Nintendo Switch Games: '1-2-Switch' hands-on review — Better than Wii Sports? Worth $50?


Everyone knows that the real reason to buy a Nintendo Switch at launch is for Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. But even though Zelda is the Switch's killer app, 1-2-Switch is a game which feels right at home on the system. The Nintendo Switch launch title comes with 28 mini-games that showcase exactly what the console can do — from motion control to making use of Nintendo's new "HD Rumble" haptic engine.

But is it any good? I had a chance to play 1-2-Switch at a recent Nintendo event and I have some opinions on it. Let's dive in.

Nintendo Switch Games: 1-2-Switch let me shave my face and duel my friends, western style

Jacob Kleinman & Xavier Harding/Mic

In teaser commercials and tutorial videos people almost always look ridiculous playing 1-2-Switch, but that's kind of the point. Your first time playing, 1-2-Switch is bound to crack you up. Especially if you start off with Runway, a fashion-minded game that forces you to sway your hips as you walk past your opponent. A more dramatic sway leads to a higher score.

Some challenges required less effort, and the game actually lets you know how much energy you'll be expending with a chili pepper graphic — one chili for low physical effort, five for intense. As you can guess, Runway was intense.

Other games like Shave, Safe Crack and Quick Draw were less physically taxing. And then there's Fake Draw, which is the exact same thing as Quick Draw except instead of "Fire" the narrator will sometimes say "Farm" or another similar-sounding word. Raise your weapon at the wrong word and you've lost.

And I can't leave out Baby. It's a game where you cradle the Nintendo Switch like a baby, which we were, unfortunately, unable to play.

1-2-Switch is better than Wii Sports, if only because it has five times as many games

Jacob Kleinman & Xavier Harding/Mic

1-2-Switch has 28 games total — way more than the mini-game-based title that shipped with the Nintendo Wii, Wii Sports. 1-2-Switch also includes sports games like baseball and tennis (in the form of table tennis).

To the Switch's credit, the two controllers you need to play are included with the console from the beginning. Wii Sports required you to acquire a second Wii Remote and nunchuck for some of the games, like Wii Boxing.

1-2-Switch should come with the Nintendo Switch when you buy it 

Jacob Kleinman & Xavier Harding/Mic

In Wii Sports defense, it came free with the console and didn't require you to shell out an extra $50 on top of the console price at launch: a time when one's wallet is most vulnerable. 

1-2-Switch should obviously come with the Nintendo Switch, and we're not the only ones who think so. But if Nintendo is worried about making money, the company could bundle the game with the purchase of added Joy-Con controllers instead since it perfectly showcases what the controllers can do.

1-2-Switch is solid, ridiculous fun. But it remains to be seen how long the games stay fun. You probably played Wii Sports twice and then never again, but it was virtually free (read: included with the console). Does shaving your face and shaking up virtual soda bottles remain fun six months after you've owned 1-2-Switch? For $50 you better hope so.

March 9, 2017, 2:09 p.m. ET: This story was updated

Check out more Nintendo Switch news and coverage

Check out our comparison photos sizing up the Switch to the Wii U GamePad, along with details on the console's pricerelease datepreordersbattery life and our hands-on review. If you're interested in the Nintendo Switch's games, here's info on the new Super Mario OdysseyLegend of Zelda: Breath of the WildSplatoon 2Xenoblade Chronicles 21-2-Switch and the goofy boxing game Arms.