8 things you need to know about the Nintendo Switch console

Ninty's latest console launches in a week - here's all you need to know

The stakes couldn't be higher for Nintendo’s Switch. After the Wii U tanked harder than Arnold Schwarzenegger in an 80s blockbuster, there is the very real prospect that this could be the last console it makes. So is this ‘game over’ for the maker of the SNES, Wii and GameBoy? Don't be so sure about that.

For all the millions of marketing dollars spent on saying otherwise, the PS4 and Xbox One are basically the same thing: a big, powerful box that sits under your TV forever. Compared to these static beasts, Nintendo’s Switch is very different.

You can play it at home while slouched on a couch - or pluck it from its dock for some real magic: you simply carry on playing. That means a full blown Mario adventure on your journey into work, a sojourn with Zelda on your lunchbreak and an evening with Mario Kart when you need to show who's king of your own castle.

Sounds like the old Nintendo you know and love, right? New, inventive and - most of all - fun. Well, we've taken a long hard and exclusive look at the Switch to find out. Read on for everything you need to know about this unique console.

1) It’s the ultimate pick up & play portable

Pop this sleek machine out of its Dock and you’ll begin to believe Nintendo might have finally nailed the modula console concept. In a matter of seconds you can flit from playing Zelda on your TV to playing Zelda in the palm of your hands. It’s a pretty much instantaneous transition and one that’s free from obvious side-effects.

Job done, then? Not quite. Nintendo's recent approach to console design has been chock-a-block with garish, shiny plastics, awkward button configurations and all-too-dim touchscreens. The Switch bucks that trend like a rodeo bronco.

Sleek and impressively sturdy, it feels like a premium bit of kit. Which is just as well since, at £280, it costs significantly more than either a PS4 Slim or Xbox One S. 

Even though its touchscreen only has a 720p resolution - that’s less than Full HD - it’s crisp, sharp and dealt well with the ridiculously Nintendo creations we’ve played so far. Whip this thing out on a train and you’ll have a whole carriage of commuters peering over your shoulder in jealousy - or howling with derision should a last-minute blue shell derail your Mario Kart hopes.

2) The Joy-Cons are genius

Remember the Wiimote? These Joy-Cons are their next evolution. Packed with all the buttons you could need, while being small and light enough to tuck into your hands, they're impressively well-built.

Each Joy-Con can act as a separate, dedicated controller so you don’t need to shell out on an extra pair for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe multiplayer. Which is just as well since doing so will set you back £75 (S$135). Seriously.

Each Joy-Con controller includes an array of accelerometers, gyro sensors and vibration tech to allow for something called ‘HD Rumble’. This can emulate certain sensations, such as shaking a glass full of ice, because Nintendo.

Amassed a collection of amiibos for your Wii U or 3DS? Don’t panic. That Mega Yarn Yoshi ‘collectable’ will interact with your Switch, too, via the magic of NFC. Don’t know what we’re on about? It’s for the best.