Is the Switch now perfect for third-parties?
William Channel uses his own experiences to tell us if the Switch is now perfect for third-parties?
Early last month, I found my honeymoon period with Breath of the Wild beginning to wane.
I’d done a lot. Finished the story, run through most of the shrines, explored almost every inch of the map. The charm was still lingering, but my drive had left me.
So I bought Shovel Knight and started playing. I liked it a lot but wanted something a bit less precision-based, so I picked up I Am Setsuna. It became part of my nightly, end of day ritual to play a bit of the snowy RPG before bed. Then, I needed something more logical, and Puyo Puyo Tetris proved a pretty great answer to this. These were games I had missed when they were first released. Now, there’s no easier way to play them than on my Switch.
Over time, my characterization of the Switch has become a little different. While to many it’s been a Zelda and Mario Kart machine, to me it’s turned into a way to do some catch-up. Those titles I mentioned are small, sometimes intimate games. They’re great, but perhaps not on consoles when there are so many other, weighty titles released for home systems.
In some ways, it feels like a hard reset in the way Nintendo has treated third party support in the past. The past couple of consoles have had a weird gimmick, and have run the gamut from being flush with shovelware, or barren in releases. Not only are they giving game makers a more straightforward process, they’re pushing a product with a great (maybe dangerous?) trick: there’s never a reason not to be playing the Switch. It’ll always be near you if you want it to be. Moving between modes is simple, and just works. That in itself is worth a lot to consumers.
For a Nintendo fan, this unification of both the home and portable side of the company is a dream come true. But for everyone else, the Switch could prove to be the most desirable place for multi-platform games. Some folks will likely value being able to take FIFA from a TV onto their commute over a story mode. There will likely be folks who play certain games entirely in one mode over the other. And the early success of the Switch has likely bolstered the enthusiasm for the console among game companies.
“While to many it’s been a Zelda and Mario Kart machine, to me it’s turned into a way to do some catch-up”
I had been interested in I Am Setsuna, but it seemed odd to play that game on a console. The wintery tone of the game lends itself less to playing it on a couch eight feet away, and more to curling up with it under a blanket. The Switch makes room for both styles of play.
In that way, the Switch has done a fantastic job of hammering home its dual nature. Whether Nintendo’s third party support stays in the long-term, those developers that do stick around will give players the chance to experience games the way that feels good to them. I have to imagine that alone will win a few people over.
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