Hands-on: Wreckfest remains bombastic on the Nintendo Switch

Thomas Harrison-Lord
We’ve been playing Wreckfest on the Nintendo Switch, and aside from the logical scaling, the endearing playability and expansive nature remain in place.
Hands-on - Wreckfest remains bombastic on the Nintendo Switch

When the Switch conversion of Wreckfest from PC, PlayStation and Xbox was first announced during the September 2021 Nintendo Direct presentation, I was simultaneously perplexed and excited. 

Wreckfest is one of my favourite racing games and having it in portable form is appealing. But as to how the hybrid console could possibly handle the pulverising action was beyond me. 

Yet, here we are, today, 21st June, Wreckfest has crash-landed onto the Nintendo device and while this is far from a full review – that will come later – I’ve put a few hours of testing in. 

To aim for a smooth experience on the diminutive hybrid console, the detail of the environment surfaces has been dramatically paired back, along with the vehicle liveries and overall resolution, especially when compared to the existing PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X|S versions. 

Wreckfest Nintendo Switch lawnmover crash

Some of the vehicle stickers may as well have been completely removed, as they are blurrier than a smartphone picture of a fighter jet flying by. 

Yet, that’s to be expected. What you need to know at this early stage is that the track furniture is still destructible in all its explosive nature. Your AI-controlled rivals are as wacky as ever, the full career mode you expect is present and ramming rivals in a lawn mower is just as wickedly satisfying as ever. 

Wreckfest Nintendo Switch race crash

The damage model, at this early stage, looks to have mercifully transferred in all its brutality. A core appeal for Wreckfest fans, for the initiated, every vehicle crumples upon impact, gradually reducing to a smoking folded mess. 

The folkrace-inspired dirt track races are engaging, the demolition derby arena events more so – provided you have a group of friends. Online multiplayer for up to 16 people is possible, but not fully available at the time of writing due to playing ahead of the title’s public launch. 

Wreckfest Nintendo Switch gameplay

Even the Tournament mode – where new monthly, weekly and daily challenges reside – is present and correct, currently running the Racing Legends competition. 

With visuals now capped at 30 frames per second, it manages to look eerily like the existing PS4 and Xbox One edition too at times. Sadly, even at this reduced level, it can chug along during high-intensity moments and replays, yet thankfully not to an egregious level.  

Wreckfest Nintendo Switch Tournament mode

Those who will spend hours scouring YouTube graphical comparison videos will no doubt point their finger and laugh – the rest of us will be having fun trying to snatch a last-gasp victory using a sofa car while enduring public transport. In action, it’s slicker than it has any right to be. 

The vehicle handling can be a little skittish at times thanks to the Switch’s digital inputs and while the menu works well when docked, the font is too small to be clearly legible on the smaller screen. So, it’s not all platitudes. 

Wreckfest Nintendo Switch arena

It’s worth repeating that this is an early first look at Wreckfest on the Switch, but my early impressions are that this is an impressive version of an already stellar racing game. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and we’ll be back with a more detailed review soon. 

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