Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Top 10 Tracks

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Top 10 Tracks

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has taken the world by storm on the Nintendo Switch. Though there are no new racetracks exclusive to the upgraded version, the game includes all 16 of the original’s DLC tracks. And I have to say, a good number of those tracks are amazing, so it’s great to see them reach a wider audience.

Here is the video version for your viewing pleasure!

Crystal Dragon and I have been enjoying the game together and have been discussing which of the game’s novel tracks are our favorites. We put together a list of the Top 10 Tracks in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe! Note that we didn’t include retro tracks, even though some refurbished courses are fantastic. (Besides, Baby Park would win anyway.) We also didn’t include battle arenas, though we do love that Urchin Underpass based on Splatoon. Now that you know our parameters, enjoy our Top 10!

10. Toad Harbor

Kicking off our list is Toad Harbor, a beautiful seaside town based on an amalgamation of San Francisco and New York, which are clearly within driving distance. It’s one of the first really fun courses to play, highlighted by its shortcuts, alternate paths, and steep slope as you make your city escape. The level is also filled with great sights and details in the street signs, posters, and Lady Liberty herself. I would live in Toad’s Harbor, as long as he fixes the highway to get there.

2017050223182500-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

9. Electrodome

Time for a Mario Party! Not that kind of Mario Party though… I never thought I’d hear Mario and rave in the same sentence, but here we are. The Electrodome is our number nine pick, and it gets us moving to the beat every time. The colorful course splits in the middle, effectively making each lap feel a little different, keeping this party interesting. The whole stage constantly moves around you: Neon light strobes flash in your eye, fireworks are going off, and everyone’s dancing to the music, including the Piranha Plants. I feel like a DJ, spinning beats and making noise on the musical track itself. The Electrodome simply hits all the right notes.

2017050223165000-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

8. Wild Woods

Our number eight pick, Wild Woods, looks like it came out of a fairy tale. The woods are wild indeed, and not just because of its twisty turns. You actually go through the interior of an impressively built treetop village, inhabited by Shy Guys, adorably enough. The course itself is short, but there’s so much to look at in the Shy Guy village that it’s tempting to just hit the brakes and sightsee. Is it just me or does this remind anyone of a certain Nopon settlement in Xenoblade Chronicles? Frontier Village, anyone?

2017050223151000-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

7. Mute City

When Mario Kart 8 was first announced for the Wii U, fans were already making the comparison between the game’s new antigravity mechanics and the futuristic high-octane F-Zero series. We still don’t have a new F-Zero game, but at least we have the Mute City track, the first crossover course in our list. This is the best track to show off how awesome antigravity can look in motion; the tracks twist and turn before your eyes, retaining the feel and look of F-Zero. Meanwhile, numerous boost pads placed together near the start helps make it a high-speed race from start to finish. Between the faithful backgrounds and remixed music, the only thing missing is the good Captain himself.

2017050223244100-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

6. Animal Crossing

Based on the grueling job simulator where you are forced to slave away under taskmaster Nook… Ahem, based on the relaxing life simulator where you build homes and govern your animal residents, the Animal Crossing track is our number six pick. It appears that one mayor took it upon herself to build a racetrack in her village, and it’s a perfect fit. Throughout the race, you go on a whirlwind tour, where you can eye the various villagers and shops, all while collecting hard-earned Bells throughout the racetrack. What makes this course truly stand out is that it’s actually four different tracks in one; you can play this course in all four seasons. Changes between seasons are minor, mostly limited to small stage hazards and Easter eggs. But the effort taken to make four similar, but slightly different tracks was worth it. Props to the subtle musical elements, like being able to hear K.K. Slider jam when you’re nearby.

2017050223334200-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5.jpg

5. Dragon Driftway

I had to do a double-take the first time I saw Dragon Driftway. A Chinese-inspired level with paper lanterns and temples scattered about? And the entire track takes place on a winding dragon? (Gobblegut from Super Mario Galaxy 2) Aesthetics win this round, and this track is nothing short of stunning. It’s fun to go fast in this mostly anti-gravity level, speeding through tight loops and turning every which way. At the same time, it’s hard to resist slowing down to admire all the amazing shrine backgrounds and scroll artwork depicting Kung Fu Lakitu. Speaking of Lakitu, stop telling me I’m going backwards. Just let me admire your art!

