Impressions: Fortnite on Switch – Not the Optimal Experience

When I decided to give battle royale style games a try, I started out with Epic Games’ Fortnite. The game was enjoyable, and I had a few good sessions. I am not the best at shooters of any kind, but I did have a bit of fun playing Fortnite.

For those who do not know, Fortnite is a battle royale type shooter. The game features cartoon like graphics, and pits 100 players against each other. Last one standing wins. What separates Fortnite from other shooters of this type is the ability to build. Players are able to gather resources and use them to create different structures, which can be used to gain the upper hand on an opponent.

The game has recently made its way to the Nintendo Switch. Though the title is on a new platform, it is just more of the same game that many have experienced before, though with a few drawbacks.

The Good

Good Controls – When a PC game transfers over to a console, how the controls transfer over to a controller can be a concern. Fortunately for the Switch version of Fortnite, the controls transition over quite well.

It was easy to switch between items and weapons, bring up the map and mark positions, and loot to your heart’s content. There was a learning curve, and I did have to get used to the controls. But after you figure it out, things go along smoothly. It is also easy to bring up the ability to build structures. I had no problem switching between structure blueprints and the materials that I was going to use to build. When playing a game that can get pretty heated up fast, it is nice for the controls to be able to keep up.

The Bad

Fluctuating Framerate – I am not very picky when it comes to a games’ framerate. Whether a game is 30 fps or 60 does not matter much. What does bother me, however, is when the framerate fluctuates.

While playing Fortnite on the Switch, there were times when the framerate would decide to start dropping. It would be fine when looting and exploring the map. Then things would heat up, and the fps would start to drop. This made it hard to properly fortify, and at times fight back. It can be frustrating to lose not because of a difference in skill, but because the game was not operating like it should at that critical moment.

Not Optimal for Handheld Mode – One of the first things that I did after downloading Fortnite was try the game in handheld mode. I quickly learned that it is not the best way to play the title.

The small screen made it hard to make things out. In the menus, the text was often times hard to make out, as the lettering was so small on the Switch’s screen. I sometimes pressed the wrong button because I could not make the letters out right. It also makes things hard when trying to look into the distance. Opponents who are far off are incredibly hard to see, let alone shoot. It made the experience harder than it should have been. This was a shame, as one of the main points of having a Switch is to play in handheld mode while away from a television.

Preliminary Thoughts

Overall, there are better ways to play Fortnite. If you have access to a PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One, play the game on one of those. This is not a comment on the game itself; the game can be quite enjoyable, especially when playing with friends. It just does not translate very well onto the Switch. The lack of graphical power brings the experience down, and not being able to play on the go due to the Switch’s small screen defeats the purpose of having a game on the console. The game is enjoyable, just not on the Switch.

Fortnite is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, mobile, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One.

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