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Nintendo Switch review - stands the test of time

The Nintendo Switch came out back in 2017, and we wanted to take a look at the console to see whether or not it's still worth buying in 2023.

Our Verdict

What it lacks in processing power and graphical prowess, it more than makes up for in it's enormous library of games, and its ease-of-use both at home and on the go.

As the Nintendo Switch is now over half a decade old, those who have yet to pick one up may find themselves wondering whether it’s still worth it. Won’t a Switch 2 be along before we know it? Isn’t the OLED a far superior choice? Well, we still think there’s a lot to be admired about this plucky little hybrid console, and don’t think it’ll be going anywhere any time soon.

We recommend taking a look at our list of the best Nintendo Switch games alongside this review, as the extensive library is part of the reason we love this platform so much. Indeed, it’s easily one of the best gaming consoles, with easy handheld play options, a massive library, and an affordable price tag.

Nintendo Switch availability and pricing

While Nintendo is notorious for understocking many of its products (we’re looking at you, amiibo) and the Switch itself was a little bit hard to get ahold of when it first came out, it is now really easy to find a Switch. This is fairly true of all the major consoles at the moment (except, maybe, Steam Deck or PS5), but, hey, good to know if you want to get one. You can order one from the following retailers:

At $298 (£249), the Nintendo Switch is notably cheaper than the other big consoles on the market. Yes, it might pack less processing power than the PS5 or Xbox Series X, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s an impressive bit of gear that can play some of the best games of all time. Yes, it may miss out on the occasional triple-A release, but then it balances that out with a huge library of exclusive games.

Nintendo Switch review image showing someone playing The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom in handheld mode.

Nintendo Switch specifications

As we mentioned, the Nintendo Switch doesn’t have quite as much processing power as some of its competitors in the home console field because it uses the NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor. Meanwhile, it runs most of its games at a 720p or 1080p resolution. If you’re somebody who lives for sheer power and likes to have your socks blown off by graphics and physics that feel so real, you actually start to question the nature of our own universe, then the Switch won’t be for you. For most gamers though, it’ll be absolutely fine.
Here are the Nintendo Switch specs:

Feature Details
CPU/GPU NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor
Display 1280×720 6.2-inch LCD Screen
Battery 4310mAh lithium-ion battery
Memory 32GB RAM
Storage 32GB internal storage

Nintendo Switch features and perks

So you wanna know what NintenDoes? Well, there are a few unique things about the Switch that set it apart from the PS5 and the Xbox Series X. These include:

  • Hybrid play: one minute you might be playing on your television, then you can take your Switch out of the dock and go play it on a train or something (whatever you want). To be honest, most people either play exclusively in handheld, or exclusively on their TV – either way, it’s nice that you have that choice
  • Joy-Cons: the Switch is unique compared to other consoles because while most of them will require you to purchase a second controller if you want to do multiplayer, the Switch comes with two Joy-Cons. They’re essentially two halves of one whole controller, but they can be used independently. They’re great for out-of-the-box multiplayer
  • Exclusive games: there are various franchises that are exclusively housed on the Nintendo Switch, including Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Pokemon, Xenoblade Chronicles, Fire Emblem, and many more
  • Nintendo Switch Online: Nintendo’s online service gives you access to the online multiplayer modes in Splatoon 3, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Rocket League, Fortnite, and countless other titles. Additionally, depending on your plan, you’ll also have access to NES, SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, and Sega Mega Drive games, plus free access to various DLC packages. With new content added all the time, it’s a pretty good streaming service
  • Streaming services: though the likes of Disney Plus and Netflix are notably absent from the Nintendo eShop (which is quite disappointing), it still has a small handful of streaming services. You can watch Crunchyroll, YouTube, Twitch, and even a special service specifically for watching the Pokemon anime series
  • Snapshots and recording: if you love being able to capture screenshots of your game, as well as making videos of your in-game experiences, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Nintendo Switch does it better than any other console. There’s a button on your controller that you press once to take a screenshot and hold in to save the last 30 seconds of gameplay as a video. After that, you can easily transfer the files to your phone, or share them directly onto social media
  • Screen brightness levels: just like most mobile phones, the Switch can automatically adjust its screen brightness levels based on the lighting in your environment. Don’t like that kind of thing? You can also set a static level of brightness that will never change
  • Bluetooth audio: while the Switch has a standard headphone jack, it also lets you connect Bluetooth headsets or earphones. It isn’t compatible with any other Bluetooth devices, but it’s still good to have
  • NFC scanner: although not that many games take advantage of it, the NFC scanner allows you to use amiibo with your games. In some cases, they just unlock exclusive pieces of content, but in others, they actually write data to the figures

Nintendo Switch design

If you look at the Nintendo Switch, it is recognisably a Nintendo product. It looks at home alongside things like the classic Game Boy, or the different colored Nintendo DS Lites. Some people will appreciate this aesthetic, especially when compared to the PS5 or Xbox Series X, which look more like powerful pieces of hardware, but others are doing to feel that it looks like a toy, and not everybody wants that.