2017050223462200-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5.jpg

4. Hyrule Circuit

Though we’ve already named two other non-Mario series-inspired levels on our list, nothing makes the series feel closer to becoming “Super Smash Kart” than Hyrule Circuit, a track designed after Nintendo’s other widely popular series, The Legend of Zelda. The race path itself is great, taking you through Hyrule Castle and the nearby field, with a remixed overworld theme playing as you cruise along. But it’s all the details that have been fine-tuned for this stage that make it special. You collect Rupees instead of coins, Deku Babas and Keese replace Piranha Plants and bats, and there are nice little extras such as sage medallions on the stained glass and Hyrule guards cheering you on next to the Toads. There’s even a puzzle to solve that leads to a surprise shortcut complete with accompanying jingles. How do you activate it? It’s a secret to everybody.

2017050223524200-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5.jpg

3. Cloudtop Cruise

Cloudtop Cruise makes the top three. It’s a sky-high stage, taking inspiration and even music cues from Super Mario Galaxy. Although I’d say we don’t really have a “proper” Galaxy course, this dynamic stage does a great job replicating that otherworldly feeling. We start off at a giant beanstalk, which quickly leads to fluffy white clouds. Then, in a change of scenery, we enter an airship followed by a hazardous thundercloud, and finally back on the stalk. The whole journey is magical and captures the essence of what made Galaxy special. It’s an exciting course with enough variety and stage hazards to produce close races.

2017050223575700-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

2. Big Blue

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe graces us not with one, but two whole tracks based on the high-octane racer, F-Zero. And they’re both awesome, evidently, since we put Big Blue as number two. This track has a special denotation as one long course divided into three sections as opposed to laps. Essentially, it’s a high-speed blaze to the bottom, and everything about the stage is designed to replicate F-Zero’s fast pace. Boost pads, conveyer belts, spin boost pillars, and a steadily flowing current are abundant, assuring you hit maximum speed. The entirety of the course utilizes MK8’s trademark antigravity, fitting for the futuristic world. Additionally, the jazz remix of Big Blue’s theme is amazing. The only way this course could have been better is if it were actually in a new F-Zero game for the Switch. Hint, hint? Nintendo?

2017050300020200-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5.jpg

1. Mount Wario

Here we are at number one. Mount Wario is another single straight course manually divided into three sections. What gives Mount Wario the edge is that the entire track tells a coherent story as you are sent freefalling from a plane at the top of a mountain. You make an actual journey through wildly different locations as you propel downwards, going through a cave, a dam, and a forest. The music amps up considerably as you progress. And the grand finale is what can only be described an as epic final lap speeding down a long ski slope. Huge boosts, flags to drive between, and a final winding path to the bottom are a thrill. As fans cheer, excitement builds up for anyone who can take the gold. It’s an amazing feeling, from start to finish, and the setting is so grand. It’s one of the few levels I can play over and over without getting bored, and I always pick it if it’s an option online. Mount Wario is hands-down my favorite course, not only in the game, but probably the entire series, period.

2017050300090400-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5.jpg

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed our top 10 tracks of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It was actually tough to choose these, since there are so many awesome new tracks in the game, including the amazing redone retro courses. Needless to say, the game’s track selection is top-notch, and we’re excited to see what Nintendo does next for the series, whether as DLC or for an entirely new game.

What are your favorite tracks in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe? What are your favorite and least favorite tracks from the Mario Kart series? Please share any thoughts you have in the comments section below! Thank you for reading!

SNES Classic Games Wish List

SNES Classic Games Wish List

The NES Classic Edition has come and gone. Though many of us have missed out on obtaining this prized miniature console with 30 NES games, a rumor from Eurogamer suggests that Nintendo could already be looking at an SNES Classic Edition by the end of the year. I would absolutely love to see 30 Super Nintendo games all in one tiny system. But what games to include? I created a wish list of the games I’d like to see make it to this hypothetical system. Though there are some unrealistic choices, I put some thought into what games would be more likely than others, so there aren’t any licensed games on here. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of great titles to choose from! Here’s my top 30!

I also put together a video version of this list for your enjoyment!

  1. Super Mario World

Let’s face it. This list wouldn’t be complete without Mario’s first 16-bit classic, Super Mario World. This game is a masterpiece in all forms of design, whether level, graphic, or sound. And the fun factor is off the charts – Yoshi, the Cape power-up, secret exits – I love this game, and its likelihood of appearing on an SNES Classic is pretty much given. How could it not be there?

