The moment where someone knocked the ice tea over was not captured
The moment where someone knocked the ice tea over was not captured (Image: Nintendo)

The Nintendo Switch has various strengths, but the key aspect of its design that has helped to fuel its success is flexibility. It's a concept that is ultimately more than the sum of its parts — when you break it down, it's a tablet with mid-2010s technology and a USB-C connector to hook up to TVs. Yet, it's more than that thanks to Nintendo's product design. To gamers around the world it delivers choice and intuitive ways to play. Docking to a TV is simple and instantaneous, the Joy-Con controllers slide off and become wireless, you can pop it on a table in the park. This is all stuff that is either less intuitive or not possible with other gaming hardware, and Nintendo has even been doing 'My Way' Switch trailers to make that point for quite some time.

It also has a massive library by this point, with a huge variety of titles from both a first- and third-party perspective. Yet as this scribe started Metroid Dread recently a realisation hit — there's one way to play the game: In portable mode, with headphones, in a dark room. That's how it'll be played to the credits, from now on, making it a 'just before bed' sort of game.

Another recent-ish game was the opposite; I only played The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD docked and in the middle of the day at weekends. Why weekends only? With a preference for the motion controls, it didn't feel like a game to play in an evening after work, as the waggling and frequent quick calibrations didn't feel like a good fit for a weary mind. As a Saturday afternoon game over many weeks, though, it was perfect.

So, with that in mind, here are some categories that our games tend to fall into when it comes to Switch habits. Do you have a certain 'way' to play specific games?

Behind the smiles there's Mario Kart rage
Behind the smiles there's Mario Kart rage (Image: Nintendo)

#1 - Big TV Games

Aside from Skyward Sword HD, there are a good number of games that are better suited to a big screen — many of which are probably RPGs. For example, though Monolith Soft did good work with its user interface in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in particular, the game's performance in handheld (with a plummeting resolution) and a lot of information on screen makes it a good candidate for docked play. And its predecessor's Switch iteration, of course. The Switch has plenty of RPGs and grand games that necessitate filling the screen with a lot of information, and a number of those certainly qualify as 'best when docked' (even if the option to grind some battles on the bus is also very welcome).

Then there are certain multiplayer games that are best suited to a TV, especially in local multiplayer. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe may have appeared in the Switch concept video as something to play in the car but, in practice, if you're splitting the screen you want to be looking at half a TV, not squinting at half a portable. We feel the same can apply to Super Mario Party, especially when working through a board and doing a mix of co-op and versus minigames on a shared screen.

Shouldn't they be playing this in a hallway?
Shouldn't they be playing this in a hallway? (Image: Nintendo)

#2 - Travel Games

In theory this can apply to pretty much anything, but let's think of a couple of specific examples. This scribe remembers a train trip playing Splatoon 2 with a buddy, namely the Salmon Run mode, so if each player has a copy that's a fun time.

That's a bit high maintenance, though, and arguably it's the slightly more calming, less pressurised games that are best suited for those times you're in the passenger seat of a car, train or plane. Something like Stardew Valley is a good option. One of this writer's favourites for passing time is a slow and steady playthrough of Okami HD. Or Hades, a fast-paced game that nonetheless makes hours melt away.

Or maybe you like to do a bit of reading when travelling? The Switch has some fantastic visual novel-type-games, with good recent examples being The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles and The House in Fata Morgana: Dreams of the Revenants Edition.

"Gee, I might be able to read this tiny text if I had this on the telly"
"Gee, I might be able to read this tiny text if I had this on the telly" (Image: Nintendo)

#3 - Cosy Headphone Games

Playing Metroid Dread at home while wearing headphones may not sound cozy, but it is. The game is pretty darn tense, but tackling it while snuggled up in a comfy chair can take the edge off and help to build the atmosphere (with a optional warm cuppa nearby, of course).

As we're publishing this in October, too, there are some good horror games to creepy you out as you hide under a blanket in a darkened room. Alien: Isolation and a whole bunch of Resident Evil titles spring to mind.

Music games are a good option, too, and Switch has some good 'uns. There's the snappily titled Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda (breathe), and one of our favourites is the wonderful Sayonara Wild Hearts. If you're after more conventional rhythm-based music games there's the likes of VOEZ, Deemo and Cytus α which have hundreds of tracks between them and work best with headphones (wired, unless you're content to work around Bluetooth latency).

And then there's the recently released Tetris Effect: Connected for the times when you want to zone out completely. Bliss.

The only way to play NBA 2K on Switch
The only way to play NBA 2K on Switch (Image: Nintendo)

#4 - Tabletop Games You Play In Public, Like Those Cool Kids In The Ninty Ads

As Nintendo would have it you could play pretty much anything this way but... nah. Undoubtedly the least used play option on Switch, it's nonetheless still a fun thing to do on occasions when you're out and being a bit social, which apparently does still happen from time to time. In fact, the larger screen and sturdier kickstand of the Switch OLED model might make this playstyle more viable from now on.

An obvious choice — and we're not just saying it because of Nintendo's OLED advert — is Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics. With good support for single Joy-Con and the touchscreen depending on the game, it arguably has something for just about anyone.

Something rather different that we've seen played in the real world (at a wedding, no less) is any Jackbox Party Pack title, as players can join in and use their phones as controllers. We've seen slightly intoxicated people doing this — it's a thing.


In any case, the whole point of this meandering article was to have a fun chat and read some comments on whether you all like to play certain games in a specific way. Do you have a favourite handheld-only game, or something you genuinely bust out the kickstand for to play in tabletop? Or maybe some games have to be on the TV? Have we missed a category or two above?

Let us know the poll below and in the comments!

Do you have a specific 'way' to play some Switch games?