When 1-2 Switch was first announced I couldn’t help but remain optimistic. There have been so many times when Nintendo has showed something off where we didn’t comprehend the appeal or reason and then at launch we all collectively felt a wave of understanding all at once. Think about it. Do you remember what you thought when Nintendo said The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was going to be in 3D? Do you remember your thoughts when the DS was showed off loud and proud? Think about how you felt when Nintendo showed off Wii Sports. Exactly. And this is exactly why I held off on judging 1-2 Switch. Well, that and come on, let’s give things a chance. If there’s one thing gamers need to work on it’s getting a grip and giving things a chance. When Nintendo first announced 1-2 Switch I thought that it’d be a game that’s much more fun than it looks and it kind of is.
I couldn’t help but buy 1-2 Switch at launch. It showcases the technology and it looked like it’d be a lot of fun to play in between intense sessions of Breath of the Wild. In the two plus weeks since launch my Wife and I have put four or five hours into this mixed bag of mini-games and it’s been a pretty fun time for the most part. I can’t say it’s been mostly fun due to my opinion on the games by the numbers but with the good games it has been a great time. The quality for quantity ratio just isn’t there but there are definitely some good games and great fun to be had here. I’m not too disappointed thought because I felt the same way about Wii Sports and remember that very fondly. I barely touched most of the games on there and yet I never had so much fun bowling. Hell, my best memory from a bowling alley is from my eighth birthday party and even then it’s only because I received a Game Boy Color and Pokemon Blue Version from my parents. The quantity is absolutely not here but there is a fair amount of quality in this neat little package.
There are twenty eight games on 1-2 Switch and I will firmly stand behind thirteen of those games. Ten of them would fall under okay in my book. The remaining five I actually question why they were even included to begin with. Quick Draw is obviously one of the biggest draws. The commercials alone had me excited to play that one. Before you start to laugh, I gotta emphasize this so stick with me here. This game is actually really fun. It might look like a game of who can point at the other person first but the HD rumble and technology of the joy-con controllers actually make this a lot of fun. In typical Nintendo fashion, there’s beauty in the details. The magic is real with this one and I know it’s something we’ll pop in on occasion for some quick fun. I really hope they offer this mini-game separately because it’s too fun for people to miss out on.
Fake Draw is pretty similar and while it may not be as fun as Quick Draw, it’s still pretty fun. In this one, instead of simply yelling “Fire!”, the announcer will also yell out other words that start with ‘F’ and sound initially like ‘Fire’ in order to throw you off. If you act too quickly and on the wrong word then you lose, but if you hold on and wait for the correct word and shoot first you win. It’s not way different but it’s pretty fun still. We didn’t play this as long and don’t play it as often as it’s sister title, but it’s fun in short spurts here and there. It’s also pretty funny too because whatever word that’s yelled instead of fire gets its own image up on the screen.
Treasure Box is one of my favorites. It’s got a treasure chest suspended in the air by a metal chain that’s wrapped around it. You need to move the joy-con controller around in your hand to unravel the chain. It’s just like it sounds. You’re looking at how it’s tangled and moving the controller accordingly. It’s fun because of how well it works with the technology of the Switch. Playing this with a Wii remote would be ridiculous and pointless but that’s because the technology isn’t there to support the idea. This mini-game is fun and helps showcase technology that I’m looking forward to seeing how other developers and Nintendo utilize in other scenarios in the future.
Safe Crack has you opening a safe by twisting the controller in circles to feel the changes in the lock. It’ll feel a certain way (exactly how you’d imagine a real combination lock would feel actually) when you’re on one of the three correct spots and so you’ll know when to stop. Get all three before your opponent and you win. Again, this is more fun than it may sound and only because of how well the technology works. Sneaky Dice is a game with dice, numbers, and guessing and another favorite of mine. You’ll roll your dice but your opponent will know what you rolled based on how many times their controller vibrates. It’s their job to tell you if you should re-roll or keep your numbers. It’s your job to decide on if you believe them or if they’re trying to mislead you. This game’s a lot of fun and I know it’ll be something my Wife and I replay on occasion. It’s really fun for a few minutes or even ten minutes.
Signal Flag is fun but doesn’t quite reach the same heights. In this one, a female announcer will give you a direction to point your flag and it’s the correct direction. The male announcer will sometimes give you orders too but you need to do the opposite of what he says. They’re not very organized and perhaps shouldn’t work together but their strange work environment can sure cause some laughs for you and a friend. This one isn’t quite as fun as the previously mentioned titles but will still bring some laughs in short bursts for you and your group.
Okay. Here we go with another one that really won’t sound fun but once you try it, you’ll likely enjoy it. Joy-Con Rotation is exactly what it sounds like. Don’t worry–you’re not alone; I kept trying to dismiss it too and was one of the last games I tried. You set your controller on it’s side and pick it up with one hand and try to rotate it the most degrees without tilting it or moving it in any way other than rotating it in a circular pattern. This game reminds me of Operation because it requires patience, precision, and you’ll jump when you make a mistake. It’s hard not to get greedy and try to turn it farther and farther to get a higher number of degrees than your opponent and while the reward of victory is worth it, sometimes the pain of failure will hit you too.
