, you’re looking at your opponent to try to beat them to the draw.
The second game is ARMS, a weird-but-fun boxing game in which your boxing gloves are attached to long springs, making it a ranged beat-em-up game that looks like a lot of fun. There is a lot of movement to the game, so you’re not just standing still and boxing. You’re moving the character up and down and from side to side, blocking and dodging shots, and then unleashing a barrage of hits all your own.
The Big Games
Ho boy. First of all, Nintendo announced that the newest title in the Legend of Zelda series, Breath of the Wild, will launch on the same day as the console, which was the biggest worry for many fans.
Nintendo also announced another legendary figure coming fairly early in the release – Mario. Super Mario Odyssey, which features Mario travelling to new locations in what appears to be a giant hat ship, apparently to stop Bowser, seen in a white tuxedo, from marrying the Princess (because it turns out gay marriage was a slippery slope to human-animal marriage). It’s the first open sandbox type Mario game in a very long time.
The ever-popular soccer series, FIFA, will be returning to Nintendo for the first time since 2013. Square-Enix and Koei-Techmo announced some solid-looking RPGs, and one of my personal favorites, Bomberman, returns in his own game because justice truly does exist in this world.
The Online Experience
The biggest news is that the Nintendo Switch will launch with a free “beta” online service, but will switch it over to a paid service in the fall. There are few details, including price, out right now, but voice features have been hinted at.
If you want to play online, the Switch offers it via Wifi, but also locally. Up to eight Switch consoles can link up locally to play games (the aforementioned Bomberman game, Super Bomberman R, shows eight player compatibility).
The Mario Kart Experience
Nintendo is repackaging the Mario Kart game from the Wii U console, Mario Kart 8, with a “deluxe edition” release for the Switch. Mario Kart will be available in late April (see the comment about justice above).
In other words…
This is looking like it’s going to be a solid console, the best thing Nintendo has released in quite a while. Taking the best of all its predecessors, the Switch is the marriage of concepts they innovated (and other companies came to borrow in their own ways). The lower price means that it is extremely affordable, and the gaming looks to be the type of solid gaming Nintendo normally provides.