  1. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

The “sequel,” Yoshi’s Island, the green dinosaur’s first solo outing, is also a great game in its own right. The chances of it appearing are a little lower, since the game’s use of the Super FX Chip seems to have prevented it from being on the Virtual Console in its proper form. Still, this game gives me fond memories, and I’d love to see Yoshi and Baby Mario’s misadventures finally get a rerelease.

Super Mario World-SNES Classic.jpg

  1. Super Mario All-Stars

I’m probably cheating with this one, but I’d love to see this 16-bit remastered collection of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2., Super Mario Bros. 3, and The Lost Levels make it to the SNES Classic. Regardless of whether or not it counts as four games, the compilation would make the mini system feel more complete.

  1. Super Mario Kart

I know this list is pretty Mario heavy, but I’m sure Nintendo can’t resist having their mascot plumber abundantly represented. Plus Super Mario Kart is the original mascot kart racer that made the series what it is today. While Mario Kart 8 and its Deluxe form take the series to gravity-defying heights, fans owe it to themselves to experience the series’ roots.

DonkeyKongCountry SNES Classic

  1. Donkey Kong Country

  2. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest

  3. Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble

Rare’s Donkey Kong Country series are some of the most graphically impressive games on the hardware. At least, they were at the time. Regardless, these are some of my favorite platformers ever. The level design is masterful, and David Wise’s music is legendary. If I could only choose one to include, I’d have to go with my personal favorite, DKC2. But please Nintendo, convince Rare to put all three on the system!

Link to the Past SNES Classic.jpg

  1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

You were probably waiting for this one. Of course I want The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past to be on the SNES Classic. This legendary title that set the precedent for every subsequent Zelda game, except Breath of the Wild, is so likely, that it’s just a question of when will it get announced as opposed to if.

  1. Super Metroid

On that same level is the just as impressive Super Metroid, which took the original adventure game’s premise and expanded upon it in every way. Just like with Zelda, I’m certain Samus Aran’s iconic mission will appear on the Classic. The question is: do we save or kill the animals?

Super_metroid_cover SNES Classic.jpg

  1. Super Punch-Out!!

Although Super Punch-Out!! is far less known, it’s highly likely to appear on the compilation thanks to its first-party status. No complaints here because Little Mac’s arcade boxing game sequel to one of my favorite games on the NES would be a knockout addition.

  1. Star Fox

Star Fox was a marvelous space shooter that utilized the Super FX Chip for impressive polygonal shapes pre-Nintendo 64. That chip is probably the reason we never got a rerelease on the Virtual Console, but if Nintendo can work it out for the SNES Classic, this is one of my top desired FX Chip games.

Star Fox SNES Classic.jpg

  1. Pilotwings

Pilotwings was a first-party launch title for the SNES, which likely gives it top-billing for a Classic Edition, regardless of what you may think of the game. Though I wasn’t a big fan, it makes sense to include this flight simulator for its impressive use of Mode 7 to rotate and scale its backgrounds for a true sky-high feel.

  1. F-Zero

This leads me to this other Mode 7 heavy game, the futuristic racer, F-Zero. This first-party title introducing the world to Captain Falcon has seen numerous rereleases. It’s a shoe-in for the Classic. FALCON PUNCH!

  1. Yoshi’s Safari

So why not pick the least likely Mode 7 game to make it. Yoshi’s Safari was a spinoff that required the Super Scope peripheral that allowed you to shoot at enemies while riding your green steed. Though it’s certainly a unique experience, I’d have to wonder if Nintendo would even be willing to pull this off. Still, it had Yoshi, and I enjoyed it at the time.

  1. Tetris Attack

A puzzle game that is nothing like Tetris, Tetris Attack is actually based on the Panel de Pon series, also known as Puzzle League. With a fun mechanic that tasked you to swap blocks to form three-in-a-row and cute aesthetics from Yoshi’s Island, this would be a great addition to the system, despite having never been on Virtual Console.

SuperMarioRPGSNESCoverArtUS

  1. Super Mario RPG

Another Mario game? I assure you, this is much different than the typical platformer. A joint venture between legendary RPG developer Square and Nintendo, Super Mario RPG introduced the Mushroom Kingdom to turn-based battle systems with a flair of button timing. It also introduced us to our favorite neglected puppet, Geno. SMRPG would be likely to appear, assuming Square Enix was on board.

FF VI SNES Classic.jpg

  1. Final Fantasy II (IV)

  2. Final Fantasy III (VI)

And while we’re on the topic of Square Enix, here are the other games I’d like from them. First off, we have both Final Fantasy II and III (or IV and VI following the series’ true numbering). Both games gave us endearing characters, awesome active time battle systems, amazing music, and high-quality sprite artwork. If I could only choose one to include, I’d pick III for its cast of characters and excellent villain. Though I’d hope to see both of them represented!

