1-2 Switch review: Nintendo Switch launch title delights in short bursts

Ben Skipper
IBTimes UK tries 1-2-Switch on Nintendo Switch

Mini-game collection 1-2 Switch is exactly the kind of game that Nintendo were expected to pack-in with its new console Nintendo Switch, and yet it has chosen not to. It's the company's prerogative, but it was a decision that surprised many back in January when the game was announced.

Whether or not 1-2 Switch should have been packed in with Switch isn't to say whether it lacks the quality to be a standalone game. Respective Wii and Wii U pack-ins Wii Sports and Nintendoland were good enough to be sold separately, but had a greater value and success packaged in with their consoles.

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1-2 Switch fulfils the same criteria as those games, acting as a primer for the Nintendo Switch's key features beyond the home and handheld switch it is named after, inside the two Joy Con controllers.

These attach to either side of the Switch screen and are capable of acting together to create traditional control methods as a handheld when attached to the screen or when attached to a grip creating a conventional controller. However, they're also capable of working independently.

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The Joy Cons' top quality motion-control functionality, detailed haptic feedback (christened "HD Rumble" by Nintendo) and infrared motion camera (in the right-hand controller) are all thoroughly put to use in 1-2 Switch's 28 mini-games - which we've ranked here.

As you'd expect, these mini-games offer a mixed bag - but one with more hits than misses. They range from Telephone, which tasks players with being the first to pickup their Joy Con when it wins to Gorilla, which asks players to mimic beating their chest to woo an amorous ape.

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That latter game is a prime example of 1-2 Switch's weird charm, and a clear indication that the lunatic DNA of Nintendo's popular WarioWare series has been channelled here into a game with more mainstream appeal. While it would be a shame if WarioWare were no more, the change certainly works.

Other games will see players gunslinging, sword-swinging, baby-coddling and baseball pitching in bite-size challenges that take just a minute or two to play. You can course through the 28 games fairly easily, but 1-2 Switch isn't a game to be played as intently as something such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

This is a game to bring out every now and then for a bit of fun, and its social aspect is key to what 1-2 Switch does best. Not one mini-game requires its users to look at the screen, instead encouraging them to look at each other and putting the emphasis on sound design.

'Table Tennis' for example asks players to judge when to hit the ball based on sound and timing alone, and it works. Not perfectly, but it works.

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This focus on each other rather than a screen is what makes 1-2 Switch more fun than it otherwise ought to be; something fostered by the game's silly side and naughty streak.

The infamous cow-milking game, which sees players straining virtual udders to fill as many cups with milk as they can in the allotted time, is intended to whip the dirtier parts of adult minds into a frenzy of immaturity - and it makes the game riotously funny at times.

Eating Contest may not be as laden with innuendo, but seeing a friend maniacally chomp an imaginary sandwich with the Joy-Con held inches from their mouth will probably never grow old. Similar to the chest-beating Gorilla, the hip-swinging Runway and Air Guitar, are the games most likely to make players look like idiots.

Kept incredibly simple, there are just two modes beyond simply selecting the mini-game you wish to play. Shuffle does the obvious, while team play lays all 28 games out on a board two teams of however many people you want.

After winning a game, that team spins a dial to progress along the board, selecting the next game and so on until there's a winner. It's simple, but fun, and that just about sums the game up.

1-2 Switch 7 stars

As suspected, 1-2 Switch would have been much better served packed in with every Nintendo Switch (and it may yet become that). As a demonstration of the Joy Cons' abilities it's fantastic, as a multiplayer party game it's fun and often hilarious, but it could stand to have just a little more in the way of longevity.

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