Anyone who saw any of the promotional material leading up to the release last week of the Nintendo Switch probably saw something about 1-2 Switch, the collection of party minigames that serves as the Nintendo Switch's equivalent of the Wii's Wii Sports or the Wii U's NintendoLand, and you can tell that it's main purpose is to show off the Joycons' "HD Rumble" feature (which, by the way, is FREAKY awesome). While the game probably should have been a pack-in, and it DEFINITELY shouldn't have cost $50, it is a ROCK solid party game if you've got a copy (or a friend with a copy).
1-2 Switch feels a lot like the WarioWare series in a lot of ways. The whole game is just a collection of minigames, and these minigames are plentiful, extremely diverse, and far removed from anything you'd probably expect. They also - with one or two noteworthy exceptions - are a LOT of fun when you've got a friend or two (or three) with you. Ball Count is exactly what the name implies - you coun't balls. Let me explain. You and your opponent each hold a Joycon representing a box with a set number of balls in it. You have to tilt the Joycon back and forth and use the HD Rumble to determine how many balls are in the box. Then you guess. Whoever gets closest wins. It sounds stupid, but it's REALLY cool given how well the HD Rumble works. Milk is....weird. You milk a cow. That's the whole game. You have to move the Joycon up and down while making sure the push the shoulder buttons in the right order (gotta squeeze at the top before you squeeze at the bottom), and whoever fills more bottles with milk wins. What makes this great is that you're looking each other dead in the eye when you're squeezing milk (and, if you're like me, making awkward, homoerotic faces). Telephone is a neat one. You each set the Joycon down on the table in front of you, and you're given a specific ringtone for which to listen. When you hear that specific ringer, you pick up the Joycon and say "Hello?" and whoever does so fastest wins. The trick, however, is that if you pick it up on the wrong ringer, you automatically lose.
Treasure Chest is simple but really satisfying for some reason. You've each got a treasure chest wrapped up in chains, and you have to tilt your Joycon around to move the chest and unwrap the chains. Whoever frees his or her chest first wins. Zen is one that I can see being rather polarizing but that I thoroughly enjoyed. You hold the Joycon in your hand and assume whatever yoga pose is displayed on the TV screen. Whoever holds that pose best with the fewest movements wins. For one who took a yoga class in college and actually really enjoyed it, I'm a big fan of this one. Quick Draw is the one that I thought looked the coolest on the reveal stream. You look each other in the eye, Joycon at your side, when the announcer guy says "FIRE," you lift your Joycon and pull the trigger. Whoever shoots first wins. It's so simple but SO much fun. Fake Draw is a variation on Quick Draw; it's the same thing, but the announcer will shout random words starting with F with no indication of when he's going to say "Fire." Whoever shoots first when he does say Fire wins, but if you shoot on a different word, you lose. Safe Cracker also uses the HD Rumble. You have turn the combination mechanism on a safe until you feel the pins click. The different rumble for the click of the pins is more subtle than some of the other HD Rumble uses, so some people have trouble feeling the difference, but I could tell when the vibration was different. This one is a really neat, subtle use of the HD Rumble that was quite reminiscent of unlocking safes in Red Steel 2 on Wii.
Samurai Training is a silly one, but it's a lot of fun. One person holds the Joycon above his head (as if holding a sword) and swings down; the other person holds the Joycon in his hand and has to figure out when the opponent is actually swinging down (rather than just feinting) and clap his hands together in time to catch the sword before it hits him in the head. Signal Flags is basically Simon Says with cute sailor girls. You hold your Joycon as if it were a signal flag, and you have to hold it whichever way the woman tells you and the OPPOSITE of whichever way the man tells you. Whoever does this more accurately wins. Sneaky Dice was okay. It's more luck than anything else, so I wasn't the biggest fan of it, but it's pretty good if you want to gamble. You and your opponent each use your Joycon to roll dice. Yours vibrates to tell you what your opponent rolled and vice versa. You can reroll up to two times, and part of the goal is to try to get your opponent to reroll if you think he has a good roll and to keep if it you think his is bad; in the meantime, he's doing the same thing to you. Do you lie to him, or do you tell him the truth in hopes that he'll assume you're lying? You only get half the picture, though; if your opponent rolled a four, is that two 2's - a good roll - or a 1 and a 3 - a shitty roll? That's where the luck comes in; you have no way of knowing HOW the two dice added up to whatever your opponent rolled.
