Only the most jaded of Nintendo detractors— or the biggest Xbox and/or PlayStation fanboys— at this point can still deny that the Nintendo Switch is here to stay and is a legitimate member of the current console generation. In fact, as the best-selling console in the U.S. for all of 2018, in addition to the various other sales records the Switch has broken since its release, even the cold hard numbers can't dispute the reality that Nintendo is back and is still at the top of its game.
As the Switch approaches its second birthday, it has amassed a pretty respectable library of games already, arguably one of the strongest that any 21st-century console has had at this point in its lifespan. Covering pretty much every major genre— action, adventure, RPG, strategy, fighting, first-person shooter, racing, sports, party, and more— the Switch's library has something for every type of gamer. The question is: Is every type of gamer playing their Switch games in the most effective way possible?
Obviously, if you are looking for in-depth tips for a specific Switch game, we encourage you to research said game and find the guides dedicated to them. But if you just want to polish up your skills for Switch's best games as whole, we believe this list covering common gameplay mistakes and misguided strategies for fourteen of the system's key exclusives (and more) is a good start to becoming a well-rounded owner of Nintendo's latest home console.
Here are 20 Things Nintendo Switch Players Don't Know They're Doing Wrong.
20 Avoiding The Heavy Fighters (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate)
While the larger characters in Super Smash Bros. games— Bowser, DK, etc— have always had their fans, for the most part, high-level players tend to avoid them. On top of slow movement speed and low agility, their mass simply makes them too big a target.
All of that has changed for Ultimate, as not only does the game's overall increase in speed make the heavy fighters also move more quickly, but the developers have actively worked to make the big guys better-balanced among the roster and a few noted tournament-level Smash players are singing their praises and placing them high up in tier lists. So, if you're the type of player who automatically skips over the heavy fighters in Smash, be sure you give them a chance in Ultimate— you might find a heavy becomes one of your new mains.
19 Getting Too Fancy With Cooking (Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
One of the facets of Breath of the Wild that is largely left to player discovery and experimentation is cooking, and it can feel like a lot. But don't sweat it— a lot of players spend way more time on the cooking system than is necessary.
It's fine if you just enjoy the process of trying to find rare ingredients and use them to create unique recipes. But if you're only interested in cooking as a means of getting the most effective meals, there's no reason to bother with fancy ingredients or special dishes. Simply cooking a handful of basic ingredients will typically get you all the hearts, elemental protection, and stamina boosting that you need. Sure, this doesn't really do much buffing, but when you have an inventory full of meals that instantly give you 20+ hearts, who needs buffs?
18 Overlooking The Usefulness Of Repels (Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee)
Even though they are essentially just enhanced versions of Pokémon Yellow— which in and of itself was basically an enhanced version of Pokémon Red/Blue— doesn't change the fact that Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee are still technically the first mainline Pokémon games released for a console, something that is way overdo.
Like any RPG, the Pokémon: Let's Go games have a number of items that seem useless or unimportant and will go overlooked by many players. One such type of item are Repels, but those can be more useful than players realize, especially later on in the game. Using Repels to move around boulders in later environments can prove invaluable to giving yourself some space to move more freely around and look for Pokémon to nab. So stock up on all types of Repels early on; you won't regret it.
17 Not Playing In Detached Joy-Con Mode (Super Mario Odyssey)
When Nintendo was first promoting the Switch, the company made a big deal about how versatile the system's control methods were going to be, with a variety of different ways to combine or separate the Joy-Cons. So why, then, does Super Mario Odyssey seem to spend forever convincing you to play it in detached Joy-Con mode every single time you boot up the game?
It's because that's the best way to play it. While motion controls are largely scoffed at by hardcore gamers— thanks in large part to Nintendo itself— they shouldn't be taken for granted in Odyssey. Many of the games more complex maneuvers, especially those involving Cappy, can only be done with motion controls, and are much more difficult (if not impossible) to pull off if the Joy-Cons are attached in single controller mode.
16 Skipping The Story Mode (Splatoon 2)
Like a lot of games whose main draw is its online multiplayer modes, Splatoon 2 has a story mode of sorts that many players skip right on over and never even give it a second thought. This is especially understandable given that the story mode in the first game wasn't really much to write home about.
However, Splatoon 2's Hero Mode, which takes place in Octo Canyon, is much deeper and more satisfying. But beyond just being a mode that is actually worth playing because it's fun, Hero Mode not only helps you learn advanced techniques but also allows you to unlock reward boosts for the multiplayer modes. So people who play through Hero Mode get a legitimate leg up on their competition online.
15 Not Unlocking The Secondary Jobs (Octopath Traveler)
Octopath Traveler is designed to not only mimic the look of old-school JRPGs but also the play style— for better and for worse. One thing the game carries over from its classic roots is that it doesn't bother explaining a lot of its own aspects, counting on players to figure things out on their own through experimentation or trial and error.
