Let’s get the awkward bit out of the way first, this game should have been a free pack-in with the Nintendo Switch. Everyone knows it, but don’t let that get in the way of the enjoying it.
1-2-Switch has a simple premise; it’s a collection of 28 mini-games of differing intensity that are made for playing with friends but the beauty of it is in the appeal it has to non-gamer folk. Of my closest group of friends, I’m the only serious gamer. Most of them have never owned a console (not since the original PlayStation days) and the closest they get to video games is Candy Crush. That said, they could absolutely see the fun in making fools of themselves and messing around with this game. That can only be a good thing for the wider industry and I think Nintendo deserves credit for that.
The actual mini-games themselves are a bit hit and miss. There are some games that absolutely shine, such as ‘Samurai Training’ (one player tries to catch a sword when their opponent swipes down), ‘Treasure Chest’ (both players race to untangle a treasure chest from chains by rotating the Joy-Con in different directions) and ‘Ball counting’ (players have to guess how many balls they can feel moving around inside the switch based on the rumble when you tip the controller).
Inevitably the games that are the most enjoyable are those that use the Joy-Con in unique ways. Unfortunately, not all the games are as good quality. ‘Baby’, in which you try to rock a crying baby to sleep, and ‘Sneaky Dice’, a pretty run of the mill dice game, find it hard to compete with the top tier mini-games for attention.
I’ve had some real laugh out loud moments with 1-2 Switch. Watching people I know strut across my living room to music in ‘Runway’ and seeing my friends furiously opening and closing their mouths to emulate eating a sandwich was hilarious. This game was made for socialising with friends.
The main issue I had with 1-2 Switch is that it starts to feel tired after a short while. There are only so many times you can play these kinds of games before you have nowhere else to go with them. At this point it’s hard to feel like you’ve got your money’s worth from it. The game is given longer shelf-life when you introduce it to new friends and see a whole new range of reactions but even then, it can’t feel fresh and new for much longer than a few hours.
In addition to the lack of replayability there’s no single player mode. While I can understand why they didn’t include a single player mode (as I’ve already said, this game was made for socialising with friends), it really limits the amount of opportunities you might have to play this game. Adding some games that you could play on your own alongside online or local leader boards is one of the way they could have given this game a longer shelf life.
I think the 1-2 Switch opens the door to some interesting possibilities. If developers can see the opportunities shown by some of the concepts in this game, then the Switch will become a great console.
One of the mini games, ‘Wizards’, has both players squaring off against each other in a magical duel. The mechanics of the game are very simple, but imagine if a well-known intellectual property owner (here’s looking at you JK) took this concept and developed it into a much more well-rounded game. Actually, why stop there? Why not introduce lots of magical classes? Potions need stirring, magical plants need nurturing and fantastic beasts need caring for.
Don’t get me wrong, this game does an okay job of showing off the Switch’s capabilities. But it really just feels like a taster of what could be.