  1. Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger. It’s a classic, and its diehard fans will tell you it’s their favorite game of all time. This epic journey takes you on an whirlwind tour through time, with lovable characters designed by Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball Z fame and a breathtaking soundtrack that I still listen to today. There’s no definite chance this game would make it on the collection, but we have to dream.

Chrono Trigger SNES Classic

  1. Secret of Mana

Secret of Mana is another game that may or may not make it, depending on what Square Enix gives, but let it be known that I’d like to see the multiplayer action-RPG find a new home on the SNES Classic.

  1. ActRaiser

The same goes for ActRaiser, which is the only of these Square-Enix games developed by Enix. I’m not sure this hybrid between action platformer and city-building simulator would be Nintendo’s first choice on their miniature SNES, but it’s a unique title that deserves more exposure.

  1. Super Castlevania IV

Continuing our third-party lineup, Konami’s Super Castlevania IV is a sensible pick, bringing a series already represented in the NES Classic to the 16-bit era. The game looked and played wonderfully at the time, so why not include this game so we can lay waste to Dracula all over again?

Super_castlevania_iv_SNES classic

  1. Contra III: The Alien Wars

Another well-known Konami game, Contra III: The Alien Wars, also deserves a spot on this list, with its series also represented on the original NES Classic. Though I haven’t played the other Contra games, I enjoyed this shoot ‘em up a lot, and I think it has a good chance of being included.

  1. The Legend of the Mystical Ninja

On the flip side is The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, a game whose series I adore, but who knows if we’ll get the game on the Classic. This hybrid of traditional 2D and isometric 3D platforming was well-received and has made it to Virtual Console multiple times, so there’s definitely the opportunity.

  1. Street Fighter II

Hadoken! With Ultra Street Fighter II on Switch being a thing, we might not see the original Capcom fighting game on the system. That would be a shame since I couldn’t imagine an SNES compilation without the World Warriors.

Megaman_X_SNES Classic

  1. Mega Man X

The same goes for Capcom’s edgier version of the Blue Bomber. Mega Man X is like the first series in everything but name. You still get to fire your buster and fight boss battles against robot master animals. Though I’d love for more X goodness to be on there, I’d go with the first entry if anything.

  1. Harvest Moon

For something completely different, Natsume’s Harvest Moon would make a perfect easygoing title. With the focus on watering crops and raising animals, it would be markedly different from slashing foes and bouncing on Goombas. The series is still popular today, and its first SNES entry has already previously made it to Virtual Console, so I can see this happening.

Kirby Super Star SNES Classic

  1. Kirby Super Star

  2. Kirby’s Dream Land 3

Going back to first-party (or at least second-party), HAL Laboratories’ Kirby platformers just have to be on the system. Kirby Super Star was known for providing eight games in one, and Kirby’s Dream Land 3 delivered a solid platformer while bringing back Kirby’s animal pals. Though I considered the spinoffs, Kirby’s Avalanche (a Puyo Puyo clone) and Kirby’s Dream Course (Kirby golf), I ultimately decided that Kirby’s classic titles should have representation first.

  1. Earthbound

And finally we come to Earthbound, that oh-so-quirky RPG that allegedly “stinks.” This story of four kids taking down animals, hippies, and aliens in a warped version of America, is one of the games I had looked most forward to for Virtual Console. Now that it’s made it, the next logical step is finding a home on the SNES Classic. Fuzzy Pickles!

EarthBound SNES Classic

Conclusion

It was difficult coming up with 30 games, especially third-party titles that deviated from the platformer and RPG genres, but this is an ideal list of what I’d like to see (that’d be possible) on the SNES Classic. Let’s just hope that regardless of what’s on there, there’s enough stock to go around so we can all enjoy it!

What games would you like to see on the SNES Classic? What games that I missed would you like to see? What are your favorite SNES games? Please share any thoughts you have in the comments section below! Thanks for reading!

Nintendo Switch First Impressions

Nintendo Switch First Impressions

Out to Launch

The Nintendo Switch has arrived! I’ve been excited about the console and its upcoming games since we first heard about it months ago. After a frustrating launch experience, I finally got the new console, and I’ve been playing it a lot. The big question is: does it live up to the hype? After a full weekend of the Switch, here are my thoughts on the console, controller, and launch games.

