Super Mario Odyssey is a whimsical and creative platformer that plays relatively well in both docked mode and undocked mode the majority of the time, but there are a few moments when you’ll find docked mode to be preferable. Mario has access to a spin-attack using his cap that makes use of a spinning motion with the Joy-Con controllers. You can use the analog stick in the handheld mode to do this move, but it’s fast with the motion controls, and doing this with a handheld Switch requires you to spin the entire console.
Id Software’s Doom reboot is a brilliant shooter, mixing fast-paced arcade-like control with gloriously gory kills. It runs surprisingly well on the Nintendo Switch, but you’ll run into a few problems when playing it undocked. The Joy-Con’s analog sticks aren’t as big as those on other game controllers, so you’ll find it harder to aim your weapon than if you were using a Pro Controller. The text displayed on the Switch’s screen is also comically tiny, so it will benefit from being played on a larger display.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is one of the few Nintendo Switch games that suffers noticeable downgrades when playing undocked. Resolution will be at 720p when playing on your television, but take the system out of its dock and resolutions can drop to as low as 368p in certain areas. The image is noticeably blurrier, with jagged edges on objects. Given the amount of information and statistics displayed on the screen at any one time in the game, you’re going to want to have a clear image at all times.
You aren’t going to get a bad experience playing Fire Emblem Warriors with the Switch undocked. It runs at 30 frames per second and looks great, but an added framerate boost will lead to a more pleasant experience. When the system is docked, you can choose between “quality mode,” which locks the framerate at 30 frames per second with 1080p resolution, and “performance mode,” which bumps the framerate up to 60 frames-per-second and drops the resolution to 720p. Either way, you’ll be looking at a better version of the game when the system is docked.
Originally released as a Wii U exclusive, the Switch version of Lego City Undercover does not run particularly well when played undocked on the Switch. At launch, players have complained of framerate problems and slowdown. Some reports said the problems made the game just short of unplayable. Things have improved thanks to some software updates, but if you’ve got the choice, you’ll want to experience Chase McCain’s adventure on the big (or bigger) screen.
If you and your gaming partner have impeccable vision, you might not have issues playing Snipperclps undocked, but since the game requires two players to work together to complete puzzles on one screen, you’re going to be crowded on a small system. In docked mode, you’ll have a better view of the action and you’ll still be able to use the simple horizontal Joy-Con controls the game suggests.
The Nintendo Switch allows you to play a great version of Minecraft no matter where you are, but there are a few noticeable advantages to playing it with the system docked. A post-launch patch added support for native 1080p resolution, making the game look noticeably crisper on television sets, and it can keep this resolution along with a high framerate when playing in split-screen mode. With the ability to connect to Xbox One and PC players, as well, you’ll want access to your Wi-Fi network, which you won’t be able to do if you take the console with you somewhere.
Yes, being able to take Skyrim with you on the go is a dream come true, but there are a few concessions you’ll have to put up with that aren’t found when the Nintendo Switch is docked. The undocked version runs at 720p but can drop to below that and then jump up again, resulting in flickering. It’s a small quirk, but it could ruin your immersion. Additionally, the optional Joy-Con motion controls will be much easier to use when playing on a larger display. Adjusting your constantly ballooning inventory will also be easier.