The Nintendo Switch console has officially launched, and to help ring in the momentous occasion, Nintendo is hosting a number of promotional events around the country. The Los Angeles public event will be this Sunday, March 5, at 10am at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, but we here at MXDWN got to get a taste of the event at the media preview day, which took place today. Here are our impressions.
The event was much more of a spectacle than we expected. Taking place in one of the large soundstages at Raleigh Studios, this Switch and Play event looked like a mini E3, with a large mainstage, brightly colored lights and monitors all over, and of course, tons and tons of demos to be played. The famous Mario himself even made an appearance, lumbering around in a big mascot suit to take pictures and even play a bit of Just Dance with some fans.
In the center of the show floor were a number of third-party games being shown off on the Switch hardware, including Super Bomberman R from Konami, Has-Been Heroes from Gametrust, and Skylanders Imaginators from Activision. New with Skylanders on the Nintendo Switch is the improved integration with the game’s accompanying real-life figurines, which can now be seamlessly scanned into the game via the Switch’s Joy-Con controller, rather than using a separate port as on the Wii U.
All along the perimeter walls of the floor were the Nintendo first-party games, including Splatoon 2, 1-2-Switch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Arms. Of these games, only 1-2-Switch and Zelda are currently available, with the rest of the titles slated to come out at various points later this year.
Zelda was naturally a big hit, as the game has already amazed the internet with its near-flawless record of ratings. The gameplay was fun, and the open world was very expansive and inviting, even in a quick 20-minute play demo.
1-2-Switch seems a bit like it’s as much a way to show off the console’s features and novelties as it is a full-fledged retail title, but the mini-games are still fun and the things they do with the Joy-Con’s motion-tracking and rumble features are certainly impressive. “Ball Count” was an impressive feat of engineering but ultimately a bit boring, while “Table Tennis” seemed simple at first but proved to be quite addicting.
Of all the core Nintendo titles shown at the event, though, Arms stood out to me as the most fun and innovative of the bunch. The game appears at first like a revamped version of Wii Sports‘s boxing game, with two players facing off by assuming a boxing stance and throwing punches at each other with a Joy-Con controller in each hand. After a brief learning period, though, the game’s depth began to show; players are able to jump, dash, block, grab, and more, incentivizing clever play over speedy flailing and making the game feel like a “real” fighting game a la Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. I found myself getting so caught up trying to nail combos and dance around my opponent that I didn’t even notice myself breaking a sweat until the round was over.
Arms is slated for release in spring 2017.
Overall, the event is very well-produced, and the Switch looks to be a fun console with a deep roster of quality games. To any fans located in Los Angeles able to attend Sunday’s event, we would recommend it highly.