Minecraft Nintendo Switch Edition Review: Console Experience Anywhere You Want

You’re reading a Minecraft review in 2017. Yes, you are. You may think you know everything there is to know about Minecraft and the countless platforms it has released on since exploding years ago but with the release of the Nintendo Switch version you aren’t necessarily right about that anymore.

If you’ve been living under a rock for nearly a decade, Minecraft is a sandbox-game where players can get hyper-creative with world building all while trying to survive with limited resources and enemies coming aster you. You scavenge for resources like wood, food, glass and other items and build sprawling structures out of the world’s blocky materials. The only limit to what you can do in Minecraft is your imagination. There are multiplayer modes as well as creative mode (for pacifists who just want to build) and survival mode (for those who want more of a challenge.)

It can take some time to figure out the game’s mechanics if you’re a 100% newcomer so I recommend playing the tutorial and taking it slow. You’re going to hate it the first time you die with important items on you in a part of the map you can’t remember but even losing some progress from time to time will not deter you from the addicting gameplay loop Microsoft is selling. Inventory management, crafting and controls do have a small learning curve though you should only need an hour or so to get acclimated with everything. Once you wrap your head around the tools at your disposal you’ll lose hours upon hours and understand why Minecraft has become arguably the biggest videogame of the 21st century.

As for Switch specific features and content, this version of the game excels at an already great multiplayer game. It supports four players locally on a single Switch, where the game runs at 720p. Each player will need a full controller set so no single Joy-Con multiplayer though it is hard to imagine how that would even work. So in the end, you’d need to spend at least $210 if you bought three extra Pro controllers to play 4 player local Minecraft.

Online play works as you would expect on the Switch though it does lack voice chat, which does take away from the experience somewhat. The game looks just as good as any other console version of Minecraft and much better than any portable version that has been released. Game worlds are 3072×3072 so while that is not as big as on PC, PS4 or Xbox One, it is a gigantic step up from the PS Vita, Wii U, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game.

Minecraft is a must-have on any platform and you could argue that the Nintendo Switch version is the superior console version. Of course, the PC version with mods will always be the best way to play it and while the Switch’s game worlds are smaller than Xbox One and PS4, the leap from Minecraft: Pocket Edition and Wii U. The local multiplayer, while expensive, makes the game even more social than it already was. The reason why Minecraft works so well on the Switch has nothing to do with the game itself, which is already solid, it is the core hybrid concept of the console itself. It is such a simple idea, a portable that can be a console and a console that can be a portable. Few games benefit from solely running on a unique piece of hardware like Minecraft benefits on the Switch.

Whether its the battle, creative, survival or tumble modes, Minecraft has hundreds of hours of content for first timers. Even if you’ve played in the past, this is the best version you could choose to get back into a game that has only grown deeper in recent years. The added content and texture packs help to justify the $10 price hike and the Super Mario content is a nice touch. Listening to Super Mario 64’s main theme while building structures all while a giant Mario looms in the horizon is something I never thought I’d see just 3-4 years ago.

So if you’re looking to waste hundreds upon hundreds of hours and have an outlet for your personal creativity, there are few games that would be better suited for this than Minecraft. Being on the Switch, Minecraft gets a new lease on life and none of us even knew it needed it. This is a fantastic port that is enhanced significantly by the hardware it is on and that has nothing to do with CPUs, memory or the types of hardware changes you would think of.

Final Thoughts

While the best Minecraft experience is still on PC, the Nintendo Switch Edition is by far the superior console version due to its supreme flexibility. The system's hybrid nature somehow improves an game that I thought couldn't get any better. The Switch's local multiplayer and Nintendo specific content, along with the largest world size of any portable version, make this an easy purchase at $29.99. Review copy provided by Microsoft.

Overall Score 90%