Francis Cook gets his hands on a Switch, Nintendo's latest console that comes with a variety of ways to play.

Making eye contact with a complete stranger while virtually milking a cow is not something I ever imagined would happen.

"You should face each other," we were told. "Do we have to?" I asked. My partner seemed to feel the same way.

We were at a Nintendo Switch hands-on session, the first time the new console has been available for play in New Zealand. Playing a package of games called 1-2-Switch, I never expected this to happen.

After one incredibly awkward round of cow milking we asked to move on, only to be pitted against each other in a western-style duel scenario.


I smoked him twice, but we weren't having fun.

Earlier, my first foray into Nintendo's latest console took me into familiar territory with the remastered classic Mario Kart 8.
Mario Kart 8's latest additions include new characters, new carts and a brand new battle mode. Battle mode's revamp is fantastic and I had a blast bombing my foes.

The initial thing that struck me about the JoyCon controllers was just how tiny they are, however using the JoyCon grip - which turns the separate units into one complete gamepad - makes for a comfortable experience.

We were shown how to switch between TV and portable mode, a seamless process with any graphic downgrade barely noticeable.

Using the device as a handheld, unfortunately, does not feel comfortable. The flat surface makes it hard to rest your fingers.

It wouldn't have been a Switch preview without Zelda Breath of the Wild, and it was today's stand-out game. I used the Pro controller, which is a marked improvement over the Wii U iteration.

Breath of the Wild is shaping up to be fantastic. The new fighting mechanics feel fluid and, even during the short demo, there were plenty of interesting ways to tackle foes. I also really enjoyed cutting down trees.

1-2 Switch was different. The most impressive demonstration was the "HD rumble" in the JoyCons. One game had us guessing how many balls were rolling around in the controller, and it seriously felt like little marbles were rolling around as you tilted.

Finally, I got to check out Arms which is similar to Wii Boxing as the player uses the JoyCons to punch, guard and move. The swings felt accurate and there was a surprising level of strategy required.

With so many ways to play the Switch, I was left feeling a little overwhelmed. In the end, sitting with the Pro controller playing on the TV felt the best - the way I normally play games.

What: Nintendo's new console, the Switch
Games: Launch titles include 1-2-Switch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Skylanders Imaginators, Just Dance 2017 and Super Bomberman.
Release date: March 3
Price: $548