Wii Sports helped promote the Wii, allowing people to understand the ideas behind the console and encouraging people to play with friends and family. As such, it proved the benefit of a key release that demonstrates the features of a new console. Nintendo may have failed to properly communicate this with the Wii U and Nintendo Land, but they have certainly come back stronger with the key game of their newest console, 1-2 Switch.
Nintendo proves time and again that they understand the nature of games. Their constant focus with their consoles and their games is the fun value and this element is on display at its best with 1-2 Switch. This game is all about the benefits of playing with another person, to face one another without the boundaries and restrictions created by common game practices and, instead, to face each other directly and watch each other's movements.
Want to feel awkward while playing a game? Well, you may find a way with 1-2 Switch, as it is one of the most awkward experiences that can be played. As you do an activity getting told to “look deep into each other’s eyes” is incredibly uncomfortable. Yet this experience is also part of the game's appeal - you are given tasks to perform that continually alter the gameplay.
Despite its obvious focus on being a proof of concept, 1-2 Switch is a fun game to play. However, there is nothing that will make people want to come back past initial play sessions, and the game's limited accessibility for single players hinders its value. 1-2 Switch is a game that will quickly be forgotten as much greater multiplayer experiences come. But for now, 1-2 Switch has the potential to make people smile with its unique fun and awkward gameplay.
1-2 Switch features twenty eight different activities for players to enjoy, with most of them taking only two minutes maximum to complete. From the highly advertised quick draw and cow milking, to other oddities including safe cracking and runway walking, there is no shortage of game options offering their own sense of fun, even if it is just to put a smile on someone’s face.
Each activity begins with a charming tutorial video. In these you get to see real people performing the actions for the game (and they are clearly having fun). These tutorials explain each games' concept well and also offer a good laugh. The tutorial actor's enjoyment is intoxicating, adding to the joy that comes when you start up each game.
The main function of 1-2 Switch is, similar to Wii Sports and the Wii, to show off how the controls technology can be implemented into different gaming experiences. This is apparent from a selection of these games.
"Ball Count" has the player moving the Joy-Con to simulate balls moving in a box with the controller rumbling whenever they hit the edge. Similarly, in "Sneaky Dice" the controller rumbles to indicate the number that your opponent rolled. These games do a great job at telegraphing these mechanics and how they can be used in different ways.
"HD Rumble" offers more humorous demonstrations that embrace the games quirky nature. "Shave" has two players using the Joy-Cons to win a shaving competition with the controller rumbling to indicate each hair removed being removed. "Soda Shake" has you shaking up a bottle and passing it between players, giving similar rumble feedback.
1-2 Switch is at its strongest when it embraces its motion controls and players' imagination. "Sword Fight" tasks players with an imaginary sword fight in which they block each other’s swings by thrusting the controllers in different directions. "Wizard" is reminiscent of the final duel in Harry Potter as players try to force their magic stream towards each other.
The best element of 1-2 Switch is that there is value in playing each game multiple times over, even if it is not the most exciting one. Each game is enjoyable and inspires you to embrace your silly side, whether walking an imaginary runway or having a dance off.
Just for the simple pleasure of a smile, each game will make you want to play again to see if you can do better. 1-2 Switch will work best at parties with its zany activities that require interpersonal interaction or acting silly.
Multiplayer is the main part of 1-2 Play, but there are two exceptions that, nonetheless, maintain the game's quirks. "Baby" is one of the more unique games that manages to be any parent’s worst nightmare. In this game you need to cradle the Switch console with the Joy-cons and try to rock a baby to sleep, infuriating crying included. However, for most people who have tried to console a baby in their life this game may feel unnatural without the ability to perform a back rub and gentle hushing.
The other single-player game is "Eating Contest". This game uses the sensor on the right Joy-Con to track the player’s mouth movements as they emulate eating. This and the baby game can be played alone, but players may still try to outdo each other.
There is satisfaction across all twenty eight games available within this package, and while 1-2 Switch will never reach the popularity of Wii Sports, the amount of smiles that will be born from this farfetched concept cannot be denied. In the long run this game identifies some of the Nintendo Switch’s key ideas to the public, which is great, but there are issues regarding 1-2 Switch's long-term appeal. This game feels like something that will be fun for a little while but won’t last longer than a couple of play sessions.