The Switch is an incredible little machine. It’s also home to many a bad port. The poor thing is not a miracle worker. It punches far above its weight, but at the end of the day, it’s pretty much just a tablet. For as many ports of beloved games as it gets, not all are created equal. It isn’t reasonable to expect it to go toe-to-toe with machines ten times its size. Some especially daring devs have taken that as a challenge and have dedicated themselves to pushing the poor thing harder than a one-legged dog in the Iditarod. While the results can definitely be impressive, they usually reek of compromise. Here are some of the worst offenders – many of them great games, but none of them great on Switch.
1. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Man, what a game. As someone hopelessly in love with the Castlevania games on the GBA and NDS, this was something I desperately wanted to succeed. And succeed it did! Well… mostly. For whatever reason, this game has trouble running on just about anything outside of beefy PCs. This thing made my PS4 Pro chug like a frat boy with three days to live. Imagine, then, what it does to the poor Switch.
Yup, this here is a bad port of a badly optimized game, folks. Muddy textures, a halved framerate, technical issues, input lag, and more make this a game that, as great as it is, should probably be avoided on Nintendo’s platform. If you’re looking for a Castlevania style game that won’t make your Switch write mean things about you in its diary, check out TimeSpinner. Man, that game is good.
2. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
This isn’t nearly as extreme a case as Bloodstained. The game is perfectly functional on Switch. Heck, that’s where I beat the first game. But ‘perfectly functional’ doesn’t exactly sound like a ringing endorsement, namely because… it isn’t. This was the first Switch game that I played that dropped to sub-Wii resolutions in handheld mode, and boy howdy, does it look rough.
The models and effects (sans the polarizing fur-shading) are mostly identical to the other console iterations, but the resolution drops low enough to be genuinely distracting. This version also suffers a bit of input lag, and if you have played these games recently, you know that they can be hard enough without it. If you have the option, I would recommend picking this one up on PC – the bump up to 60 frames per second makes the entire experience noticeably smoother and more responsive.
3. Ark: Survival Evolved
Ark is rough on PC’s. It’s worse on consoles. But on Switch… Ark is unacceptable. This this doesn’t look like a game. It doesn’t run like one, either. Games like Doom 2016 and Wolfenstien The New Order are compromised to fit on the Switch. Ark is nothing but a long list of compromises. It isn’t just a bad port — in this state, it’s a bad game, full-stop. It isn’t worth playing like this.
4. The Witcher 3
How. How is this game, massive DLC included, crammed onto a Switch cartridge? Lord knows, but maybe the better question is… why?
Now, I adore this game. I want as many people to have access to its incredible world building, compelling characters, and deep gameplay as possible. But this is such a compromised experience that it loses some of the luster that makes it special in the first place. It’s a blurry, stuttering mess that never stops feeling like it’s just barely able to run. I don’t even know if it’s really fair to call it a bad port — more like a good port with lackluster results. If you can’t play this game any other way, then it’s still worth a look, but expect the grandeur of the world and immersive vistas to feel… slight.
5. New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe
…why? What’s wrong with Mario? Does it run badly?
Nope. Buttery-smooth 60fps throughout the whole experience.
Um… what about resolution?
Also fine. 1080 docked, 720 handheld, sharp as a tack.
What’s the problem, then?
Nintendo is the problem. For Waluigi only knows what reason, they decided to change the default controls. Instead of pressing a trigger to activate a mid-air twirl, now you press the jump button again in midair. So, what’s the big deal? Games have had double-jumps for decades. That may be so, but the implementation here is just awful. Since you have to press the jump button after landing on a baddie to get extra height, pressing the button even a smidge too soon results in a gravity-defying twirl. That one, stupid decision has single-handedly caused more deaths than cholera. The good news is that you can turn it off, but it’s not in a menu — no, that’d be easy. That’d make sense. Instead, you hold the left stick clicked in at the title menu for three seconds. It’s like a cheat code… for acceptable controls.
That’s my biggest beef with the game, but the fact that it removed gamepad-centric challenges without replacing them with anything and had the audacity to sell at a full $60USD regardless is pretty ridiculous. Am I nitpicking? Absolutely. But does this make the $20 Wii U release a better option? Yup.
Well, there you have it! Any conversions you were especially disappointed by? Feel free to complain to your heart’s content in the comments below. Otherwise, keep checking out SwitchWatch for Nintendo-related news, reviews, and more. Thanks for reading, and best of luck staying safe!