We got more hands-on time with the Nintendo Switch at PAX South
by on February 2, 2017

Earlier this month, we shared the Nintendo Switch experiences of several team members who attended events in London, Melbourne, and Tokyo. This weekend Nintendo brought the Switch to PAX South in San Antonio, Texas, and a couple more of our team members had the opportunity to spend some time with the Switch.

Alexander Trevino

@TrainerTrevino, Assistant Media Director

The demo at PAX South is the same demo we have seen repeatedly since E3 2016.

The Zelda demo at PAX South is the same demo we have seen repeatedly since E3 2016.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild demo was, for me, “the same.” I played the same demo at E3 2016, so it wasn’t as exciting this time. However, I can see a significant difference in the lighting and graphics when played on the Switch. Everything just looks better: the scenery, the enemies, even the old man.

The demo is much shorter than the E3 demo, so I didn’t get very far. I didn’t even make it into a shrine this time. So, I’m looking forward to playing the full game.

Playing in handheld mode on the Switch is really cool. The graphics look sharp. The whole game just feels better on Switch than it does on WiiU.

Next, I played Super Bomberman R. I’ve played many other Bomberman games, and this one felt just like it should. It’s a lot of fun with multiple people. I got blown up a lot.

1-2-Switch was definitely much more fun than I expected. It’s just a collection of fun quirky games; I think everyone who played it had a great time! The games I played implemented the HD rumble well; I was able to get a feel for it in my own hands. The technology in the Joy-Cons is more complex than I gave it credit for. Despite having fun, I’m not planning to buy 1-2-Switch for retail price.

Splatoon 2 is about the same as Splatoon. If you’ve played Splatoon before, it’s easy to pick it up again now. The demo only allowed us to play with gyro controls. I think the controls work fine, but it’s clear that others were frustrated. It will be nice to have the option to turn them off in the final release.


“The hardware is smaller than I expected. And it’s shiny!”

Overall, my Switch experience was pretty positive. The hardware is smaller than I expected; it felt very nice to hold. And it’s shiny! I’m not yet convinced that I should spend the money to buy a Switch at launch, but I’m definitely planning to buy one before the holiday season.

Joshua Lindquist

@WatcherJoshua, Guides Director

The Switch hardware is much smaller and more portable than I expected. I was doubtful that I would ever take the console outside my home, but after holding it in my hands I think I might. The screen is not significantly larger than some cell phones!

After playing 1-2-Switch, I am still not convinced that the $50 price tag is justified, but the game is a lot of fun to play. It may be even more fun to watch others play. The three games I played — Quick Draw, Milk, and Ball Count –were all fun, but Ball Count was the most impressive. Ball Count puts the HD rumble features of the Joy-Con on full display, and this simple minigame proves how well it works. It really felt as if I was holding a box full of marbles.


“Ball Count puts the HD rumble features of the Joy-Con on full display. It really felt as if I was holding a box full of marbles.”

Splatoon 2 will please fans of the series, and I’m sure I’ll pick it up myself, but the demo didn’t feel like a new game. The only notable difference present in the demo that was not in the original game is the map. The Switch does not have a second screen like the Wii U, so the map and quick jump ability work differently. The new solution works, but it felt less intuitive to me. The Pro Controller feels good, and the gyro aiming works well with the Pro Controller, but it’s still not for me. I will definitely be turning off the motion controlled gyro aiming.

Snipperclips was more interesting than I expected. I heard a lot of buzz about the game before the event, but I didn’t realize understand what it was. After playing it with a friend, I’m interested in playing it more. It left a good impression.

The most surprising game I played was Arms. The motion controls work extremely well and they are surprisingly complex. A short tutorial taught me all the basics, but I quickly realized how much more I could do when I started a real match. Others have called it a more strategic version of Wii Sports‘ boxing game, and I have to agree. It’s also a lot more fun than Wii Sports Boxing ever was. I will be keeping my eye on Arms.

The game I was most excited to try was Super Bomberman R. I loved playing Bomberman games as a kid, and after playing Super Bomberman R, I was not disappointed. I don’t see anything ground breaking about the title, but I loved playing it and plan to make it my second purchase, after Zelda.

Surprisingly, I am going to agree with Alex and say that Breath of the Wild was not the highlight of my day, but that’s primarily because I played the same demo for a couple hours at E3 2016 and little (if anything) has changed. The game is still gorgeous and a ton of fun to play; I’m looking forward to playing the final game very soon. The shorter 20-minute demo is too short to really get much done, so I just explored the Great Plateau and beat up some Bokoblins. I did find a hidden Korok, so that was neat.

Breath of the Wild was the only time that the switching capability of the Switch was put on display. About halfway through the demo, I was instructed to remove the Switch from the dock and continue playing. The transition is seamless, and the game runs beautifully in handheld mode. The Switch hardware felt great in my hands; it’s incredible that such a large game will be playable on the go.

Joshua Lindquist
Joshua is the content director of Zelda Universe and long-time executive of Zelda Wiki who previously founded Zelda Relic. Wielding an undying passion for Zelda, he works behind-the-scenes to build collaboration in the Zelda community.