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If you’ve ever thought about buying a gaming system for your family, you may have considered the Nintendo Switch. But buying any gaming console is a big investment for a family, and you want to make sure you’re getting something that your family will actually use and enjoy. Our family of six has owned our Switch for three years now.
Here’s a completely honest review of the Nintendo Switch. I’ll talk about some of the pros and cons of owning one, along with what we’ve loved (and what we haven’t loved so much) about this console.
What We Love About the Switch
Playing as a Family – From Mario Cart to Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime to Super Smash Brothers, there are many interactive games that can be played with several people. Some of them are competitive games where you can play against other people in your family, while others are games that require you to cooperate and work together to achieve your goals.
Recently we’ve had so much fun (and laughed so hard) while playing Overcooked 2 as a family. We love how easy it is to play games together on the Switch with friends and family.
Encouraging Creativity – Our kids got the Nintendo Labo kit to use with the Switch, and it was absolutely phenomenal. They had to build devices with cardboard (all included in the kit) that work together with the Switch. They created a walking robot, fishing game, a motorbike controller, a mini piano, and so much more – all with this kit.
And what I found even more impressive was how much they learned. Part of the kit involved them going through interactive videos and lessons on the Switch that taught them about the electronics inside the controllers and the Switch and how they worked.
And one of my other kids got the Nintendo Labo Robot Kit for his birthday this year, and all of the kids have had a blast playing it. It’s another very interactive game, where you have to move around with the cardboard robot suit to play the games.
Staying Active – We got the game Ringfit Adventure for Christmas last year, and it’s been one of the best games we’ve played. It comes with a legstrap you use with one of the Joycon controllers in conjunction with the Ring itself. It’s pretty amazing what a workout you can get out of it.
There are various difficulty levels that you can adjust to fit you or your kiddos. My husband and I use it to get a good, consistent workout in, and our boys (9, 8, and 5) all use it as well. During times of the years when it’s tough to go outside to run out (either due to it being too cold or too hot), I love having an active option for them to use during screen time.
It’s hard for words to do this game justice – if you check out the listing for Ringfit Adventure on Amazon, you can watch some videos to see people playing it.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Why does one game get its own point? Because it’s an amazing game. I’ve been gaming since I was five years old (mostly on PC), and this easily ranks within my top 5 games of all time. The visuals are stunning, the game play is fun, and the world is just a magical place to explore. I can’t say enough good things about this game.
A quick note – this isn’t a multiplayer game, so only one person can play it at a time. However, we still make it family time by hanging out together and chatting while one person plays.
What Concerns Are There?
Joycon Issues – Many people have experienced control “drift” with their Joycon controllers, where the joystick will act like it’s being pushed even if its in the neutral position. It’s only happened to one of our controllers so far (and that was after a couple years of rough play). And thankfully, with a cheap kit from Amazon (that included all the tools we needed to repair it) and a 15 minute YouTube video, we were able to get it working fairly painlessly without having to purchase brand new Joycons. But it’s an issue you should be aware of.
Add-Ons – As you’re probably aware, when you buy a gaming system, you’re going to end up having to buy games to go with it (and more controllers…and cases…and it goes on!). This can be a big money suck. We considered our game purchases carefully, and haven’t once been disappointed. But you need to make sure you read reviews and do some research before you just plop money down on yet another game or addon for your Switch.
Price – Buying a gaming system for your family is an investment. And you obviously don’t want to buy something that is just going to sit and collect dust. If you already have a game system like an X-Box or a Playstation, you want to take a very close look at what a Switch offers that’s different from what you own, and decide if it’s worth it to you to by another (it might not be).
If you don’t have another gaming station, I think a Switch is an excellent choice for a family to start with. With the multiplayer options and interactive abilities the Switch features, it’s a great choice for a family to own. But be sure you sit down and figure out how much time you are willing (and are able) to play games, either for yourself, your kids, or as a family together, and consider if the cost is worth it to you.
For us, the entertainment and educational value, along with the activity the Switch has encouraged, has been more than worth the price for our family.
What About the Switch Lite?
If you’re doing your research about getting a Nintendo Switch, you may have heard of the Switch Lite – a version of the Switch which is only a handheld device (you can’t hook it up to your TV), and where the controllers can’t be removed. There’s also a limit about which games can be played on the Switch Lite. If you’re looking for a device to purchase for your family as a whole, I’d definitely recommend getting the full version of the Switch. However if you’re interested in one that you’re planning just to use yourself or for a child, the Switch Lite may be a good choice. You can view a complete comparison here on Nintendo’s website.
If I want to buy a Switch, what do I need to get?
The base Switch comes with two Joycon controllers. These can either be used as one controller or split up for two people to use (though they are a bit awkward for larger hands).
If you know you’re going to be playing as a family, you probably want to pick up at least another set of Joycon controllers, or another full sized controller or two. I definitely recommend getting a wireless one over one that needs to stay plugged in. We’ve found that the wires on the wired controllers wore out fast, and that it was worth the extra price to get wireless controllers instead.
If there’s a game you know you want to get for sure with the Switch, sometimes you can get a packaged deal with the Switch and that game. For example, Amazon has a package with Mario Kart (a great family game that allows for up to 4 people to play at a time on one Switch). Prices are always changing though, so always check to see if it’s cheaper to purchase a bundle or to buy the Switch and game separately.
For our family, the Nintendo Switch has been one of the best purchases we’ve ever made. We love playing it together as a family, and the quality of games we’ve gotten with the Switch is phenomenal. I love that it’s encouraged a lot of creativity in my kids, especially with the Labo Kit. And I might be slightly addicted to exercising using Ring Fit Adventure.