Top 10 Impossible Switch Ports

It’s always painful hearing that a big name title is skipping your console of choice, it could be due to an exclusivity deal, or dwindling sales or it could be your console is just a bit shit, and then there’s Nintendo. As someone who has supported them since the GameCube days, I can tell you stories of true heartbreak of seeing a trailer for an exciting new game, full of action and all that good shit, with the Nintendo logo nowhere to be seen. Since the N64 days, its been one reason or another why third parties just didn’t pay much attention to systems from the Big N. It could be the specs under the hood, performance in the market, or just by the storage they were using at the time. 

But, after years of frustration things may finally be turning around. When the Switch was originally unveiled, one of the first titles shown running on the system was none other than Skyrim, a game that had never seen release on a Nintendo platform before. Soon enough, developers big and small started swarming to the system, which was becoming unstoppable in sales, and after 3 years the system has seen the release of many major titles, some you’d never thought possible on the hybrid console.

10 – Mortal Kombat 11

Being the first Mortal Kombat game released on a Nintendo home console since 2007’s Armageddon on the Wii, there was a lot of desire to make sure the Switch port of Mortal Kombat 11 lived up to the series legacy. Being handled by Miami based studio Shiver Etertainment, the Switch version amazingly outputs at an (almost) steady 60FPS.

However, they’ve achieved this by really sacrificing everything else, from textures to extremely pixelated hair its clear nothing was sparred in the hopes of getting the best performance on the system. You could argue that a fighting game benefits from a solid framerate over pretty and defined graphics.

The worst part about the port is the fact Mortal Kombat 11 requires an always online connection to access features like The Krypt and Towers of Time which really limits its ability to play on the go, it makes you wonder if it was all worth it in the end.

9 – Outer Worlds

After Bethesda dropped the ball, and really everything else, with Fallout 76. It came down to Obsidian to pick up the slack with their spiritual sequel to New Vegas. While there were criticisms about the PC version being made exclusive to the Epic Store, overall reception was positive concerning the writing and just how alive the world of Halcyon felt. However, no one would have expected to see that world on Nintendo Switch, which just made it all the more insane when it was announced last July. The port itself was being handled by Vitruos, who were no strangers to the system, handling many ports including LA Noire, Dark Souls and the Bioshock Collection.

However, Outer Worlds on Switch should be considered the Jurassic Park of Switch Ports “You were so preoccupied with whether or not you could, you didn’t stop to think if you should.”. Outer Worlds does run on Switch, much like in the same way a one-legged man can technically run in the right conditions, and even the porting magic at Virtuos didn’t have the right conditions this time.

I’d say Outer Worlds on the Switch looked like “potato” quality, but at least with potatoes, you can add melted butter, some sour cream, maybe some chivesOH and some fried up bacon that always goes well…*cough* sorry, but at least in that situation I get something good, and while nothing has been removed content-wise from Outer Worlds on Switch, it’s totally muddled with low-grade textures and most of the terrain replaced with green and brown smears.

All of these sacrifices do at least promise a somewhat steady 30FPS, and at the end that is really all that matters. Yeah it looks like ass, but it’s at least an ass that has eaten lots of fibre today.

8 – Overwatch

Overwatch isn’t just a port that many people didn’t think would happen, some including yours truly thought that at the time it SHOULDN’T happen. At the time of Overwatch’s release on Switch, Blizzard had been brushing themselves off following the suspension of Hearthstone player, Blitzchung and their non-apology at BlizzCon. 

While graphically and performance-wise, there is nothing wrong with the Switch port of Overwatch, it honestly has to do with timing. The port was released in 2019, 3 whole years after its release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. At the time Blizzard was promoting how Overwatch had over 40 Million Players.

OK, then why would anyone buy Overwatch on Switch then? One of the biggest missing features of Overwatch is the ability to Cross-Platform, meaning you are tied to playing with just your systems userbase, even worse there is no way to transfer stats and unlocks from one platform to another. So if your friend has Overwatch on PS4, there is no way to join them if you have Xbox One or Switch, so even old players who want a new experience on Switch (complete with gyro controls for Junkrat’s Riptire, cause why not) have to start from scratch.

What’s worse, is that just a month after its release, Blizzcon announced the “completely needed” Overwatch 2, with a planned release on Switch. Ignoring my thoughts on whether or not the sequel is even needed, it again makes the original feel redundant.

7 – Diablo 3

Continuing with Blizzard announced out of nowhere in August 2018, was that Diablo 3 was coming to the switch. The series was a mainstay of PC Gaming until the 3rd title saw release on PS4 and Xbox back in 2013. Nintendo is no stranger to Blizzard though, receiving its own version of Starcraft on the N64 and there were even plans for a Diablo prequel on the Game Boy.

Blizzard made the announcement with a little help from Nintendo’s then bigwig, Reggie Fils-Amie and some fairly wooden acting.

Being handled by Iron Galaxy Studios, who were also responsible bringing Overwatch to the system. Diablo 3 has rock solid performance on the portable Switch, which just makes you wonder even more why anyone would bother with a game like Diablo: Immortal, Never mind Blizzard’s attitude to the whole thing.

6 – Skyrim

It’s been considered the “cockroach of gaming”, the game that just won’t die and yet funny enough despite being ported to everything. Skyrim, nay the Elder Scrolls series in general, had never shown up on a Nintendo platform. When the Switch was first shown off, one of the very first games shown however was Skyrim running on the handheld, naturally, this got everyone excited.

