If you been off planet for the last month and haven’t heard, there is a new console out called the Nintendo Switch that is breaking boundaries. Expanding on the creative “family fun” genre that Nintendo started decades ago, they have now combined a home entertainment console with the portability of handheld gaming, and it’s great! Time to sit back, relax, and check out our Nintendo Switch Review: The Ultimate Family Console.
Nintendo Switch Unboxing
Out of the box and into the living room is the story of Nintendo. Creating fun, dynamic content for all ages has been a cornerstone of the brand since the original Nintendo’s inception. The Nintendo Switch pushes motion gaming to the limits upping the ante on the Nintendo Wii and its successor the Wii U. Combining upgraded motion controllers from the Wii and an advanced tablet display from the Wii U, these components form what looks to be the making of a great family fun gaming console.
Nintendo Switch Contents Include:
- The Nintendo Switch Console (tablet)
- Left and Right Joy-Con Controllers (available in grey, or red-blue)
- Joy-Con Wrist Straps
- The Joy-Con Grip
- The Nintendo Switch Dock
- An HDMI Cable
- An A/C Adapter
The Joy-Con Controllers
As a family, we have had countless nights of fun playing Wii Sports, Mario Kart, and a variety of other colorful Nintendo games, so we knew that the Nintendo Switch had great potential! Attaching the Joy-Con controllers to the grip worked great, and slid on and off with no issues. Attaching the wrist straps to the Joy-Con controllers also went off without a hitch, but I must admit getting the wrist straps to release themselves isn’t as easy of a task.
The Joy-Con controllers on their own felt very natural in my hands (even as a large 6’5″ adult) and actually gave me a more fluid movement feeling than the larger Wii remotes. When attached to the grip it also felt very smooth and held like a standard controller would.
The setup of the console was a breeze, and then I reached…. Parental Controls! On most consoles this only allows you to keep your son or daughter from purchasing $600 worth of Farmville coins, but on the Nintendo Switch they take Parental Controls to a new level. When I was in middle school, we had the glorious AOL dial-up system installed on our home computer. My mom would set time limits and restrictions so that I wouldn’t sit up all night playing Yahoo Hearts or very slowly loading WWF wresting images. There is always a tricky line to draw as a parent in this modern age of technology with regard to how much time a child is allowed to use electronics in a day and “What games are appropriate for them to play, and how much are they playing them?” The Nintendo Switch helps us to dive into these questions and find answers.
I walked through a simple process of setting up my parental controls that were tied to a Nintendo account I needed to create, and then established an up to 6 digit pin code for turning these controls off. I was given a link to visit on my computer or mobile device to download the compatible application, and this is where the magic of Nintendo’s new Parental Controls begin to shine. Downloading the app through the Google Play Store was very easy along with the quick set up and sync with my Nintendo Switch.
Once I got the app, I started browsing through the many different features that I honestly did not expect to see:
- Play Time Limits – Allows you to set limits on how long a child should be able to play as well as how late the Nintendo Switch console can be used each day. You will be notified when this limit has been reached on your mobile device. You also have the ability to provide an alert that they have reached their limit and put the system into sleep mode.
- Parental Approved Games – With parental controls you can choose from predefined age categories or manually select games you want your kids to be able to play on that system, thus alleviating you from having to worry about them borrowing games from the older kids down the street and playing them without your knowledge!
- Play Time Logs – You will be able to see not only how long your kids were playing under each account, but which games they played and for how long.
- Customizable Online Features – All games have different social features and permissions that can be regulated here. Limiting the sharing of in-game text or images, and restricting the link to social media accounts are options.
In the picture below you will see centered at the top of the screen a small icon of a parent and child. This image shows you whether or not the parental controls are enabled on your Nintendo Switch. When this is enabled you will see the display change to “On” and it is highlighted in bright orange.
Family Friendly Content and Games
Now, to put all of these pieces together you need family friendly content. At the console’s launch, we are sadly limited to only a select number of games:
- 1-2 Switch
- Just Dance
- Shovel Knight
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Additional downloadable titles
1-2 Switch is Nintendo Switch’s evolution of Wii Sports, and although its not quite as captivating as Home Run Derby and Bowling, the enhancements made in the Joy-Con controllers and how those were demonstrated in each game were fantastic. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an open world RPG that brings the original Zelda to the new generation of consoles. Thankfully titles such as “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe”, “Minecraft” and “Super Mario Odyssey” are also on the horizon with release dates in 2017, giving me hope that by the holiday season there should be no shortage of great Nintendo content to keep us busy!
So far, all things considered, I think the Nintendo Switch is going to be a great family console and I would definitely recommend it to any families out there looking to have not only fun and interactive games for the kids but a system that creates a party environment for fun family gaming weekends.