Table Tennis is either a game you’ll love or hate but I can assure you that if you pay attention and listen to the sounds, you’ll be more likely to enjoy it. This game is just ping-pong but with one big catch: there’s no table or real visual cues. You’re serving and hitting the ball but it’s all on auditory cues. If you’re playing in a loud environment this won’t work as good which of course can go against the very intended nature of these games. With a few people though, you’ll likely be able to hear it well enough and it’ll be a lot of fun. I was bad at this at first but after my Wife beat me enough times I started to play closer attention and then our victories seemed to go back and forth more.
Eating Contest is another one that was prominent in advertisements and for good reason too. This one is a lot of fun but I couldn’t help but think of the Kinect and some of its better offerings. This game is fun when it works. I had a bit of trouble getting the sensor on the right joy-con lined up with my mouth correctly at first but I will say that once you learn how to hold it, it’s easy to do from that point on. This one is a lot of fun and will be sure to bring in laughs at your social gathering. My record is about eight sandwiches but I’m sure with how often we will be revisiting this title my record will improve over time.
Wizard (who’s naming these?) was in the Super Bowl ad and I can see why. It’s easy to pick up. It’s fun. It’s satisfying. Like the wizard duels in the Harry Potter films, you’re throwing a stream of energy at your opponent and duking it out. This one is surface level fun but it’s easy, fun, and will get you moving.
Swordfight features blocking, hacking, and slashing and it’s both fun and satisfying. This one works really well too and there wasn’t one time something didn’t line up or fail to respond correctly on our movements. It’s a really fun game that has you and your opponent chip away at each other’s health while also trying to block and protect your own health. There’s not much to it but it works well and is fun to play again and again.
There’s also two on-your-feet style games that I really enjoyed. Dance off and Copy Dance both put smiles on my face. Copy Dance has you doing specific movements with your opponent tasked with trying to copy them. You’re both rated on your performance, accuracy, and energy at the end and a winner is chosen. It’s silly and as long as you have lively and creative people, it’ll be a lot of fun as well. The same applies for Dance Off where you’ll both be dancing to the music and trying to have both good energy and moves. As long as you’re playing with some fun people, you’ll probably end up playing these two a lot and have a lot of fun.
Those thirteen games were a lot of fun and it’d be much easier to give this a higher score if it were just those games. Unfortunately Nintendo included another fifteen games for both better and worse. The rest aren’t all bad but they all certainly lower the bar from being as high as it could have been were these left out.
Telephone is exactly what it may sound like. It has you both set a joy-con down on its side. When the phone rings, you’ll both pick it up as quick as you can and say “Hello.” One of the loading screen prompts says that you can throw your opponent off by trying to make a ringing sound with your mouth to trick them. I don’t know what kind of friends you have but I can’t convincingly replicate the sound of a ringing phone with my mouth. It’s okay I guess. We played it a few times and it’s just okay. It’s rather forgettable when you look at the larger picture and consider some of the other titles available to play.
Ball Count is a wonderful example of the HD rumble technology within the joy-con controllers. It’s not as fun as it is informative but it’s okay. You’ll hold the controller in your hand and it’ll simulate the feel of a wooden box filled with a set number of marbles. When you’re done moving the controller around and trying to see how many marbles are in your box, you’ll simply set pick how many you think are in there. Whoever guesses correctly or more closely wins. You’d be surprised at how accurate this is. The idea of this excited me more than the game itself because I’m looking forward to seeing this technology utilized in other games. This was fun and I’m sure we’ll play it again here and there but it’ll be a quick game or two before we move onto to playing something else I’m sure.
Milk was prominent in the advertisements … for some reason. It’s as fun as it looks and will likely depend on how fun the people you’re playing with are. It’s okay. We had a little bit of trouble getting a good rhythm and feel for it down and it simply wasn’t fun enough to justify putting too much time and practice into it. There are far better examples of the technology on this cartridge that are also much more fun.
Samurai Training is okay for a few games. In this game, one person will swing a wooden sword while someone else attempts to catch it. This is more fun if you try to trick each other and fake a swing or dodge. Either way, you’ll likely get a few laughs and move on. It’s largely forgettable but still somewhat fun in short bursts.
Shave (seriously! Who is naming these games?) has you move the controller in front of your face to simulate a razor. This would be more fun if it worked better but we usually had issues with it registering. It worked best when I just swung the controller around my head wildly. Luckily, I don’t shave like that in real life or everyone within ten feet would likely be dead. However, it is worth pointing out that I think I have more fun shaving in real life than I do in playing this game. It just doesn’t work well and like Milk, it isn’t worth investing much time into. There are games that more worth your time.
Beach Flag has you running in place to race your opponent to the destination in the middle of the beach. When the controller vibrates, your there and can plant the flag in the sand. It’s exactly as fun as it sounds.
Boxing is okay. It works well enough and is fun for a quick match or two. I’d personally much rather play other games though, like Swordfight.
