Review – Wreckfest (Switch)

One of the things I like the most about the Embracer Group, besides the fact they are, somehow, the largest publishing conglomerate in the world right now, is that they aren’t bothered by the odds. THQ Nordic, their main publishing branch, isn’t bothered by the Switch’s inferior hardware; they will port their games to that system if given the chance. Darksiders III, SpongeBob, Destroy All Humans; none of these games felt like something the Switch would run natively (and decently), but here we are. They exist, and even if they are worse than their PS4 counterparts, I like the fact that these ports exist. Wreckfest, on the other hand, is a different story.

Wreckfest was a game I thought to be nigh impossible to port on the Switch. You rarely see demanding games with proprietary engines being ported to the system. That’s possibly one of the reasons we still haven’t seen ports of Persona 5 to it. Porting a proprietary engine to a console with PC architecture is one thing, but doing so for a system whose CPU is based on mobile phones must be an extra hassle. Wreckfest had a notoriously long development cycle, taking a long time to be released to PC, and even longer to be ported to other consoles. It even received native PS5 and Xbox Series X ports before this Switch version. How well would the Switch fare with a game definitely not made with its weak hardware in mind? Better than I could have predicted, in fact.

Wreckfest Demolition Camper

The arcade mode is the highlight of this Switch version.

First of all, let me explain what Wreckfest is in case you don’t know. Developed by Bugbear, the same folks behind the cult hit FlatOut, Wreckfest is a racing/demolition derby simulator. Remember the good old days playing Destruction Derby on your PS1 or Nintendo 64? This follows the same trend, letting you race in small tracks or just battle against each other in closed arenas, but bloodring bangers aren’t the only kinds of cars available in this game. You can drive everything from a lawnmower to a combine harvester, and everything in between. Want to race against normal cars while driving a school bus with no brakes? Sure, why not?

One thing mentioned on our review of the first release of Wreckfest, way back in 2018, was an apparent lack of content, which was slightly mitigated over the past few years. Sure, the amount of cars at your disposal isn’t immense, but you can fully customize them with parts acquired on the game’s reasonably lengthy career mode. All of them are fully tunable as well, even though, for all intents and purposes, you don’t exactly need to care a lot about their stats during races. It’s not that the physics aren’t decent, on the contrary, but the overall chaotic nature of the game makes these customization options borderline irrelevant. You want to crash onto everything in sight, and this is what you’ll do.

Wreckfest Photo Mode

Wreckfest features a confusing (blame the crappy UI), but fun photo mode. The best way to properly see the damage you’re dealing.

What you really want to know from this review is if Wreckfest manages to hold up on such inferior hardware. I won’t lie, I was worried. THQ Nordic’s track record on the system isn’t entirely bad, but I don’t think they have ever attempted to port such a demanding game for the console. This is a game featuring really complex physics, sixteen concurrent racers in one match, well-constructed (and destructible) car models, and a proprietary engine. Somehow the Switch manages to run it better than expected. Sure, at 30fps, and with reduced graphical fidelity (less impressive textures and a lower resolution), but all things considered, the frame pacing and visuals are still much better than most AA ports to the system.

Loading times are not as long as a game like this would make you assume, as the file size hasn’t been overly compressed. All in all, things ran smoothly, and all content featured in other ports is included in the Switch version. With that said, there is one singular mode that stood out in this version: Arcade. Boot Wreckfest up, go straight to the arcade mode prompt, set up a match, and go nuts. The Switch is a godsend for arcade gaming, all thanks to its portable nature, so picking the game up and playing a quick match is the ideal way to enjoy Wreckfest on-the-go.


Running around and crashing tuned lawnmowers sounds really dangerous and stupid. And fun.

I already knew that Wreckfest was a well-received game, but you never know when a more demanding game will not only run well on the Switch, but also feel right at home on a portable. Thanks to its addictive gameplay, acceptable performance, the “pick up and play” nature of its arcade mode, as well as some impressive loading times, Wreckfest is a shockingly good time on Nintendo’s handheld, even if it clearly doesn’t hold up when compared to other console ports in terms of visuals and performance. Being able to crash a bunch of cars inside an arena while driving a deranged combined harvester, on-the-go? I’d be a madman if I said I wasn’t having a ton of fun doing that.


Graphics: 7.5

Considering the dated and underpowered hardware, Wreckfest looks and runs decently on the Switch. Textural quality is not as bad as expected, and there are tons of particle and destruction effects onscreen. It does look a bit grainy due to what I assume is a low resolution, but that is mitigated when playing the game in portable mode.

Gameplay: 7.5

It’s responsive and it runs at 30fps. A stable 30fps, but 30fps nonetheless. It gets the job done for the hardware.

Sound: 7.5

A soundtrack comprised of a ton of okay-at-best nu-metal songs being played on the background. Even if the music is good, you don’t exactly pay a lot of attention at it. The crashes and destruction effects own your ears during gameplay.

Fun Factor: 8.5

Thanks to its addictive gameplay, impressively solid loading times, and arcade mode, Wreckfest is a shockingly good time on the Switch, even if it clearly doesn’t hold up when compared to other console ports in terms of visuals and performance.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Wreckfest is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, Nintendo Switch, and Stadia.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Wreckfest was provided by the publisher.