The Nintendo Switch hands on preview tour showcased a number of titles from the highly anticipated Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to the debut of 1-2-Switch and even third party titles such as Skylanders: Imaginators. Few of these titles will be available at console launch on March 3, 2017, but they have demonstrated the innovative features that the Switch has to offer. For example, the Skylanders: Imaginators demo station had NFC-enabled Skylanders that were able to be tapped directly onto the joy-con dock. Although this installment of Skylanders is available on other consoles such as Sony’s PS3 & PS4, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 & One, perhaps playing it on the Switch will provide a much different experience, predominately with new controller options.
First person debut title 1-2-Switch offers a plethora of mini games that one might associate Wii Play, Nintendoland, or even WarioWare with. These titles were featured in tabletop mode–basically gameplay using the joy-cons only, in such a way where you are to look your opponent in the eyes and actively engage with them, rather than the screen. The mini games featured at this preview event were Quick Draw, a game that measured attention, speed and aim; Milk, a game that required users to utilize certain button combinations and controller movements; and Ball Count, where players held the joy-con in their hands to use its vibrations to figure out how many balls were in the box–or joy-con to experience an added layer of realism. It was difficult to distinguish the nuanced vibrations used to count how many balls would roll or bounce around. But Quick Draw and Milk were essentially party games that one might particularly enjoy with a drink. 1-2-Switch will be launching alongside the Switch on March 7, 2017.
The next demo I tried, and probably the most popular demo next to the Legend of Zelda was Splatoon 2. As expected, the demo had many similarities to the original with minor upgrades in graphics and sound. Character customization wasn’t available in the demo; only Turf War with 4v4 teams utilizing the Switch in tablet mode–much like how it was predominately played on the Wii U. However, the interface took a little getting used to. The map wasn’t as easily accessible, and therefore Squid Jumping took a little more effort. On the bright side, the Switch had gyroscope functionally that felt smoother and more natural than on the Wii U. Splatoon 2 is scheduled to launch this summer decked with new weapons such as the two-handed Splat Dualies that I was able to try at the event. As it sounds, this debut weapon are actually dual weapons whose special is a jetpack mode reminiscent of using the hover nozzle in Super Mario Sunshine to spray water.
ARMS, another first party title, is a unique combination of fighting and shooting elements. The selling point is that these characters are fighting from a distance because their arms are extendable. Furthermore, each character has a set of arms that can be customized at the start of each battle. During the demo, the joy-con controllers, one in each hand, were essentially used as fists. Through a mix of boxing-like gestures, the player is able to punch straight, make curved attacks, or even grab the opponent. Although I wonder if there are general controller settings as slight gestures were registered as swings. Perhaps the upside is that the player would be able to swing faster than someone who has to extend their arm all the way out. Arms, launching later this Spring, will also be playable using the pro controller.
Snipperclips – Cut it out, together! was an underrated puzzler where the players cut their paper characters into different shapes to solve the puzzle; whether its sharpen the pencil or pop all of the balloons. The two-player demo encouraged teamwork and creativity in solving the puzzles, cutting the right shapes, and timing everything. The controls were intuitive with one button to cut shapes, another to grow back their cut forms, and an option to crouch or tippy-toe for extra height. Snipperclips is launching this March and will be available exclusively on the Nintendo eShop.
Demo Line up includes:
- Disgaea 5
- Fast RMX
- Has Been Heroes
- Just Dance 2017
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Puyo Puyo Tetris
- Skylanders: Imaginators
- Snipperclips – Cut it out, together!
- Sonic Mania
- Splatoon 2
- Super Bomberman R
- Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers