The brand new party game is put to the test on a week-long vacation. We try eight of the games and give you our thoughts.
1-2 Switch is the tech-demo/party game we all knew it would be. 28 mini-games give the party length, and ensure every one of the console’s features is shown off. By the end, you’ll appreciate the HD Rumble, understand the precision of the motion controls, and value the inclusion of multiple controllers at no extra cost.
Odds are, you probably already know if 1-2 Switch is the party for you and your friends. If you’re on the fence, though, we’ve rated each mini-game in terms of Dud, Demo, or Party. Duds may be worth playing once for mild curiosity, but nothing more; Demos are worth using to show off a certain feature; Party is a great game to play with a group.
Here’s our thoughts on the first eight mini games we’ve played.
Ball Count is enjoyable in how it puts the HD rumble to the test. The game puts a certain number of balls (marbles, perhaps) “into” each controller. Each player has plenty of time to twist, shake, and listen as they try to count the balls. You can feel and hear the balls rolling around- I stake my guesses on the collision of the balls when they roll into the corners. Players set their guesses, and the winner is announced. The higher the actual ball count, the more fun it is to try and guess, and the better the HD Rumble is shown off.
Like Ball Count, Safe Crack is a test of the console’s rumble. Also like Ball Count, you’ll be using the vibration exclusively. Safe Crack tasks both players with unlocking a safe, in a race against each other. Each player will twist and turn their Joycon as they try and find the sweet spot on the lock- the exact “number” of the combination. The first to find three is the winner. While Ball Count is a better show of the HD Rumble, Safe Crack is the better party game, by virtue of being a race against the other player, rather than an arguably separate affair.
Quick Draw is the easiest of all the titles for people to pick up and play. It’s simple to understand, and challenges a veritable skill: reflex. Players face each other and wait for the command to Fire, and then bring up their “gun” and press the trigger button. The first person to fire (and hit the opponent- the window is quite giving) wins. The game doesn’t just announce a winner: it also tracks each player’s gun movement and marks their reaction time (to the thousandth of a second). It gives players a fantastic idea of how close each match is, driving players to demand rematches. The game also keeps track of the fastest draw for the console, another way to earn bragging rights (even if no name is attached to the time). Quick Draw also suggests trying to play by facing away from each other first, before turning to draw. It’s supremely simple, drives people to want to test themselves against their friends, and openly allows players to add their own rules.
Table Tennis is my personal favorite game from the eight games we’ve played so far. It distills Ping-Pong into a game of timing, and removes the need for every sense but hearing. Players can hit the ball in three different ways. Mixing up your hit, between a slow lob, a basic straight, and a smash, let’s you sink the imaginary ball past your opponent. My father had some difficulty due to the greater number of buttons and his attempts to rely on his ping pong experience, but my brother and I were hitting solid 25 hit rallies in no time. Table Tennis is a great way to play the actual game of Ping Pong without a table, paddle, or ball.
Baseball is much like Table Tennis in that it distills the sport into a challenge of timing and mix-ups. Players take turns pitching and batting, for a full inning. Pitchers have only two options (change-up and your basic fast ball), while batters can only swing for all they’re worth (no sacrifice flies or bunts here), listening for audio cues and rumbles. Baseball does a fair job of mimicking the mind games of an actual at-bat, but is lacking due to the shortage of pitching options. Still, it’s a solid use of motion controls and works great when maintaining eye contact with your opponent.
Fake Draw is the next step to Quick Draw- it plays identically except for one major difference. The voice that tells you to “fire” now mixes it up. “Farm!” he’ll shout. “Fox!” Players must wait until the keyword “Fire!” or face disqualification. It adds another layer to the Quick Draw formula, and, like Quick Draw, it records your reaction time. It’s fascinating to see how much the times differ across titles- sometimes as much as two tenths of a second difference. All in all, the same strengths from Quick Draw apply here.
Samurai Training pits player vs. player in a battle of speed and trickery. One player is tasked with striking the other with his “sword,” and his opponent is tasked with catching it. When I originally saw the folks over at Nintendo Treehouse play, the timing seemed to be a little off. However, after getting to play it myself, I am happy to say there were no reports of “But I caught it!” or “No way!” The timing was perfect. People play the game quite differently- my brother will try and fake out the opponent, my father will almost always strike before his opponent is ready, and I generally will get hit on the head when unable to keep up with either tactic. Unfortunately, once a player is hit, the game will end, meaning no chance for revenge. Replaying the game may not give the player the attack- it’s totally random.
The last game we played so far is Boxing Gym. The title has no relation or similarity to Wii Sports’ Boxing. Here, players must throw punches as called for by the coach. These include Hook, Uppercut, and Straight. Players are scored both on how many they got right (it can be difficult, my brother found, to discern between a hook and an uppercut when the speed picks up) and how many they threw faster than their opponent. Boxing Gym is a bit more physically active than most of the other games (a wrist flick won’t cut it here), but not to its detriment.
My first day with 1-2 Switch suggests that while it may not be the next Wii Sports, it’s still a great way to get non-gaming family members to join in a bit of fun. My father and mother, who themselves only really played Wii Sports or watched the occasional Uncharted, had a great time. We’re looking forward to our next play session, and trying out some of the more physically active games, the next time we’re not physically exhausted by skiing. Keep an eye out for thoughts on the next group of minigames (and eventually our verdict on whether or not 1-2 Switch! is worth the asking price), and come back later in the week to hear about Fast RMX, Snipperclips, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.