As for me, I love it. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s the best-looking console Nintendo has released in a while. As far as I’m concerned the Wii U, 3DS, DS, DS Lite, and Wii all looked fine, but the Switch is prettier than all of them. The more vibrant colors evoke a bit of 90s nostalgia in me, and while that’s not going to be the case for everyone, I reckon a lot of people are going to appreciate what they were going for.

Nintendo Switch review image showing two Switches with Splatoon 2 on them.

Nintendo Switch games

The idea that everything is on Switch has become a bit of a meme. While it does miss out on some big, modern-day triple-A releases (such as Elden Ring, Red Dead Redemption 2, and so forth), it has a huge wealth of games that are exclusive to it, and huge swathes of key releases from gaming history, plus loads of indie stuff too. Here’s an overview of a few of the types of games you can get on it.

Nintendo games

All the games from the big series you always get on Nintendo consoles. You’ve got Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, Donkey Kong County: Tropical Freeze, Pokemon Sword & Shield, and countless others. Many of the new installments for these classic franchises have arguably been the best yet, too. It’s a good time to be a Nintendo fan. Read our guide on the best Switch exclusives for more on this subject.

Shooting games

Is blasting away at enemies your idea of the ideal video game? The Switch has loads of shooters. You’ve got Nintendo’s own Splatoon games, which offers an online third-person shooter experience with the unique angle of letting you transform into a squid and swim around ink you’ve played. There’s the iconic classic, Goldeneye 007, which has finally been made available again after all these years and, exclusively on Switch, can be played online against friends for the first time. Then there are modern classics like Fortnite, which is easily one of the best battle royale games ever made (and, hey, who doesn’t love free shooting games?)

Platforming games

The Nintendo Switch has also been home to lots of platformers. Super Mario Odyssey is possibly the definitive 3D Mario experience. Banjo-Kazooie (possibly the definitive 3D platforming experience overall) is finally back on Nintendo consoles via Nintendo Switch Online. The modern-day remakes of the PS1 era Crash and Spyro games put games that were once on competing consoles on a Nintendo platform for the first time. Basically, if you like platforming, you’re gonna have a feast on the Switch.

Indie games

The Switch is the console to own if you’re a fan of indie games. You’ve got Crypt of the NecroDancer, which turns the gameplay of 2D Zelda into a rhythm game (and even got a sequel), and BPM: Bullets Per Minute, doing the same for FPS games. There’s Hyper Light Drifter giving you an isometric action-adventure game in a strange, mysterious world with a phenomenal soundtrack. Yooka-Laylee, A Hat in Time, and Demon Turf all successfully capture the feel and joy of 90s platformers. Then you also have the likes of Lil Gator Game and Here Comes Niko! providing cozy, de-stressing experiences – and so many other indie games too.

Newcomers to Nintendo consoles

I mentioned above that the Crash and Spyro remakes brought those classic games to a Nintendo console for the first time after previously only being on competitor consoles. There’s a lot of that with the Switch. Final Fantasy VII, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, Kingdom Hearts, and Assassin’s Creed II, are among the many classics which Nintendo fans will be sitting down to enjoy for the first time.

Nintendo Switch vs Switch Lite

Is the Switch better than the Switch Lite? While I think the answer to that question is definitely “yes”, I also think that it’s a vey subjective thing. The Switch is a hybrid console, which is great for anyone who loves gaming at home and on the go, but what if you only like one or the other? Well, if you don’t foresee yourself ever playing it on the TV, then I recommend going for the Switch Lite instead. The console is a lot cheaper because it lacks the ability to be played docked, but if you don’t want to play that way anyway, you may as well save yourself a bit of cash.

Nintendo Switch vs Switch OLED

On paper, of course, the Switch OLED is a more impressive piece of hardware than the regular Switch. Having said that, it is also notably more expensive, and those extra costs aren’t going to be worth it for some players. Do you want to play on you TV? Well, bad news, because the OLED barely has any new features for you. The OLED screen is bigger and it makes games look absolutely amazing, but this can only be seen in handheld mode, and in terms of processing power and so forth, it’s exactly the same as its predecessor.

Nintendo Switch alternatives

Don’t feel the standard Switch is quite right for you? Look at a few of these other products which might better suit your needs:

Final verdict

The Nintendo Switch isn’t my only console, but it’s the one I play most frequently. Part of the reason for this is that it has such an extensive library of games and there are so many things I want to play on it. I also just love sitting in my armchair with my earphones in and enjoying a peaceful gaming experience in comfort – great as they are, my other consoles can’t give me that.

I must admit that I wish it had more options in terms of non-gaming activities (give me Disney Plus!), but I’m fortunate in that I have various other platforms for that. I see the Switch purely as my gaming platform, and as that, it does a spectacular job.