Is Nintendo switch worth buying in 2021?
2021 marks the fourth year of life for the Nintendo Switch, and in those four years, this portable gaming console has managed to sweep the world by storm and a massive, very impressive game library.
The Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch is about four years old already, and the question many people ask is, “is it still worth buying”?
Quick Answer: For many of you, the answer will be a definitive and obvious “Yes.” The Switch is worth buying, and that’s a fair opinion. I love this console. Just make sure you get the Red box model and not the White box model.
Nintendo Switch Light vs. Regular
The Nintendo Switch light came out in 2019, and it’s 100 bucks less than the regular Switch. It is just as good as the regular except that you cannot plug it into your TV, making it portable only.
For almost everyone, I’d recommend the regular Switch over it. However, having the versatility of choosing either TV mode or portable mode is kind of unique. It’s a feature we’ve never had on any console before the Nintendo Switch.
I mean, that’s where the Switch gets its name; it can Switch. It has completely changed portable gaming as we know it by bringing full console-level titles into our hands without even the need to be plugged into anything.
Playing a high-quality game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the go is an unbelievable experience.
Nintendo Switch Rivals
The Switch is great, and it is worth buying, but the competition has improved massively since its release. So while the Switch was not entirely on par with the PS4 and Xbox one, it wasn’t that far of.
Many AAA titles were ported over (at reduced graphics), like The Witcher 3, DOOM, and Skyrim. These games didn’t look that good on the Switch but were still complete games.
But if you compare it with the newly released PS5 and Xbox series S and X, suddenly the Switch isn’t quite as appealing. While the portable element is still huge and the main selling point.
The amount of power these new consoles have is equivalent to very good gaming PCs. The performance and 4k graphical quality are phenomenal. I tested Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on my PS5, and it blew me away with the ray-traced lighting and the many-particle effects that just cannot be achieved on something like a Switch.
Ghost of Tsushima was a PS4 game but runs at 4k 60 frames per second on the PS5 and looks fantastic. You can never get anything like this on the Switch.
These powerful consoles can have great graphics, but the Switch is still the only real portable system on the market right now.
If you’re someone who only can see yourself playing on their TV, then the PS5 or Xbox probably are the better options. But if you desire to play in bed or on a bus, or away from home, the Switch is a no-brainer.
Despite being four years old, the Switch remains in high demand and costs around 300 dollars. That might not sound too bad but throw in games, most of which, at least from Nintendo, hardly ever go on sale, and suddenly costs rise real quick.
However, those Nintendo games are a significant factor in choosing this console.
While the portability is huge, there’s no getting around that Sony and Xbox have nothing that competes with the multiplayer fun of Nintendo games or at least very little.
Even the single-player experiences such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey are just fantastic, colorful, detailed, and just plain fun games, only found with Nintendo. So, again the console is worth buying.
The freedom you have with the Switch to move around and play in bed, someone else’s house, on vacation, on the bus, or wherever cannot be understated.
It’s a fantastic experience, and if you’re someone who moves around a lot, Nintendo Switch is going to be the way to go.
For those who are really interested in getting the Nintendo Switch, I’m not going to end the article here. Keep on reading for the in-depth review.
Design and Hardware
The 2017 Nintendo Switch is essentially a small black tablet with a plastic display, fairly thick black bezels, and the Switch logo on the back. The bottom of the system holds the USB-C charging port, and the power and volume buttons are on the top.
By itself, the Switch is very plain looking, but it’s when you slap on the Joycons it becomes a console. You can easily slide it onto the sides of the Switch, and bam, you’re good to go.
The controllers connect with a satisfying click, and it’s very intuitive, easy enough for anyone to do at basically any age.
It is a brilliant design and works seamlessly. You get your new Joycons and slide them on, and they’ll be linked. Although, playing games on the Switch portably can occasionally feel a bit flimsy to me.
Maybe that’s not the right word, but there’s definitely a bit of give between the controllers and the console, which can make it feel like it’s not all in one piece, which it isn’t.
The Switch light
The Switch light definitely feels better when playing portably to me, but that makes sense given it is made explicitly for that, so I have no real complaints.
There’s also a kickstand on the back of the Switch, so you can prop it up while playing without holding the system. The issue here is that the stand doesn’t account for the charging port, which means you can’t charge it while standing it up.
The game cartridge slot cover pops off, so you can put the game in, and there’s a micro SD card slot underneath the kickstand which allows for some cheap expandable storage.
You’ll want to get a micro SD card if you plan on downloading games. The Switch does come with 32 gigs of memory, but you’ll find that goes pretty fast.
