GoldenEye is now available to play on Nintendo Switch. Ah, how long we've waited to type that sentence! After 25 years as an N64 exclusive, Rare's seminal first-person shooter has finally escaped from its 64-bit confines and is now playable via a Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack subscription, or on Microsoft's Xbox.

However, anyone who has tried the game already on Switch may well have run into control issues. Frankly, the way the N64 pad inputs map to a modern dual stick controller is a bit messy to say the least, and the default layout is almost guaranteed to have you pressing the wrong buttons and pulling the wrong trigger — at least to begin with. On Xbox, it seems, the controls have been tweaked for dual-analogue control by default, but not on Switch. It's possible to remap buttons at a system level, of course, (and check out the video above to see Alex explain the simple steps), although remapping can be a minor hassle.

However, we've discovered a little trick that any Switch owner can use to quickly transform the controls into something a little closer to the dual-analogue setup that's become the standard for the genre over the past two decades. Granted, it's not the most comfortable control scheme, but it's a decent workaround for anyone who is struggling: Split your Joy-Con and swap the hands you're holding them in.

Cross the streams
Like this. Cross the streams! — Image: Nintendo Life

There's a little more to it. You'll also need to go into the in-game settings via the pause screen and switch the control type from the default '1.1 Honey' to '1.2 Solitare', but by switching your left Joy-Con to your right hand and vice versa, the 'left' trigger pulls up your sights and the 'right' one becomes the trigger — just as you'd find in any standard FPS these days. It also puts WASD movement on the 'left' analogue stick while you look with the 'right', just as normal.

For reference, here are the instructions in bullet points, 'cause we're nice like that:

  • Start the game as per normal, using two Joy-Con as a single controller (hold 'L' on the left and 'R' on the right)
  • Once you're in a level, pause immediately, go to the Controls screen on your watch and switch the style from '1.1 Honey' to '1.2 Solitare'
  • Also, change the 'Look Up/Down' setting to 'Upright' if you want to invert the default Look controls
  • Unpause the game and put the left Joy-Con in your right hand and vice versa
  • Play GoldenEye on Switch with controls that feel more natural in 2023

Is it perfect? Obviously not. Switching weapons or opening doors isn't so easy anymore. However, it's a decent workaround if you're just not clicking with the unwieldy default NSO layout and don't want to screw up your other games by remapping buttons.

ALTERNATIVELY, as we mentioned, you can use the Switch's system-level button remapping feature to switch the sticks from Left to Right, and, optionally, also remap ZR>ZL, and ZL>R.

This has the advantage of you not having to switch your Joy-Con between hands and also working with the Switch Pro Controller. The disadvantage here is that you'll have to manually change the buttons back again to function 'normally' with other games, although you can save the setup as a preset to quickly change between them. Either way, there's no need to struggle with the default layout — you've got options!

Of course, we would definitely recommend playing this one with the official Nintendo Switch Online N64 pad if you've got it, but those have been in very short supply ever since they debuted, with stock disappearing the moment it pops up on Nintendo's online stores. If you're not lucky enough to have one of those, remap those buttons or give this unconventional setup a go and let us know if it helped!

(Also, don't forget to switch the ratio to 16:9 in the settings for a full widescreen experience — a first for any game on Switch Online, we think. It looks sharp!)

How does that work for you? Have you found a better workaround, using two controllers perhaps? Let us know in the polls and the comments below.

Are you having problems with GoldenEye's default controls on Switch?
Did our little Joy-Con 'hack' help?