Fortnite on the Switch is exactly what you expect

Commentary: Fortnite works fine on the Nintendo Switch, but it also fails to take advantage of the system's unique aspects... so far.

Jason Parker Senior Editor / Reviews - Software
Jason Parker has been at CNET for nearly 15 years. He is the senior editor in charge of iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.
Jason Parker
2 min read
CNET screenshot

Are you ready for more Fortnite? I decided to drop from the battle bus using on the Nintendo Switch now that the game was released into the wild, right after Nintendo's E3 2018 event.

The verdict on the Switch port so far: It plays well and there's little to complain about. And that may actually be something to complain about! The graphics seem a little less crisp than what we've seen on the PS4, Xbox One and PC -- likely thanks to the Switch's relative lack of graphical horsepower. The gameplay remains smooth, and the draw distance is far greater than what iOS players have become accustomed to. 

Actually getting into a game of Fortnite is relatively seamless. Either create a new account or use your preexisting Fortnite account and boom, you're ready to begin. No need to jump over hurdles or use friend codes like we've become accustomed to in other online titles on Nintendo hardware.

In a big surprise, developer Epic Games will add headset support to Fortnite on the Switch Thursday morning. Previously, voice communication on the Switch had required the use of a separate mobile app, which was about as onerous as you'd imagine. But Epic wasn't able to solve the problem of comprehensive cross-play; Fortnite players on PS4 will remain separated from their Switch-based friends.

But when playing Fortnite on the Switch, one obvious thing sticks out. The motion-sensing Joy-Con controllers, which have been put to such great use in shooters like Doom and Splatoon 2, are ignored by Fortnite. Having a new way to aim using the right Joy-Con, instead of using its lackluster analog stick, would have put an interesting spin on the Fortnite gameplay we're all familiar with. It wouldn't match what a mouse and keyboard can do, but the Joy-Con has proven itself to be an accurate aiming device in the right developers' hands. There's potential for a patch somewhere down the line, but at launch, it feels like an obvious oversight.

All that said, Switch fans will likely be happy to see the world's most popular game on their console, and it's the best mobile version of Fortnite by default. Sorry, iOS players. 

Watch this: Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch: This is what it looks like

E3 2018: Everything you need to know

E3 2018 coverage at CNET: All of our E3 2018 coverage in one place.

Biggest games of E3 2018

See all photos