IMG_0234
It’s here!

Setup

The first unboxing revealed the key components of the system: the Joy-Con (L, left) and Joy-Con (R, right) controllers and the tablet-like Switch itself. Underneath lay the dock, the magical machine that delivers the system output to the television. The Joy-Grip, a makeshift controller that you can plug the Joy-Cons into, and some crucial HDMI and AC adapter cables comprised the rest of the included components.

IMG_0235.JPG
I love that new console smell.

Before plugging anything in, I wanted to experience sliding in the Joy-Cons to the Switch tablet. It snapped in easily, producing that satisfying *click* noise that we’ve associated with the console. I set the dock next to my TV and opened up its back to input the cables, which fit snugly. The coup de grace was putting the Switch and its attached Joy-Cons into the dock. I pressed the home button, set up the system, and installed an update within minutes. I was pleased with the snappiness of the initial setup.

IMG_0238.JPG
Top: Joy-Grip; Bottom: Switch with Joy-Cons attached

System

You can use the Switch as a home console or a handheld device. The first major playstyle is taking out the Switch from the dock and playing portably. In handheld form, the tablet resembles a Wii U GamePad with the Joy-Cons being your primary grip. The Switch is lighter than the GamePad, while sporting an equivalently sized screen that produces a sharper 720p resolution in comparison to the GamePad’s 480p. I was surprised by how crisp The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s graphics looked on the small screen.

The Switch is comfortable to hold, and its light weight lends itself to portable gaming sessions. As an avid handheld gamer, it’s a luxury to take the Switch and its console games wherever I want, whether to a coffee shop or on a commute. A kickstand allows the system to stand on tables too. My one gripe is the three hour battery life. You can circumvent this by adjusting the brightness and sound settings, but you won’t be playing for extended periods. Plugging it in to an outlet or power bank is also an option. For shorter trips and breaks, the Switch excels. And once you get back home, inserting the Switch back into the dock takes you back into the game instantly. The output transfer is rapid, switching between TV and handheld mode within seconds!

IMG_0314.JPG
Moments like this make me happy to be a Switch owner.

Controllers

When playing on the big screen, the Switch must remain in the dock, so you can’t use it as a controller. Instead, you have several options. The first is the bundled Joy-Grip, which resembles a skeleton controller until you insert the Joy-Cons. The Joy-Grip effectively holds the Joy-Cons close together, and the ergonomic handles provide a natural clutch.

IMG_0307.JPG
The Joy-Grip with attached Joy-Cons; Also, a puppy face.

Although the Joy-Cons are technologically impressive, I’m not terribly fond of their designs. While attached to the Switch/Joy-Grip, they provide your standard button layout with face buttons on the upper-right and analog sticks in the upper-left and lower-right sections. However, the face buttons are very small; they’re tinier than the 3DS’ buttons. The standard “d-pad” has also been replaced with the same small buttons, which is not ideal for 2D games. The L and R shoulder buttons are also very tiny and don’t feel natural to push down.

IMG_0308
Joy-Con (L) and Joy-Con (R)

In some cases, like Snipperclips or Super Bomberman R, a single Joy-Con can be used on its own. As a bonus, another player can join in a multiplayer game using the other Joy-Con. For these games, you simply turn your Joy-Con horizontally, like you would hold an NES controller or a sideways Wii remote. However, the Joy-Con’s miniature size makes it difficult to grasp properly. The Switch box comes with two Joy-Con straps, that when attached to the Joy-Con, makes it slightly easier to hold. Even though my hands aren’t that big, I didn’t find the horizontal controller appealing. The Joy-Cons have asymmetrical layouts: the right Joy-Con positions the analog stick too far in the middle while the left one poses the same problem with its buttons. The configurations feel awkward when held sideways.

IMG_0325.JPG
Joy-Con (L/R) horizontal orientations

In games like 1-2 Switch, you hold the Joy-Con vertically as you would a Wii remote. Additionally, you can hold both Joy-Cons vertically to play nearly any game, as if you were operating a Wii remote and Nunchuk. Though I prefer a traditional playstyle, it’s wonderful to see an array of options depending on preference. Improved gyro motion control and HD Rumble capabilities enhance the experience for select games, too. Though I didn’t test out the HD Rumble that allegedly allows you to feel separate sensations within the controller, gyro aiming works wonders for Breath of the Wild. I look forward to seeing these interesting concepts utilized in future games like Splatoon 2.

IMG_0326.JPG
Match the symbols, unlike what you’d do for batteries.

