Get Your Nintendo Party Started With 1-2 Switch

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to look into your friend’s eyes as you furiously milk a cow? Maybe not, but 1-2 Switch nevertheless gets pretty darn close to simulating what that actually might be like. Essentially the Wii Sports of the Nintendo Switch, this launch title sets out to demonstrate all the nifty new abilities the system is capable of, giving its sexy new portable screen and Joy-Con controllers a hard workout.

Whereas Wii Sports contained five mini-games that used the Wii’s motion-sensing capabilities to mimic actual sports, 1-2  Switch’s 28 mini-games are way more bonkers, making the game stand as its own unique beast rather than just being an extension to the 2006 Wii game—like, say, the middling Wii Sports Resort and Wii Sports Club.

While several of these mini-games feature more conventional activities such as cracking a safe or strumming an air guitar, most of them are far wackier, which make them way more fun to introduce to friends at social gatherings. While Nintendo has always maintained a fairly family-friendly stance, there’s no denying the erotic implications of milking a cow, shaking a bottle of bubbly, or holding the Joy-Con up to your mouth as you pretend to devour a footlong. Surely, this will go over many kids’ heads, but less innocent teens and immature adults (e.g. me) will pick up on the innuendos. And those David Lynchian live-action tutorial videos that precede each challenge are also a trip.

Other mini-game highlights include Ball Count, which best shows off the Jon-Cons’ HD Rumble technology. As you tilt your Joy-Con in your hand, you convincingly feel a specific number of balls rolling inside. Treasure Chest also uses HD Rumble along with motion-sensing as you twist a treasure chest in all sorts of directions in order to untangle it from its chains. Samurai Training is a hoot, which has players trying to predict the exact moment their opponent is going to swing a sword at their head so they can catch it in return. There’s something very satisfying about pretending to swing a virtual sword at your buddy’s face.

Of course, the mini-game that kept us coming back the most was Quick Draw, which has you looking away from the TV and directly into your opponent’s eyes as spaghetti Western music plays in the background. As soon as you hear the words “Ready… Steady… Fire!” you point your Joy-Con at them and pull the trigger. Once you get tired of Quick Draw, check out Fake Draw, which has the announcer yelling deceptively similar sounding words like “File!” to throw you off.

Another way 1-2 Switch introduces gamers to this new hardware is by highlighting the different methods of play. For instance, some mini-games will require you to attach the wristband to your Joy-Con and some will ask you to take it off. Similarly, some mini-games will instruct you to look at the TV, while others will tell you to just look at your opponent. One mini-game, simply called Baby, will have you attaching both Joy-Cons to the Switch screen and using the device as if you were cradling a newborn. It’s hella weird and kinda great.

Outside of its 28 mini-games, 1-2 Switch also offers Team Battle Mode, in which up to 20 players try to reach the end of a board before their team. The rules are pretty simple: win a mini-game and spin the dial to move forward. If you don’t feel like choosing between1-2 Switch’s myriad mini-games yourself, Shuffle Play will gladly select one for you at random.

While 1-2 Switch does a pretty swell job of familiarizing players with the Nintendo Switch, one can’t help but wonder if this should’ve come bundled with the console. One of the reasons the Wii hit it out of the park so fast was because of its innovative tech and relatively low price. Pairing the console with a highly amusing game that also served as an interactive user manual of sorts might’ve been the biggest reason for the Wii’s massive initial success. And now that we live in an age of download codes, the cost of production would certainly go down. Just add a little flyer with a code, and voila.

As it stands, 1-2 Switch is a worthy launch title for those looking to enjoy the Nintendo Switch with a group of friends. It’s not the most substantial game on the system, but if you’re looking for a nice “switch” from the extraordinarily complex The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (read our rave review), 1-2 Switch is just the ticket.

1-2 Switch is out now exclusively on Nintendo Switch (read our hardware review). Check out the trailer below, partner: