With the recent release of "Minecraft" on the Nintendo Switch the latest console edition of the seemingly endless survival/creativity game has found a new home on Nintendo’s bizarre hybrid console. While the PC version is still the absolute best way to experience "Minecraft" (after all it is a game suited perfectly for the mouse and keyboard) the Nintendo Switch is now a close second in terms of my preferred method of play. The Switch edition doesn’t change much from the other console releases of the game, but rather it is the Switch itself that really adds to the game and its many worlds.
In essence "Minecraft" on the Nintendo Switch is the same game that has been released on the X-Box 360, X-Box One, PlayStation 4, and even the PlayStation Vita. The control scheme is similar, if not identical, to the previous console releases, and graphically it is a smooth, clean experience (though the options are far more limited than the PC version). In terms of pure horsepower the game worlds are limited to Medium rather than Large, but this is still a substantial world size. The render distance is about ten chunks (a unit of distance measurement in the game world) when docked with the television, but that bumps down to about seven when it is in handheld mode. This is still a far cry above the PlayStation Vita’s meager draw distance and world sizes, but still lies beneath the power of the PS4 and X-Box One. Even though it sits between these two graphical power levels it is a gorgeous, smooth experience.
The real joy of "Minecraft" on the Switch, much like with the other releases on the console, is the versatility and ease of use. Before if you wanted to take it on the go you’d have to have a Vita in order to play a slightly downgraded version, or a cellphone where you’d have to settle for an extremely bare-bones, barely playable mess of a mobile game. The simple joy of playing with a controller on the television, switching (excuse the pun, it’s unavoidable at times) to handheld mode, and then being able to prop up the console on a kickstand and separate the Joy-Cons leads to the most versatile and comfortable non-PC edition of the game yet.
For context it had been almost a year since the last time I played "Minecraft" on any system, so I was mildly skeptical of spending my money on yet another release of the game. Yet once it was downloaded I found myself sequestered to a corner of my room, bouncing between having my switch in hand, docked, and propped, building to my heart’s desire. I hadn’t had this much fun with the game in a long time. Maybe it was just my extended hiatus from "Minecraft" fueling my seemingly addicted play session at first, but even when I came back to it later in the day I found myself obsessively building and exploring. Aside from my laptop the Nintendo Switch edition has quickly become my preferred way to play.