1-2 Switch is the tech demo you need to show people why the Switch is different and why you bought it, and it should have come included.
When Nintendo released the original Wii, it did something special and tapped into the market in a way no other console had ever. Skeptics thought its limited button motion controllers were a gimmick and nail in the coffin for the Big N after the disappointing GameCube, but they were oh so wrong. At least, at first.
The Wii sold like hot cakes, but many users didn't buy into many other games beyond a few Nintendo exclusives and the mega popular pack-in game Wii Sports which to this day is one of the best selling console games of all-time. Wii Sports was unique, simple, fun, and brought something other consoles just didn't have. More importantly for Nintendo and its consumer base, it showcased what the Nintendo Wii can do as a motion-focused platform.
That's basically what 1-2 Switch is for the Nintendo Switch with two major differences: it's disappointingly not packed in with the Switch bundles, and it's not as fun.
Upon starting 1-2 Switch, players are given a limited selection of two-player experiences and after playing a few, unlock the main game modes. There's a shuffle play that selects activities at random and players can simply pick what they wish to play one at a time. The main game mode though is the 'team battle.' The gameplay always involves 1 vs. 1 scenarios with one Joy-Con for each player and there's a brief tutorial involving live-action actors demonstrating the gameplay in full cosplay (you're encouraged to dress up!).
Players are also encouraged to make their own 'house rules' and can sub players in whenever they wish. The 'team battle' mode is what 1-2 Switch is really about, as it blends the party mini-games with a board game progression structure where the winning team 'rolls' to move up, while the game does its best to keep things even. In the end, it's just a way or organizing the mini-games into a fun and competitive way to play through a bunch of them. For the most part, each mini-game showcases something different, whether it be slowly rotating a Joy-Con to simulate the little tick vibrations of unlocking a safe, dancing to a rhythm, moving it in a hand to feel how many marbles are 'in' the controller, sword fighting, playing quickdraw, and yes, milking a cow!
1-2 Switch is an excellent proof of concept for showcasing the hardware capabilities of the Nintendo Switch platform, or more specifically, its unique and compact Joy-Con controllers, and its mini-games mostly work as intended. The game doesn't really need a TV either since since most of the 28 mini-games included involve looking directly at an opponent, with each player having one Joy-Con each. For this reason, the Switch as a standalone tablet can be brought around as a role-playing game of sorts that can be experienced with large groups. It's the Switch's essential party game and really, partying may be the only way to really enjoy it if you're not a toddler because it's intentionally over-the-top and extremely cringe-worthy with its mini-game offerings and corny live-action tutorials.
Are you ready to shake your hips down a catwalk, run on the spot, milk a cow, or pretend-shoot your significant other? 1-2 Switch does all of these and more and requires the right mindset. You need to really throw yourself into the goofiness of the experience to find enjoyment, and with a few drinks (which Nintendo is clearly emphasizing in their 1-2 Switch marketing) or enthusiastic kids, you'll have a blast!
But then you'll probably not play again.
1-2 Switch doesn't have staying power. Like a lot of VR experiences, you play it once to show someone and then you and that person won't be coming back since there's not much to it beyond using it as a showcase piece. It's a collection of gimmicks and there's no longevity or single-player component. After an evening, there's little there to replay and so it sits on the shelf like a rarely used board game. It should have come included.
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More: Nintendo Switch Review
This is the first Nintendo video game in which players compete in fun activities while staring into each other’s eyes instead of at the TV screen. From Wild West gunslinging to copying each other’s dance moves, the games in 1-2-Switch make creative use of a broad variety of Nintendo Switch features to liven up parties with anyone, anywhere, at any time. 1-2-Switch will be available alongside the Nintendo Switch system on its launch day in March.