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The Nintendo Switch Chicago Preview Event

Friend of the site, Greg Meyer, had a chance to go hands on with the Switch at one of the exclusive events. In anticipation of tomorrow's release, he's put together a bunch of impressions to get you excited for what's coming next for Nintendo.

Sonic Mania

Sonic is back with a new 2D platformer for Switch (as well as PS4, Xbox One, and PC) that harkens back to his glory days on the Sega Genesis. While there’s a negative reputation to the Sonic series as of late, after spending some time with Mania, I walked away impressed with developer Headcannon’s work with everyone’s favorite hedgehog.

This was a co-op demo, with Sonic and Tails as playable characters. For this demo, we each used a separate joy-con as our controllers, so Switch owners can play co-op without having to buy a separate controller. The controls were simple; using the joystick for movement, while the X button controlled jumping. Holding down on the joystick while pressing the jump button allowed Sonic and Tails to charge up a spin dash.  I was skeptical about using only one button for jumping and to spin dash, but after trying it I never ran into an issue.

There were two levels available for the demo: the familiar Green Hill Zone from Sonic 1 and a new level called Studiopolis. Marcus and I took turns playing as Sonic and Tails. For Green Hill Zone, I played as Sonic, while in Studiopolis I used Tails.

Sonic Mania’s graphics are bright and colorful, reminiscent of the Genesis games, but in HD. Green Hill Zone eased us back into the familiar world of 2D Sonic, with a variety of paths to take before reaching the boss. The level allows players to race through the level as fast as they can, with only a few “gotcha” moments to punish inattentive players (like me) to fall off a ledge into a pit of spikes. The level ended with the traditional Eggman boss battle. Sonic had to avoid a trio of connected spikey spheres while jumping into Eggman’s ship at the top of the level.

Studiopolis, the new level, would feel right at home in Sonic 2. The level felt like a tribute to Casino Night Zone, but with a musical twist, and featured screens with Eggman dancing with a cane in the background. Microphone enemies would pop down from the ceiling and swing into Sonic and Tails. Escaping Studiopolis involved plenty of jumping and navigating around obstacle areas, so don’t expect to blaze through this level in a straight shot.

Sonic Mania should be a fun single player, or co-op experience. However, I forgot from my 16-bit days that playing as Tails can be a disorienting experience. The camera focuses on Sonic, and it’s easy for the second player to lose Tails off screen if the Hedgehog speeds away. Once Sonic slows down, Tails will fly back on screen and rejoin the action. Keep that in mind when playing Sonic Mania with a friend.

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Matt Snee Staff Writer

03/02/2017 at 02:10 PM

great article.  I'm pretty excited about the switch, but am waiting a bit until there're more games.  Excited for those who are getting it though!


03/02/2017 at 05:44 PM

Thanks! I think waiting to pick up the Switch is valid if you're wanting a fuller library, or a fleshed out eShop. I'm happy with what's coming out now to pick it up tonight, but I see why others would want to wait.


03/02/2017 at 06:45 PM

Oops, accidentally IP banned you. You didn't have  an avatar so I banned you instead of the spammer I meant to ban.


03/02/2017 at 10:25 PM

No worries! Gotta take down those bots when they pop up. I've changed my avatar to help distinguish myself.

Super Step Contributing Writer

03/02/2017 at 04:31 PM

What would you tell someone who might just get a Wii U instead for Zelda?

How much are games like Arms and Snipperclips? 

Do you think the Switch will have enough battery life on the go, and do you see yourself playing it mostly that way or primarily at home?

How awkward does it get having to stare into the other player's sould instead of the screen during things like cow milking minigames?


03/02/2017 at 05:57 PM

Hey, I'll try to address all your questions in one post. 

1) Zelda on Wii U- We only saw the Switch version at the Nintendo event. My friend that came with me isn't getting a Switch right away, but owns a Wii U. He loved the Zelda demo, and definitely plans on buying the Wii U version. If I couldn't get a Switch, I wouldn't hesitate picking up the Wii U version. If you even only like Zelda, I'd still recommend picking it up. 

2) Snipperclips is $20 US on the eShop at launch. Arms doesn't have a price yet. Though I seemed a bit down on it in my impressions, I still enjoyed my time with Arms, and I'll be following it as we learn more about it.

3) I didn't get a chance to play Switch in handheld mode, but when I pick it up tonight I'll have an answer for you. I play a ton of off tv play with Wii U and my 3DS while watching TV, so I definitely see myself using this feature a ton. I won't take it on the go until I get a case for it, but I'd take it with me. I still go around with my 3DS for streetpassing.

4) When my friend and I went to the event, Marcus told me he didn't want to play that minigame at all costs. I obliged, though I don't think it would bother me. I like games like WarioWare, where you do silly games, so I'm immune to that. I'm not sure I would've wanted to milk a cow in front a crowd of strangers though.

5) Don't be so quick to dismiss Sonic Mania because it's a throwback. It plays great, and it was one of my favorite demos from the event. It might not impress you with the visuals, but it's still a neat game.

6) Don't feel bad for wanting another version of SFII. It looks like Capcom has put a lot of love in this game, and it shows.

Super Step Contributing Writer

03/02/2017 at 07:33 PM

Thanks for the replies! To be honest, i love 16 bit graphics, I'm just not sure old Sonics are for me gameplay wise. I'd give it a chance though.


03/02/2017 at 10:24 PM

I totally get that. I played a ton of 16 bit Sonic back in the day and loved it. Playing Sonic Mania brought me back to those days. Keep an eye on it when it comes out, and it just might surprise you.

Super Step Contributing Writer

03/02/2017 at 04:33 PM

I didn't realize Sonic Mania was a 16-bit throwback ... I'm actually less excited now, to be honest. I thought it was going to be like Generations. 

It's a little stupid that I still kinda want to play the 500th edition of SFII, but here we are. 


03/02/2017 at 05:05 PM

I'm putting the Switch version of Zelda on my rental list. When it gets sent to me, probably months from now, I'm getting a Switch. The portability of the system actually is starting to appeal to me now. I think I have a use for it.

Catherine Hauser Staff Alumnus

03/03/2017 at 12:35 PM

Sold me on Snipperclips! I think I will grab that from the shop later today. Fantastic article. I tried to get tickets to this event but no such luck!


03/04/2017 at 12:31 AM

Thank you! My wife and I played Snipperclips today, and we've been enjoying it so far. It's a charming little game, and I can see why Nintendo decided to publish this themselves.

As for getting tickets to the event, as soon as Nintendo sent me an invite I jumped on it. I missed out on the Wii U event they invited me to in 2012, but I wasn't going to miss this.


03/04/2017 at 12:36 AM

A quick update on Bomberman's controls: I tried it out today using my joy-con, and I'm not experiencing the odd jerky behavior from the demo. There's two possible reasons. Konami might've tightened the controls since the demo, and I hope this is the case. The other possibility is that my problems came from the d-pad of the switch pro controller I used at the event. I don't have the pro controller, so I can't say for sure at this time.

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