Review – Overwatch (Switch)

Since the release of Overwatch in 2016 I’ve put in more hours on it than I would like to admit. It was one of my favourite multiplayer games to play by myself and with friends, thanks to its strong cast of varied characters and addictive gameplay loop. Does the Switch version continue to provide a fun multiplayer experience?


The Switch version keeps most visual features from the others.

For the uninitiated, Overwatch is an online-only hero shooter with no campaign whatsoever. All the effort has been put into the PvP experience, where two teams must fight for an objective across the various maps and modes. It’s all about working with your team of six to either attack or defend an objective from the opposing team. The gameplay is simple yet addictive, all thanks to the huge roster of heroes that all feel different from each other.

At the time of writing, there are 31 characters in the game, and all of them have their own purpose in it. There’s something here that is suited for everyone’s play style and you can play whatever you want in your role, assuming no one else is playing them on your team, although there is some tactical decisions to be made. For example, Winston and Moira can easily deal with a Genji, so switching to a different hero such as Reaper might be beneficial to the team. It encourages experimentation and stepping outside of your comfort zone to try something else. 

There’s also a level of synergy between characters. If you have a Bastion on your team, try switching to a Reinhardt or Orisa to give him some protection with their shields. Or if there is a Pharah in the air, Mercy is always a solid pick to keep her healed up and more difficult to deal with. This is arguably where Overwatch truly shines, by combining characters’ abilities to destroy the opposing team. Despite this, Overwatch is not all that great, with some weak spots in the map design that just make the game more of a chore if your team isn’t trying to work together. The Assault game mode is the biggest offender, with each map having a choke point that can be brutal to push through even with a solid team.


Moira is massively overpowered on Switch.

The Switch version featues the full Overwatch experience, fully up-to-date with all modes and features. This includes all of the heroes, maps and gameplay and balance changes that have been introduced over the years. Overwatch is a different game now than it was a few years ago, and some of these changes made the game much better to play. Role queue is one of the biggest changes for the more competitive players, forcing a team setup of two healers, two attackers and two tanks in the two main modes. If you’re a more casual player, drop into Arcade, where a number of modes exist with tweaked rules.

Playing on Switch has been an interesting experience. Visually, Overwatch was never a graphical powerhouse so it’s no surprise that the Switch can pull it off. Compared to the PC version, it was never going to match up, with its reduced texture quality and absence of a few visual features, but I’m still happy with how it looks. Everything is clear and it’s easy to see what is going on at all times, a vital part of the gameplay experience. Sadly, Overwatch only targets 30 frames per second, which isn’t ideal for a fast-paced shooter. At the very least, it does reach this target framerate 90% of the time, only dropping in the most stressful of situations. It’s not perfect, but it is still a very playable experience, and I hope the drops do get fixed with a patch in the near future.

I did encounter an issue that, in my experience, seems unique to the Switch version. Sometimes at the start of a match, character models wouldn’t load in, and a orange light would take their place. If this occurs, it will usually go away within a few seconds, but in a couple of matches it lasted a little longer. Network lag was also present, ramping up occasionally for a few seconds before stabilizing again. It was also a shame that, being a PC player, I couldn’t transfer my progress over from my Battle.Net account, so I had to start again at level 1 with no unlocks. With a lot of brand new players entering the game, returning players like myself have a huge advantage in terms of game knowledge. This will eventually even out with time but right now I’ve been slaughtering my enemies, even with characters I would otherwise not even bother paying attention to, like Pharah.


Those orange dots are supposed to be players…

I would highly suggest a Pro Controller for this game, otherwise you will be at a slight disadvantage. It’s still a playable game with the joycons, but they just don’t provide an aiming experience suitable for fast paced combat. To give Blizzard some credit, they have done a solid by providing tons of controller options that make full use of the Switch’s unique hardware setup, complete with motion controls to assist with aiming and the ability to use the touchscreen on the menus, which was a nice touch.

Would I recommend Overwatch on Switch?  Well, if you are looking for a fun casual shooter to play, it is a solid pick. But if you want something more competitive, Overwatch on Switch is too uneven and flawed. Just stick to the PC version in that case.


Graphics: 8.0

The Overwatch art style transitions over to switch nicely with only a few cutbacks, such as reduced visual quality and 30 frames per second.

Gameplay: 6.5

The lower frame rate and joycon layout aren’t ideal, but it’s still a very playable multiplayer experience. A Pro Controller is highly recommended.

Sound: 7.5

Sound design is a major component of Overwatch. Sadly, the speakers on the Switch don’t do it justice.

Fun Factor: 7.0

Overwatch may still be fun on the Switch, but it’s not the right fit for the system.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Overwatch is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Overwatch was provided by the publisher.