There are several things that the game doesn't make explicitly clear, including the fact that characters all have secondary jobs that can be unlocked after gaining their primary job. Eight of the secondary jobs are opened up by finding and beating their corresponding shrine, and the other four require beating late-game bosses. But it's well worth it as it drastically increases the power and effectiveness of all of the game's playable characters.
14 Not Mastering The Shield Parry System (Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
As with everything else in Breath of the Wild, combat is open-ended and allows for a wide variety of different strategies. Overall, there isn't really a "right" or "wrong" way to fight so long as the method you've settled on is working for you. However, if shield parrying isn't a steady fixture in your battle plan, you might want to reconsider working it in.
Defense is more important in BotW than it has been in any previous Zelda game, and most players just take that to mean the game's dodge/flurry attack set-up. And while that is certainly effective, it's not only rough on your weapons but it doesn't do much good against distance attacks. Parrying, on the other hand, is effective against both close and long-range enemies and attacks, and skilled players can even parry a Guardian's laser blast!
13 Only Spamming Punches (Arms)
Arms didn't really end up making a huge impact on the Nintendo Switch, but it sold decently well and has a fair amount of fans out there who still play it, probably because they know there is a lot more to it than most people realize.
Perhaps letting their muscle memory of the boxing mode from Wii Sports take over, a lot of people who play Arms for the first time think that they're supposed to just spam the punch button and try to wail away on their opponents. Not only does that get old fast, but it doesn't prove very effective. Those that take the time to learn the game's complexities, from its throws and dodges to its use of the environments for strategy, have found the game a lot deeper and more fun than they previously assumed.
12 Neglecting Rear View Mode (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe)
Everyone has their personal favorite Mario Kart game, but it's hard to argue against the case that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the objectively best installment in history. It speaks to just how great the Wii U original was to begin with that it was ported to Switch with fairly minimal enhancements and instantly found a whole new audience and massive sales.
One thing that a lot of people take for granted in MK8 Deluxe is that being proactive rather than reactive to what your opponents are doing is one of the key components to victory. To that end, people just completely forget that there is a handy rear view button that lets you see what is going on behind you. Once checking your rear view becomes second nature, you'll be astounded at home much your performance improves.
11 Not Using Luigi's Balloon Hunt To Farm For Coins (Super Mario Odyssey)
One of the things that keeps lapsed Super Mario Odyssey players coming back are the added outfits that Nintendo has slowly been rolling out over the last year or so. But the now nearly fifty different costumes that Mario can wear in the game are not cheap— some cost as much as 9,999 coins.
Naturally, this has gotten players to figure out the best places in the game to farm coins quickly. But since the introduction of Luigi's Balloon Hunt, there's no reason to farm any other way. The amount of coins you get for each balloon found increases as you get streaks going, and you can easily max out the coin counter in five or ten minutes if you get a good enough streak going. There is no faster or easier (legitimate) method of amassing coins in the game.
10 Ignoring The Special Dice (Super Mario Party)
Super Mario Party feels like the culmination of the best parts of the series up to this point. But that isn't to say that the game doesn't have plenty of new tricks up its sleeve, from the Rhythm Heaven-esque music minigames to the co-op river rafting mode.
The addition to Super Mario Party that arguably has the biggest impact on the core gameplay itself is, ironically, the feature that is most often overlooked— the special dice. In addition to the standard 1-6 dice, each characters has his or her own unique dice that has various special sides, from earning coins instead of moving, to numbers that exceed seven. Conversely, many dice also have negative elements, so it's a risk/reward system. But it spices up the standard Mario Party gameplay in a really interesting way, and players shouldn't ignore it.
9 Always Using The Same Team (Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle)
One of the early pleasant surprises in the Switch's lineup was Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. The questionable premise ended up being an extremely fun and shockingly deep strategy game that still remains among the console's best titles.
As Kingdom Battle is a lot of players' first taste of this style of game, people quickly felt like it was too much as it only takes it easy on you for a few levels before really ramping up in difficulty. And one of the most common mistakes that novice players make is only using/buying weapons for the same three-man team over and over, which keeps the benched teammates under-powered and ill-equipped. Later levels require the talents of specific characters, so it's in your best interest to have everyone in top shape for when they need to be called into battle.
8 Playing In TV Mode (Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker)
With barely 14 million consoles shipped in the Wii U's entire lifespan, Nintendo's gimmicky half-step to what it would eventually get right with the Switch is one of the company's most expensive mistakes.
That isn't to say that the Wii U didn't have good games, and luckily, Nintendo has been porting a lot of them to the Switch so that they actually have a chance to find an audience. The quirky Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is one such game that deserved a second chance on the Switch. However, as the game was heavily built around the Wii U tablet's touch screen, it's best played in the Switch's tablet mode as well since playing in on the TV means having to use motion controls to clumsily roll a giant hand around the screen to press in-game buttons and the like.
