Comfort and portability combine for an authentic Minecraft experience.
At this point, Minecraft is such a well-known game that reviewing its content in 2017 seems redundant. (For that, you can check out our reviews of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions and of Minecraft: Pocket Edition.) But with its recent release on the Switch the question that needs answering is how Nintendo’s portable console handles building these fantastic blocky worlds, and the answer is: pretty well.
The Switch Edition of Minecraft takes the appealing portability of Minecraft Pocket Edition and adds the precise, comfortable controls of a console. The convenience of playing Minecraft on the go and easily jumping into online multiplayer with friends on their own Switch devices would make it hard to go back to other versions of if it weren’t missing an essential feature: voice chat. That makes playing with friends who aren’t in the room with you much less fun, since there’s no way to coordinate your efforts with the up to seven other players in a game. You can get that human interaction locally by playing two-player split-screen mode, but this works much better when the Switch is docked, because the screen is a little too small to play in handheld or kickstand mode with multiple people. It’s possible, you just might not be able to see very well.
You can play split-screen in tabletop mode, you just can’t see very well.
Like the current PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions (1.5), the Switch’s Minecraft lacks some other features that are on the PC’s 1.9 version, like the reworked combat system. And, unfortunately, Minecraft doesn’t use the Switch’s touch screen for faster inventory management – or anything else – so it’s not quite the best of both the console and Pocket Edition worlds. It does include a bunch of exclusive Super Mario-themed skins, though.
Lastly, I didn’t experience any noticeable slowdowns either in docked or portable modes, though it’s worth noting that Minecraft runs in 720p even while docked. Not that the resolution of these intentionally blocky graphics matters much, of course.