Who doesn’t love the Switch?! People who hate fun, that’s who. It’s a great little machine, capable of playing all kinds of stuff once Nintendo actually gets around to releasing it. If we think about a ratio of quality games to total releases, the Switch’s library is pretty damn impressive; sure, that’s because it’s small at the moment, but the point stands. That ratio only looks to improve with the release of Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition!
Minecraft! You’ve played it a billion times before and it’s much the same here on Switch. There’s no plot (aside from a cringe-worthy poem once you beat the game, if that counts) and no real goal (aside from killing a dragon to read said poem, which I’m not sure counts) so go hog wild and build to your heart’s content. We can pin plenty of modern gaming conventions on Minecraft’s mindblowing popularity. If you’ve ever had to punch trees, craft your own gear – even in games where that probably shouldn’t be necessary – or deal with nagging hunger or thirst meters, you can probably attribute that to a developer somewhere misunderstanding what made Minecraft fun.
It wasn’t the nag meters, as it turns out; Minecraft is fun because of the sheer level of creativity it offers you. With careful planning and dedication, you can build pretty much anything you want! Especially statues of penises, as it turns out. Seriously, though, it’s possible to make some pretty impressive stuff with the seemingly limited block-placing tools Minecraft offers, and that remains the case here on the Switch. This edition also incorporates some cute Mario-themed stuff, like an entire texture pack featuring the iconic pipes, blocks and items from that series. And music, too!
The game generally runs well at 720p and sounds fine; you’d expect this given that Minecraft’s graphics are, uh, less than intensive. Truth be told, even the PC version needs a little beef to run at a decent clip, so it’s nice to see that the Switch can handle the game. The one big compromise that’s made here is the same one that’s made on the other console versions, which is that the maps aren’t infinite as they can be on PC and mobile. Instead, they’re around 3000 blocks in either direction, which should be enough to satisfy the average player but might cramp the styles of more hardcore builders.
One other note is that split-screen multiplayer is available but single-Joycon play is not, so you’ll need another set or a Pro Controller if you want to play offline with friends.
If you can look past those limitations, though, Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition is a perfectly acceptable port for Nintendo’s game-starved console. Being able to ‘craft on the go, while not exactly ground-breaking (thanks to other mobile versions), is always appreciated. This would have been more of a hit back at the height of Minecraft’s popularity a couple years ago, but the fact remains the game has never stopped being popular. If there are any newcomers left, they’ll enjoy Minecraft on the Switch, if nothing else for the colorful Nintendo skins and familiar faces. The real winners here, however, are the kids and grown-ups who remain addicted even years after the fact.