Nintendo Switch review: Redefining the games console
(Pocket-lint) – After the failure of the Wii U, and in the era of Ultra-HD gaming from PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, some were beginning to think that the days of a console with ‘Nintendo’ slapped across its front may have reached their last.
But the naysayers were wrong, as the Nintendo Switch has proven time and again since its launch – now with the portable-only Switch Lite alternative and higher-quality Switch OLED also launched, further cementing the success – thanks not only to rethinking what a home and portable console can mean, but also thanks to some of the best games available on any gaming platform.
It’s still divided opinion, though. There isn’t the same volume of third-party titles or apps as found on other platforms. The graphical fidelity is well behind what’s possible elsewhere too. But that’s not stopped boatloads of people from buying the console. And for good reason: it’s utterly brilliant and does things differently.
The Switch remains a revolutionary console. It strides down its own path and has arguably redefined on-the-go gaming, with top titles like Luigi’s Mansion, Animal Crossing, and even Skyrim available to play when on the bus, train, plane, or in a doctor’s waiting room.
We do think it could be made even greater with a wider range of apps and streaming services, but this is a games console first and foremost. On that front it excels, even in the face of 4K powerhouses like the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Those are tethered to tellies and can’t offer gaming delights like Zelda, Mario or Pokemon – three titles that are among the best games going. And that right there is the exact reason why the Switch is a must-buy console.
However, if you only want the console for hand-held use then the Switch Lite is a cheaper, portable-only version, which will suit certain gamers even better. Finally, if you can stretch your budget a little further the Switch OLED is the best version of the Switch you can get. For a lower price, though, the original version is still a stunner.
A lot’s changed since the Switch arrived in 2022, not least in the form of the Switch OLED and Switch Lite, but one thing’s clear – the Switch is one of the greatest consoles ever released. Its lineup of first-party games is simply astonishing, with classics all over the place, and nothing else comes close if you’re looking for a family-friendly console.
The central premise of portability has proved to be a piece of genius from Nintendo, freeing you up to play however and whenever you like, and that extends to the controls, which can offer freeing motion controls or old-school button-based experiences as developers choose.
There have been issues with mechanical failures on Joy-Cons for a fair few users, and the Switch OLED fixed some oversights like the flimsy kickstand, but given that it’s still a chunk cheaper, the default Switch still holds up in a way that massively impresses us. It’s likely to still have full support from Nintendo for at least a couple more years, too, so there’s no reason to hold off on picking one up. If you want the ultimate Switch experience right now, the OLED is the way to go, but the standard Switch is still a superb bit of kit.