The Nintendo Switch is the seventh home video game console made by Nintendo to be released internationally. It features three different ways of playing; Handheld mode, Tabletop mode, and Docked mode. The Switch is the first home Nintendo console since the Nintendo 64 to use cartridges over discs. It is not backward compatible since it uses a new shape of cartridge different to the 3DS or DS.
There are a plethora of control styles on the Nintendo Switch, including the Joy-Cons, using the Joy-Con grip, the Pro Controller, among others. The Switch comes with 2 Joy-Con controllers, and one Joy-Con Grip. The Pro Controller must be purchased separately. The Joy-Cons can be attached to the main screen of the Switch, and can be used to play in a similar fashion to the Wii U's Gamepad. The Joy-Cons can also be attached to the Grip, or the Charging Grip (also sold separately) to form a more traditional controller. The Pro Controller is similar in fashion to the Pro Controller for the Wii U, but comes at a price premium.
The Joy-Cons have two Joysticks, A, B, X, Y buttons, four directional buttons, four shoulder buttons, a 'Record' button, a Home button, + and - buttons, and SL & SR buttons on the inside of the controller. The right Joy-Con also has an IR blaster, which is more intelligent than previous iterations such as the Wii's, being able to read various hand gestures. 'HD Rumble' is a feature prominent on the system, which is essentially a higher quality version of past rumble features.
The system has a 6.2-inch capacitive touch screen which displays at 1280x720, a custom Nvidia CPU and GPU, USB Type-C charging, a 4310mAh non-removable battery, stereo speakers and a headphone jack, 32GB of onboard storage, which is expandable up to 2 terabytes through the use of a Micro SD card. When in Docked mode, the system is able to output to a TV via a HDMI cable at a maximum of 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second. It has been confirmed however that Breath of the Wild will run at 900p and 30fps when docked.
Breath of the Wild
- Main article: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild brings a drastic change to the Zelda series, since it is an open-world game which allows players to go directly to the final boss if they wish. This game was announced as a launch title for the Nintendo Switch at the demonstration in January of 2017. It was released on the 3rd of March 2017.
Cadence of Hyrule
- Main article: Cadence of Hyrule
This is a Zelda Spin-Off which released on June 13, 2019. It is a crossover with the Crypt of the Necrodancer series, with rhythm-based gameplay, utilizing characters, enemies and more from the Zelda series. The full title is Cadence of Hyrule - Crypt of the Necrodancer ft. The Legend of Zelda.
Age of Calamity
- Main article: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
Tears of the Kingdom
- Main article: Tears of the Kingdom
During E3 2019, a sequel to Breath of the Wild was shown briefly; with the title Tears of the Kingdom announced in September 2023. Not much is known of the game, though it takes place in the same Hyrule and features a new story and gameplay elements.
Ports, remakes and rereleases
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
- Main article: Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
This version of Hyrule Warriors includes all the features from both prior versions of the game, as well as adding new outfits for Link and Zelda in the style of Breath of the Wild. It also introduces a new split-screen co-op mode for local multiplayer. Released March 22, 2018.
The Legend of Zelda
- Main article: The Legend of Zelda
The original NES version of The Legend of Zelda became available as a part of the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service on September 18, 2018. A special version is also included, in which Link starts the game with 6 hearts, 255 Rupees, 9 Keys, 8 Bombs, as well as certain items, including the White Sword, the Magical Shield, the Blue Ring, and more.
The Adventure of Link
- Main article: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
The original NES version of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link became available as a part of the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service on January 16, 2019. A special version is also included, in which Link starts the game with Level 8 Attack, Life and Magic.
A Link to the Past
- Main article: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
The original SNES version of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past became available as a part of the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service on September 5, 2019.
- Main article: Link's Awakening (Switch)
Link's Awakening received a full remake for Nintendo Switch on September 20th, 2019. It features a graphical overhaul, and some new features, though the basic gameplay is near-identical to the previous versions.
Ocarina of Time
- Main article: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The original Nintendo 64 version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time became available as a part of the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription service on October 26, 2021.
- Main article: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
The original Nintendo 64 version of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask became available as a part of the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription service on February 25, 2022.