Platespin has you playing the role of a clown and it’s your goal to spin the controller like there’s a rod attached to it with a plate on top of it. You can try to psyche your opponent out or bump into them but with a joy-con set costing $79.99, we didn’t much feel like making that gamble in a game where you’re pretending to be a clown and spinning a plate in the air. I guess you could take that risk if you want but either way, it wasn’t very fun.
Runway has you walking up and down a virtual runaway so you’ll need to make a little room in your playing area. The goal is to sway your hips and strut your stuff. At the end, you’ll do a photo session where you and your opponent do different poses. You’re both rated at the end and a winner is chosen. It’s fun enough but not something you’ll be playing too much.
Gorilla has you both pretending to pound your fists against your chest in rhythm to impress another gorilla. As you both do this, the love interest will shoot a heart at whoever is impressing her the most. The best part about this was learning that the true love interest is Nintendo. If you actually pound your fists on your chest, Nintendo will remind not to actually do this. Thanks for caring Nintendo! But yeah this is a bit of fun but my favorite part was probably the videos of the people in gorilla costumes and pretending to be Donkey Kong for a few minutes. This was all ruined when Nintendo told me not to follow my dreams of someday becoming Donkey Kong. Nintendo hates it when you pound your fists against your chest.
These ten games were fun enough but they likely won’t keep you playing for long or coming back. If you do come back it’ll likely be every once in a while. Some of these will likely depend on who you’re playing with. Games like Telephone and Runway may be fun with certain friends. My Wife and I made both of these pretty fun. No matter what though, these games are even close to as fun as the first thirteen games I went over.
The last five games are just forgettable, not fun, not worth it, or just don’t work well. Zen has you trying to hold yoga poses. We didn’t have any fun with it but maybe you will. I personally don’t play games to pick a pose and just sit there. Well, unless it’s sitting comfortably on the couch playing Breath of the Wild. Then I absolutely play games to pick a pose and just sit there. Soda Shake has you shaking a fake bottle of pop (It’s pop! I’m not saying soda!) and it eventually blows up. It doesn’t say you lose or pick a winner. It’s literally passing a joy-con around a group or people and shaking it until it explodes. It’s ‘Hot Potato’ but without the consequences, accountability, or fun.
Baby has you pick up your $300 game system (Yup, the actual Switch tablet itself) and pretend it’s a crying baby. You’ll hold it in your arms, attempt to make it feel better, and set it down. And that’s it. If that sounds fun to you or worth potentially dropping and breaking your game system then more power to you. I found no enjoyment in this. I simply felt fear in dropping and breaking my system over a portion of a game review.
Air Guitar will have you pretend to play the guitar while mediocre original music plays in the background. You’re rated on energy and a few other things and then a winner is chosen. If you really want to enjoy pretending to play music, there are much better games out there. Go pick up Rock Band or Guitar Hero. You can still wave your arms around like an idiot if you want. Plus you’ll also be playing a video game.
Baseball is Table Tennis but I don’t think it works as well. You’re still listening for audio cues but I just didn’t think the movements worked as well. Plus the person pitching can do different throws and in a game where you can’t see anything, variety doesn’t do the players or game any favors. We jumped back into playing Table Tennis pretty quick because it’s similar enough but fun and actually works pretty well.
There’s a lot of games in this package but only 46% of them were consistently a lot of fun. 36% of the games were a mixed bag and/or forgettable. 18% of them were downright ridiculous, didn’t work, or just weren’t fun. I don’t fault Nintendo for including all of them. I’m sure they may have enjoyed them all enough to include most of them on here and more good is done including them then just abandoning them. At the same time though, some of these are poor enough that they really just serve to water down the good times that can be had with some of the truly great games on here.
I personally think Nintendo intended to bundle this but then was forced to try to lower the cost of the system in an attempt to stay competitive with Microsoft and Sony. It’d be hard to sell a system for more than the cost of both Sony and Microsoft’s systems, especially since their two systems already have a larger amount of games available. If the Nintendo Switch launched last year I think the included Pro Grip would have been the chargeable one and that 1-2 Switch would have been included. Nintendo has enough money though that I think they should have taken a hit and bundled this game. It showcases the technology well and ensures that everyone would have something to play right out of the box.
I don’t ever factor in price into reviews because I think video games are art and should be judged on what they achieve and not how much they cost. I do think it can be a part of the conversation for many of us it is a factor in our purchases. At $50 1-2 Switch can feel expensive, especially with experiences like Breath of the Wild only costing ten dollars more. You can even grab Super Bomberman R for the same price or I Am Setsuna for ten dollars less! I think that 1-2 Switch is worth every penny if your spouse will play it with you or if you have friends that will play it with you a few times a month. If you don’t really have anyone to play it with consistently then I’d say to wait until it’s available for a lower price pre-owned–or just skipping it entirely. After all, Nintendo may have switched a few things up with this title but it’s still a multiplayer experience that requires a two or more people to fully enjoy.
- Thirteen great games that are perfect two or more people to have a fun time
- Some games showcase the Switch's technology in thoughtful and interesting ways
- Video explanations are funny and unique
- Ten games are forgettable or don't consistently work well
- Five games are terrible or don't work well at all
- Inconsistent quality and questionable inclusions in some cases