Soda Shake is WAY more fun than it should be. You only use one Joycon for this game, and it's like Jenga with a soda bottle. You shake it as much or as little as you want and pass it to the next person. That repeats over and over again until someone shakes it so much that it pops, and that person loses. It's such a simple thing, but it's a LOT of fun. Baby is, without a doubt, the stupidest part of this whole minigame collection. You have a crying baby - the worst thing about babies except for the smell - and you have to rock the Switch console as if you're rocking a baby and get it to shut the fuck up. Then you have to lay it down on a flat surface and hope the little shit stain doesn't start crying again. Whoever does that fastest wins. It's stupid, it's not fun, and it just reinforces my desire never to procreate. Baseball, on the other hand, while a bit bare-bones, is pretty entertaining. One person is the pitcher and can throw either a fastball or a change up. The other person is the batter and has to use sound and vibration to determine what type of pitch it was and when to swing. You keep swinging until you get three outs, and then you SWITCH (sorry, I had to). Then your change roles. Whoever scored the most points by the end of the inning (the game starts at the top of the 9th) wins.
Joycon Rotation is another one that shouldn't be as fun as it is. You each set your Joycons on the table and take turns picking it up and carefully rotating it. If you jiggle it too much, you lose your turn. Whoever has rotated it the most at the end of three rounds wins. It's simple, it's stupid, and it's extremely addicting. Shave is one that could be a lot of fun but that I found rather disappointing and underwhelming. You use your Joycon as an electric razor and shave your beard. Whoever shaves the whole thing first wins. Of course, you can't see what you're doing - you have to go by the vibration to tell you whether you're shaving hair or an already shaved area - but it's not particularly accurate, at least not with where on your face you're shaving (although, in fairness to the game, with differing face sizes and shapes, that's somewhat to be expected). There were times where I was shaving my upper lip by moving the Joycon up to the top of my forehead. It's fun, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't seem quite as accurate as one might hope.
Table Tennis is exactly what it sounds like - ping pong. You have to pay careful attention to the vibration of your Joycon to tell you when you to swing your paddle, and whether your hit R or ZR (or L or ZL depending on which Joycon you have) will determine if you spike it or lob it. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but it's a lot of fun once you do get used to it. Beach flags is another fun one, especially if you've been drinking. You take your Joycon and "run" across the beach to reach a flag first (you run by basically vigorously jacking off your Joycon, so single men will probably always win). Boxing Gym is a lot of fun, and it's a big step up from Wii Sports' boxing game in my opinion. You're not fighting one another, per se, but you're competing in a training session. The coach will say "uppercut," "hook," or "straight," and that's the kind of punch you have to throw. Whoever is more accurate with throwing the right kind of punch wins.
Eating Contest is...interesting...but not particularly fun. You hold the right Joycon with the IR sensor pointing at your mouth and open and close your mouth as fast as you can to eat as many sandwiches as you can in the time limit. Plate Spin has you take the role of clowns trying to balance spinning plates on a stick. The way to "win" is to try to make your opponent drop his plate. However, when I played this, I just got punched in the face (thanks, Paul). Sword Fight is probably my favorite game on here. It's a bit hard to know exactly what you're doing since you obviously can't see your sword, but it does differentiate between vertical and horizontal slashes and incorporates blocks. It's challenging, but when you get a good fight going, it's a LOT of fun. Wizard is a pretty neat one. You know those really dramatic wizard duels in Harry Potter where they're trying to overpower one another's magic beams? That's what this is. You need to make sure that you have a good amount of space since you'll be "throwing" a lot of spells, but it's a neat duel. Air Guitar is another one that's really stupid. I never could figure out exactly how the scoring works, and it's honestly just not all that fun. I have more fun doing air guitar on my own to a song that I actually pick and like.
Copy Dance is one that's especially fun with silly groups. You take turns doing dances for one another to mimic, and whoever mimics the dances the most accurately wins. I can't WAIT to try this with a group of friends after drinking. Dance Off is somewhat similar except that the computer gives you the dance moves that you have to perform. Runway is hilarious if you get a group of really masculine guys; you have to do the stereotypical runway walk complete with swaying hips, and you're scored on accuracy. The last game, Gorilla, is...interesting? But stupid. You have to make motions of beating your chest (but it specifically tells you not to actually hit your chest) with the set rhythm. You do all this to try to encourage a lady gorilla hiding in the bushes to sleep with you. Weird.
1-2 Switch isn't a perfect party game, but it is a DAMN good one. It's a bit overpriced, and it probably should have been a pack-in game, but it's still definitely worth owning in my opinion, even with the steep price of entry. It's potential for adding a huge fun factor to any party can't be overstated, and I think people haven't given this one the credit or attention that it deserves.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm Mr. Deck
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach history at a high school in central North Carolina; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.