7 Trying To Tackle Challenges With A One-Man Party (Xenoblade Chronicles 2)
Beginning with the Wii, Nintendo has taken a lot of flack in the last few console generations for supposedly abandoning hardcore gamers and only appealing to more casual consumers. Of course, anyone who says that simply isn't paying attention to Nintendo-published games like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 that is as "hardcore" as any Xbox One or PlayStation 4 game.
Xeno 2 pulls no punches in its classic JRPG difficulty, including stretches of the game where the story forces you to play with only one member of your team. That said, players need to resist the temptation to do too much while the team is separated, as trying to tackle challenges and side dungeons with a single character is unnecessary. Just keep working through the story until your party's inevitable return before trying to do any difficult side content.
6 Focusing On "Splats" Instead Of Inking The Environment (Splatoon 2)
Many people refer too Splatoon 2 as a "shooter," which is fine for brevity's sake— but that shortsighted label has also led to a lot of people playing the game the wrong way, to the detriment of both their teammates and to the spirit of the game itself.
The primary objective in a normal match for Splatoon 2 is to have painted more of the playing area with your team's colored ink than the other side has. Taking out your opponents directly is still possible and sometimes a necessary component of victory, but it should never be the focus. Far too many people try to play the game like they'd play a traditional shooter and just rack up "splats" for their own satisfaction, which isn't really the point and only hurts the experience for everyone else.
5 Not Utilizing Quick Save (New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe)
Even with Super Mario Odyssey being one of the best Mario games of all time, there's still a certain itch that only a 2D Mario game can scratch. And while it's not quite a proper substitute for a brand new game, bringing an enhanced port of New Super Mario Bros. U to the Switch certainly helps.
Nintendo likes to keep things a bit more old-school with its 2D Mario titles, including forcing players to beat a castle before they can save. At least, that's how it seems— a lot of people don't realize that the game has a Quick Save option that lets you save after any level and return to that spot next time you play, thereby erasing the Quick Save. It's a nice modern concession to a very old-fashioned gaming conceit.
4 Not Re-Mapping The Buttons (Any Six-Button Fighting Game)
Having four main face buttons has become the standard for console controllers, and the Switch is no exception as it has that set up no matter what controller configuration you use. It works perfectly with just about every style of game— that is, with the exception of fighting games that are built around six attack buttons.
For reasons unknown, the default controller layout for such games on a four-button system is to have the face buttons be the respective light and medium punches and kicks, with the heavy attacks relegated to shoulder buttons. However, what you'll want to do for Ultra Street Fighter II, Street Fighter Anniversary Collection, or any other Switch game with such a layout is to re-map the controls so that the face buttons are medium and heavy and the less-used light attacks are on the shoulders.
3 Not Searching The World Map For Stars (Kirby Star Allies)
Some Kirby games completely shake up the mechanics of the series and do something drastically different, while others stick pretty close to what constitutes a traditional Kirby game. Kirby Star Allies falls into the latter camp, but that isn't necessarily a criticism in and of itself— it's one of the better "traditional" Kirby games in a long time, and the only one with four-player co-op where all four players actually feel important and useful.
Still, Kirby Star Allies isn't without its innovations, including being able to freely move about the world maps rather than just following a linear path. And move freely you should, as the world maps also contain extra stars for the taking that'll help you get a leg up later on when collecting stars in the levels themselves gets much more difficult.
2 Not Tricking On Every Jump (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe)
One of the more criticized Mario Kart entries is the one for Wii, in large part because the game was so heavily built around motion controls that it led to levels designed more to allow for motion-based gimmickry than tight, exciting gameplay. In fact, very few of the new elements introduced in Mario Kart Wii lasted beyond that installment, exception for one that people often forget about to their detriment.
Mario Kart Wii introduced the ability to "trick" off of jumps, which beyond looking cool also gave you a speed boost upon landing. As this has carried into MK8 Deluxe, it is absolutely crucial to trick off of every single jump or even brief period of going airborne if you want to guarantee victory at higher levels of play.
1 Dodging Too Much (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate)
True to its title, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate represents the culmination of the knowledge gained from 20 years of people playing the series. This not only means that the developers have addressed and improved upon what people have seen as the series' faults, but they've also decided to "punish" players who have been relying too much on various tactics in previous games.
One type of player that is going to need a serious alteration to their strategy is those who are all about dodging, as Ultimate has introduced an evasion penalty that has the dodge animation visibly slow down with repeated use, making it less effective and more vulnerable to enemy reaction. So, if you've been a dodging fool in the past, you're going to need to come up with some new defensive strategies for Ultimate.