Funnily enough, Bethesda wouldn’t confirm Skyrim was coming to Switch until the January 2017 presentation 4 months later. It’s not uncommon for third parties to announce their support and end up not doing anything, but in a situation where the game is shown off specifically in the announce trailer, it would have been incredibly awkward to have nothing become of it. Fortunately, though the game saw release in November and was an immediate hit selling over a million copies. While not supporting mods like the other systems though, there is Amiibo support that allows you to dress up as Link.

5 – A Hat in Time

You’d think a game like this wouldn’t appear on such a list, but given the history, you really can’t blame me. As you are probably aware, A Hat in Time was a crowdfunded game back in 2015, inspired by titles like Super Mario Sunshine and Banjo Kazooie. Naturally, there was a lot of desire to see the game on a Nintendo platform, as they originally teased a Wii U version. That just made it all the sadder when it became obvious that wouldn’t happen.

A Hat in Time was released in 2017 on the PC, PS4 and Xbox One, by then the Wii U was dead and buried (buried deep), but the desire for a Switch version was still hotly requested to the point any inquires on the games social platforms was met by mockery and a quick shut down.

Because the game ran on Unreal 3, a trusted yet outdated engine, there was no way to port the game to the Nintendo Switch natively and any attempts would be incredibly costly to the small studio, Gears for Breakfast. So instead of just fielding a lifetime of “we’ll see” responses, the game’s director Jonas Kaerlev basically just stuck too “It’s not going to Happen”

Until it did happen.

After years of hoping A Hat in Time arrived on Switch, complete with all expansion packs, however, it wasn’t a complete slam dunk. Porting the game saw a major decrease in quality with many of the same loading issues as PC, however, that still didn’t take away any enjoyment playing through this adorable platformer one more time.

4 – Metro Redux

Back in 2011, the Wii U was the hot new thing getting pimped out and during Nintendo’s presentation, we saw a large line up of third party devs lining up to show their support. While we all know how well that went, during the event a sizzle reel was shown off highlighting titles from Third Parties including Darksiders 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3.

One of these titles was Metro Last Light, a sequel to Metro: 2033. However much like other titles in the sizzle reel like DIRT, Ghost Recon Online and Aliens: Colonial Marine the game would never see a release on the system (although some were better off cancelled). Last Light stood out as the developers behind the series, 4A Games, publically called out the Wii U for having “a horrible slow CPU”

The Wii U would never receive Last Light and Nintendo fans would only have to wait another 8 years to finally be able to play it. Performance wise, the game was ported inhouse by 4A themselves and the outcome is almost on par with the PS4 and Xbox One releases, whether that speaks more for the power of the Switch or the lack of power in the Wii U, I’ll leave that up to you.

3 – The Witcher 3

In 2019, rumours started spreading the CD Projekt Red’s hit title, The Witcher 3 would be arriving on the Switch. While the thought of playing as Geralt on the go was appealing, many thought it was way too ambitious to ever appear on the system. Lo and behold at E3 2019 it was indeed confirmed the game would be arriving on the Switch.

Unlike a lot of other high profile third party titles, Geralt’s adventure was completely housed on the cartridge as compared to the cheapskate option of requiring a large chunk to be downloaded. The port itself was handled by Saber Interactive who have handled several other ports to the system including Vampyr, dubbed “The Impossible Port” the game ran at 720p at 30fps Docked and 540p in Handheld mode, making the game look far more blurred than the competition. Even with those limitations, everything is still here meaning you can watch Geralt in the bathtub while taking your own.

2 – Crysis Remastered

“But can it run Crysis” That one question has been the butt of jokes when it comes to PC rigs for almost 15 years. When Crysis arrived on PC back in 2007 it was like nothing we had seem before, with demanding specs to boot. At the time, buying a Graphics Card to truly experience the title cost upwards of 500$. While the gameplay and story didn’t set the world on fire, what stood out the most was the lush scenery and the advanced physics that allowed the destructive scenery.

In 2020 it was announced that the title would be Remastered for modern systems…..including Switch. Which, lets be honest has finally put an end to that joke once and for all. While Crysis has always be praised for its graphical fidelity, even after all this time, the gameplay is a fairly mixed bag with enemy AI being incredibly frustrating and the power armour proves to be fairly useless.

This is a very odd situation though because after the trailers for Crysis Remastered were released, there was considerable backlash over what the fans perceived as a lackluster attempt at a remaster. This has lead to all versions being delayed, except the Switch version which was released at the end of July. This is because the Switch version was being handled by a different studio, our old friends Saber Interactive. So right now we are in a situation where a port is being released before the original, you can’t get more 2020 than that.

1 – Doom 2016/Wolfenstein 2

At the end of the day, these two games deserve the top spot for a very simple reason. Announced on a Nintendo Direct six months after the release of the Switch, this announcement was truly the beginning of the Switch’s success with third parties. While the Switch certainly saw third party support at its launch, so has many other Nintendo systems, its the ones that stick around that make all the difference.

The announcement of DOOM 2016 and Wolfenstein didn’t just show us that Bethesda had confidence in the Switch but they were willing to bring iD Tech 6 to the system. From there the flood gates were open

But let’s not kid ourselves, Doom on Switch doesn’t run anywhere close to its big brothers, which themselves are dwarfed by the options available to everyone on PC. But the folks over at Panic Button who have handled numerous other Switch ports including Rocket League made a version of Doom so good you barely even notice it runs at half the framerate.

Honourable Mention – Persona 5

A port so impossible, its yet to show up…….*sob*