So I’m that one guy that has never played Minecraft before until receiving a review code from Nintendo for the latest iteration of the nearly decade-old phenomenon. That’s right, Minecraft: Switch Edition has arrived, and for a game that many play on mobile devices like tablets, the Switch seems like an excellent place to mine your craft.
There’s still a tutorial mode for people like me that haven’t played the game (which has probably been ported to almost as many platforms as Doom by now — partially kidding) or those who need some brushing up. The point of the game is to survive and prosper — you’ll do this by mining the world around you. Everything from flowers to stone to tree trunks and way more, all of these items can be busted into bite-sized cubes that you add to your inventory and then use to craft dozens of different items. Minecraft is at once widely open yet wisely contained; there’s much to do from the outset, but not too much that it’s overwhelming. Within just ten or fifteen minutes, I could begin to see the appeal of the game given how accessible and addictive it is. There’s always something to be doing in Minecraft, mining or crafting being high on the list, but it’s a sandbox with a lot of tools and toys to explore. It’s the type of game that, if you’re into it, you can spend hundreds of hours in, but if you’re not, you’re not, and the Switch Edition isn’t going to offer much in the way of getting you to play.
That said, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the Switch is the portability of it, and this is definitely the kind of game that I would not want to sit down at a PC or couch for to have to play. Untethering from that with the Switch Edition, without really losing anything major from the other versions of the game, is a significant plus. In my time with the game thus far, I have played exclusively in portable mode, and the game has run perfectly smooth and looks great. The graphics have the notorious, intentional blocky look, but the resolution is a crisp 720p and framerate hiccups were not a problem at all. I have read that draw distance on the Switch is a little bit compromised, but that’s really only for large creations and if you’re in the Creative Mode, flying around. For typical play, where you’re just running about your day, you’re not going to encounter any performance issues. Multiplayer options are built-in, with support for online play from your friends list or other players via the net. I don’t have any Switch friends with the game and I wasn’t able to test online play, though. Local play is also supported, but like most Switch games it can be a little confusing as to what control schemes work. For this, you need an extra joycon or Pro controller to play local splitscreen multiplayer. You can actually have eight player local play with 8 Switches, or 8 player online play. Four player local play also supported. The Battle and Tumble modes are included.
The Switch Edition also supports build sizes about three times that of the Wii U, at 3072×3072, not a much as PC, PS4, or Xbox One, but for anyone not really hardcore, this build size should be plenty. Switch Edition also includes the exclusive Super Mario Mash-Up Pack that contains a themed world, fifteen music tracks from Super Mario 64, and forty Mario themed chararacter skins. Other worlds like the intriguing Chinese Mythology one, two Festive ones, Greek Mythology, and others are somewhat included. One Festive pack is available, but the others link you to the eShop where you can purchase them. The Switch Edition is already pricier than other console versions of the game, it would have been ideal had Mojang included the other DLC without the need to purchase, but alas that’s not the case here.
Ultimately, the Switch Edition provides players with the most complete and best portable version of this addictive and popular game. The new content alone isn’t worth the asking price, but if you want to get your ‘craft on while on the move, consider the Switch Edition.