A word of warning: pay attention to the straps’ alignment when you’re attaching them. The straps are interchangeable, so they will slide in regardless of orientation. However, if you don’t correctly match the “minus” and “plus” symbols on the straps to the Joy-Cons, they will get stuck. Due to the small sizes of the strap and Joy-Con, it’s hard enough detaching them normally. But when they’re mismatched, you have to yank them off, risking damage.

IMG_0306.JPG
Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

I saved my favorite controller for last. The Switch Pro Controller isn’t included with the system and costs a hefty $70, but it’s one of the most comfortable controllers Nintendo has made. Any criticism I have of the Joy-Grip is fixed with the Pro Controller. The grip curves inward a little, providing that satisfying ergonomic handle. The face and shoulder buttons are large and easy to reach. There is an actual d-pad. There is some clear inspiration from the standard Xbox controller, though it weighs less than its competitor. The matte finish is sleek, and the modern technological design is icing on the cake. It’s easily my ideal way to play. That said, I can only recommend it if you are willing to pay premium. Otherwise, the Joy-Grip is sufficient.

User Interface (UI)

The home menu is simple, though may strike you as a little empty compared to the Wii U’s. Sporting a solid white or black background, the menu displays a singular row of all your games and demos. The upper left shows your profile(s). Clicking on a profile lets you change your friend icon, which you can choose from dozens of Nintendo characters or your own Mii. The Mii maker has several new color options, as well as an array of facial expressions and poses.

2017030716164700-57B4628D2267231D57E0FC1078C0596D.jpg
Yes, I’m friends with THE Link and Zelda.

The lower menu on the home screen has icons for system options and Switch news. It also gives you access to the eShop and a photo album. The digital store is simple to use and loads more quickly than in previous systems. Currently, there are no options for video streaming services such as Netflix. There is no Virtual Console either, but Nintendo has assured that retro games will arrive in the future. A much welcomed capture button lets you take game screenshots and share them on social media.

2017030716151600-CF99E5A89997DEB91E571D16DB468578
If you’d like to add me, here’s my Switch Friend Code! SW-3611-4684-6706

The Switch also marks the return of Friend Codes, those lovely 16-digit strings that you input to befriend someone. While you can’t simply search for someone by typing in their name, the FC process has been streamlined. When you add someone as a friend, it will show up on their systems, so they need only accept your friend request to add you back. It’s a nice compromise. As a bonus, using the connectivity of the My Nintendo account system, you can add people that you’ve befriended in games like Fire Emblem Heroes, Super Mario Run, and Miitomo.

The UI is easy on the eyes and as modest as possible. The lack of music is a shame, considering how catchy the Wii U’s system jingles are. Otherwise, I have no issues with the user-friendly interface.

2017030302483000-F1C11A22FAEE3B82F21B330E1B786A39.jpg
Open your eyes, Link.

Games

Although I won’t harp too long on the games for now, I can say I’m enjoying the launch lineup. Nintendo, its third-party partners, and indie developers have delivered quality over quantity. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the big one, consuming most of my Switch playtime. I am awed by every moment of discovery. Snipperclips is a surprising hit for my wife and me, and we love solving its creative and goofy puzzles. We also like snipping and clipping each other, out of love, of course… Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment is another solid 2D platformer into the Shovel Knight DLC compendium. Finally, Super Bomberman R is a fun revival of a multiplayer classic, though I will have better insight when I play 8-player online. If you have the game, please feel free to play with me! I will share more detailed reviews in the weeks to come, so please look forward to them.

IMG_0265.JPG
My Day One haul: Of course I got the amiibo!

Conclusion

The Switch is a technological marvel with the ability to output crisp HD visuals to the television, and with a snap, transform into a handheld tablet device that you can play on-the-go. The Joy-Cons aren’t the most comfortable to hold, but they are versatile and perform their roles well. As with any system, the games will determine the Switch’s future. I hope that Nintendo continues to deliver its first party offerings in concurrence with big third-party games and “Nindies.” Overall, despite any gripes I have, I love my new console. With hybrid capabilities that help it stand out from the pack, the Switch has immense potential as Nintendo’s next heavy-hitter.

What are your thoughts on the Nintendo Switch? Did you pick it up at launch, or are you planning to pick it up later (or not at all)? How have your experiences been with the system thus far? What do you like or dislike about the Switch? Please share any questions or thoughts you have in the comments section below! Thanks for reading!

Note: Here’s my Switch Friend Code: SW-3611-4684-6706