The design of the Nintendo Switch is simple and fine for me. It doesn’t need to be any different from this. It does the job of providing a balanced experience between portability and also the power to play fairly big games.
The Joycons add a large element of color to the system, which is nice. Of course, you can get the gray ones if you prefer, but there are quite a few other color options such as purple and orange, yellow and blue, green and pink, etc.
Lots of different choices for all kinds of tastes, and there are special edition versions of which can be hard to find later on, such as an animal crossing Switch. So that’s something to look for if you’re interested in that.
The plastic screen is worth talking about due to the potential scratches it can get, even from the dock itself, if you’re not careful. I fully recommend having a tempered glass screen protector as it protects from scratches.
An entire case is really up to you. I’m not too concerned as the whole thing is plastic, and I don’t see some scratching as a big deal. But if you want a case, there are tons of options available.
The 6.2 inch LCD has a resolution of 1280×720, which isn’t very high. This display isn’t going to blow you away by any means. More than likely, your smartphone will have a higher resolution and look sharper.
It’s all about balance and actual games running at 720p here, still manages to look quite good because the screen isn’t too large, which means a fairly good pixel density and looks sharp enough to be more than playable.
If they were to pump out more pixels, the battery life would significantly diminish, and so I think that 720p is the sweet spot with the Switch.
However, Hooking it up to the dock, the Switch can output up to 1080p at 60 frames per second, which isn’t bad, although there are no 4k options. But games can run well, especially if they’re made by Nintendo.
Super Mario Odyssey or Mario Kart are fantastic-looking games running at a smooth 60 frames per second on this tiny little machine.
You can play Super Mario Galaxy in HD at 60 frames per second, much better than it ran on the Wii, and it looks perfect. Some games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild won’t be hitting 60 frames for you, but on the other hand Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, a game where there can be a ton of crap going on at once, runs at an extremely smooth 60FPS.
Third-party titles for the Switch can be a bit hit or miss. Though Skyrim is pretty well done, it’s also a nearly ten-year-old game at this point. The Witcher 3 has some serious downgraded graphics to get it working, but an entire game of The Witcher 3 on Switch, which is pretty cool.
Big games like The Witcher will be better to play in handheld mode as the reduced graphics mean they won’t look good on modern TVs by any means. The best-case scenario is to have a more powerful system for games like that.
The Switch is awesome for Nintendo titles and any game that isn’t too intensive. Still, when it comes to huge console titles like DOOM or Mortal Kombat or The Outer Worlds or ARK: Survival Evolved, those games tend to be plain out better on either PlayStation, Xbox, or even PC.
Those games I mentioned are completely playable on the Switch, some of them don’t perform very well, but they’re playable. But you desperately want them portably or only have the Switch to play with, then at least you have the option, and it’s not like every non-Nintendo 3D game runs poorly.
I found that older games are the Switch’s bread and butter. For example, Assassin’s Creed 3 and 4. I’ve not quite finished black flag on here yet, but I’ve put a good few hours into it, and it’s been a delightful experience on my Switch Light.
It runs quite similar to how it would have on my Xbox 360 back in 2013, except this time 100% portable.
It’s also the way to go if you’re a fan of co-op multiplayer games. If couch co-op is your thing, look no further than the Switch. Games like Super Smash Bros, Mario Party, Mario Kart, Mario Tennis, and so many more are sure to keep you and your friends entertained.
Some more games like The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Hyrule Warriors, and Breath of the Wild 2 are also coming.
Super Mario Maker 2, Yoshi’s Crafted World, Crash Bandicoot, Overcooked 2, Cuphead, Sonic Mania, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and Borderlands.
New Super Mario Bros: U Deluxe, which might have the most pointlessly long game title of all time.
Pokémon Sword and Shield, and let’s go Pikachu and Eevee, can’t forget those. The Switch is a must-have system if you’re a Pokémon fan as Nintendo has moved on from the 3Ds. The games are amazing, and that’s what the Switch does so well.
You also may need to consider getting Nintendo online if you want to play anything online. Although, it’s worth mentioning that Fortnight doesn’t require Nintendo online.
I wanted to mention that game specifically because it’s a very popular game on the Switch. But if there’s a different game you want to play online, you’re in luck because Nintendo online is pretty darn cheap at only 20 dollars for an entire year with an individual membership.
This also gives you access to a pretty decent library of classic original Nintendo and Super Nintendo games, which is a pretty great added benefit.
It may not have the best hardware, and it isn’t pumping out 4k like the PS5, but it has enjoyable and fun gameplay, including many titles by Nintendo that you just straight up can’t play anywhere else.
Gamers also buy the Switch for the games, not only for the portability.
