The new Nintendo Switch – OLED edition released this past Friday, and I think it’s fair to say that everyone is loving it. What was at first rashly considered to be a rather superficial console upgrade has in fact captured the hearts of both new and existing Switch players. Why? Well, it turns out that having a brighter, more vibrant, and slightly larger screen makes a whole world of difference – and not just with regards to your standard Triple-A fare. Even beloved indie titles now look and play in a sharper fashion when played in handheld mode.
This got us thinking: what games should you play on the Nintendo Switch OLED first? After all, anyone can say Metroid: Dread, Breath of the Wild and even Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. What we’ll be exploring in this article are five heavy-hitters that may not have immediately come to mind. They’re still very worthy of your attention, though, making great use of colour and framerate to really showcase what the OLED Edition Switch is capable of. Let’s get into it…
The only standalone Nintendo-published game on this list makes protecting a cyberpunk metropolis as a futuristic supercop a visual treat, but it looks even better – if you can believe it – on the Nintendo Switch OLED. A lot of this is down to Astral Chain’s unique cell-shaded art style, in which characters and most environments are complemented by thick black outlines and a detailed amount of bold colour shading that ranges from deep blues all the way up to bright yellows. Both aspects appear particularly stunning when played in Handheld mode on the new OLED screen. Revisiting it now almost feels like playing a totally new game.
Astral Chain may not have been developed with the Nintendo Switch OLED in mind, but it certainly comes across that way – a true testament to PlatinumGames’ dedication to designing a world a tech-inspired world that is glitzy and bright (rather than dark and dour). The basic act of solving crimes in the city is enough to make your eyes melt, but the OLED’s high colour contrast really comes to life during the game’s astral plane sequences. Here you can really soak up the luminous red surroundings, all while engaging in some of the best third-person action the Switch has to offer.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
The Switch port of Ori and the Will of the Wisps was already a modern miracle in motion, somehow mimicking its performance on other, more powerful home consoles by still running at a silky smooth 60fps. This only added to the titular hero’s faster-paced movement and core sense of sprightliness, all of which looks and handles better than ever on the Nintendo Switch OLED. Playing it here almost makes you believe it’s possible to reach in and touch the fantastical foliage – like you’re looking into the window of another world. Much of this is down to Will of the Wisps’ generous collection of earthy blues and bright purples touting a lot of varied tones and intensity levels.
The Nintendo Switch OLED might not depict Will of the Wisps at its highest resolution due to its lack of 4K support, but this is more than made up for by the console’s improved brightness and fuller viewing angle. Watching little Ori leap from branch to log is as satisfying to watch as it is to play. Couple this with the game’s eclectic suite of naturalistic environments, and one of the best-looking action-platformers on the platform is primed to wow all over again.
Super Mario Galaxy
That a game from 2007 can still appear this gorgeous almost 14 years later is quite the magic trick, and it’s all thanks to the Nintendo Switch OLED’s ability to further highlight a game’s finer details. Super Mario Galaxy shines so well on this improved screen due to its reliance on mainly primary colours, yes, but also due to the emphasis it places on the darker tones found inbetween. Mario himself pops and grabs the eye (as he always should), which makes guiding him through oversized beehives, volcanoes and oceans as part of this intergalactic adventure aesthetic bliss.
Super Mario Odyssey looks great on the OLED, too, don’t get us wrong. The improved contrast and wider gamut of brightness levels have more of an effect here, however, because of the uncomplex colour palette. It’s a great example of how the tech limitations of the time can add instead of take away on a newer device, and all these aspects are highlighted in a much more vibrant manner on the Nintendo Switch OLED. If you’re willing to bite the bullet, tracking down a copy of Super Mario 3D All-Stars is worth it to play Super Mario Galaxy on the OLED alone.
Tetris Effect: Connected
Though much of the launch day hype was attributed to Metroid: Dread, another showcase title for the OLED – buried amongst the week’s new eShop releases – was in fact the Switch port of Tetris Effect: Connected. Previously a PS4 exclusive before making the jump to VR and then the Xbox eco-system, this psychedelic spin on gaming’s best puzzle game is now right at home on Nintendo’s handheld. Even then, the improved screen really adds a lot of depth to much of Tetris Effect’s exuberant spectacle, with the wider colour range and improved contrast further bringing the background scenery’s gorgeous sights to life.
Tetris Effect: Connected is all about setting a mood and atmosphere, with every tile drop and line clear being accompanied by a jaw-dropping visual flair or music cue. This already helped add weight to your manoeuvres. Now, however, all these effects look brighter than ever. Scenes growing more flamboyant and ambitious as time goes on adds to this sensation, too, letting the OLED delight and dazzle you by depicting each stage’s litany of lights and sounds in the clearest manner possible. Tetris Effect was already an emotional experience before. On the OLED, though, the stage is set for you to be moved even more.
Playing Thumper feels like living out a fever dream at the best of times. That’s why it shouldn’t be too surprising to learn that its fusion of energetic visuals and twitch-based rhythm gameplay excels on the Nintendo Switch OLED. Barrelling down that titanium track at pace is a pure rush on thanks to the new screen’s slightly higher refresh rate, and the surrounding blacks and glistening golds expertly contrast with one another to emphasise the best qualities of both. Thumper was one of the few indie titles to take advantage of the Switch’s portability factor on day one. It’s fitting, then, to see it much improved on the hybrid console’s first true hardware revision.
So we’ve established that Thumper looks better. Also impressive, though, is how the Nintendo Switch OLED’s improved onboard speakers add to the drama of the action. This is a rhythm game that rumbles down into the deepest recesses of the console’s sound output, and now every boom, spark and crackle almost feels like it’s shouting at you. This works alongside the game’s intimidating imagery and fierce HD rumble support to make dominating bosses a dark descent worth taking.
You can buy an OLED Nintendo Switch today, if you want