Everything else could be mediocre about this console, and it wouldn’t even matter because the games are just that good, and luckily the Switch isn’t mediocre, although it does have its flaws.
The hardware was always going to age poorly compared to most consoles due to it being more of a mobile device and the graphical fidelity and power pills compared to the next generation of consoles.
There have always been rumors of a Nintendo Switch Pro coming. One that could support 4k gaming, but this hasn’t happened yet. Nintendo’s been squeamish about saying anything about it, and there’s not a lot to signal that could be happening anytime soon.
Even if they release, it’d be significantly more expensive. So, for that reason alone, I wouldn’t really worry about it.
Buy the Switch when you’re ready, and if they ever have a better model, you could always sell your current console and upgrade to the new one.
Just as said before, make sure you get the Red box model. This is essential unless you’re into home brewing and hacking your system, in which case you do need to get the older Switch.
But for most people, the Red box Switch has better battery life and a slightly brighter display. So it’s very much worth it, and at this point, it’s the only system most stores will carry as the old one has long been out of circulation.
The other big flaw of the Switch has to be the battery life. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. I have the original Whitebox Switch, which has a significantly worse battery.
The Whitebox model at max can get you six and a half hours of gaming. These are the numbers from Nintendo, and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that many hours. But of course, it will vary greatly depending on especially what game you’re playing.
For example, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will run the battery harder than many other games, but the Redbox model apparently can get you up to 9 hours, which is undoubtedly a big improvement.
However, even with the newer Switch, if you plan on playing portably regularly, it’s a good idea to keep a charger within reach just in case.
Of course, the major point of contention with the majority of Switch owners is Joycon drift. Joy-con drift hasn’t affected everybody, but it has affected me. So, we will get to it but first, let’s cover the controllers.
Joycons are fantastic. They slide on and off the console smoothly, and the Switch comes with a controller grip, so you can slide them onto that and use them more as a regular controller.
You can also purchase a grip with a battery built into it to charge the Joycons while you play. There are various accessories available for you to purchase.
You also have the option of the Switch pro controller, which is a lot more similar to an Xbox controller and, to me, feels like the best way to play games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
So, Joycons are fine, but I find them to be a little bit small, and the pro controller seems more comfortable. Either way, it’s up to you. That’s just me personally.
Unfortunately, nothing for the Switch is cheap. Joycons cost around the US $80. The pro controller cost around $70.
The price jump for Joycons might seem odd until you remember that Joycons can technically be used as separate controllers. They come with these bumper things to slide on if you’d like and turning the controller horizontally.
Then you can play Mario Kart or whatever multiplayer game with your friends without needing to buy a whole bunch of controllers. So, if you want to play most four-player games, buy the Switch, then buy another single pair of Joycons, and you’re golden.
I got to say, though, the fact that Joycons can be two controllers is incredible, and it’s one of the best things about the Switch, adding yet another reason why this system is by far the best for co-op gaming.
Unfortunately, Joycons aren’t perfect. Joycon Drift has been an issue that has plagued the Switch forever, and while it doesn’t happen for everyone, it is very common.
Essentially what drift is when the controller acts as if the joystick is moving in a direction when you’re not moving it at all, so it just moves by itself?
This is especially noticeable in competitive games like super smash brothers. Sometimes it’s subtle, but then there have been times where my guy just straight up would move the wrong direction.
This could be due to dust and debris getting into the controller or heavy use. Unfortunately, this issue is way too common, and it’s not an easy fix.
Nintendo does fix this for free if you contact them, but I cannot confirm as I’ve never tried it.
Verdict: Worth it!
Beyond that, I have no real gripe with the Nintendo Switch. It isn’t perfect, but it’s darn near close. Portable gaming has never been better than it is in 2021, and I’m so excited to see what comes next.
So, is the Nintendo Switch worth buying? Absolutely! Without a doubt. Should you buy the Switch lite instead to save some money? Again, in the vast majority of cases, I’d say no.
Only get the light if you’re 100% dead set on never wanting to play the Switch on your TV.
Will the Switch be obsolete in the near future? No, I don’t believe it will. At least from Nintendo, the games are very well optimized, and the Switch has sold just way too well for Nintendo to move on anytime soon.
So, Should you buy the Nintendo Switch? Well, it might be worth it in a general sense. But it is up to you. It’s not going to be for everyone, especially with the option of the PS5 now and the Xbox series X.
If you want a more powerful machine, those are the ones to go for. But if you like portable gaming and Nintendo games, the Switch is a no-brainer.
The games I like on Switch are The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which was just an awesome game, Super Mario Odyssey, which was a lot of fun. And Super Smash Brothers, which I’ve just played for hours and hours with friends.
Overall, the Switch for me has been just a great experience.