In the hustle and bustle of E3 2018, a brief aside announcing "Hey, Fortnite: Battle Royale is out for the Nintendo Switch!" should by all rights get lost in the sound and fury. But this is Fortnite we're talking about. Fornite—and the Nintendo Switch. People have been waiting for this pair-up for a long time, and it's already proving a popular combination.
I'm lukewarm on battle royale games and tend to bounce off them quickly. But I promised myself I'd give Fortnite a big try when it arrived on Switch. I did it, and I've concluded while I might not wind up playing it as religiously as the average 12-year-old, I will likely return—and it's the Switch version of Fortnite I'll reach for when I'm taken by the itch. It boots up quickly, there are few technical issues to speak of, and the ability to switch from private play to public and back again makes it the ideal system for learning the ins-and-outs of Fortnite upon.
"Everything is better on the Switch" is a joke that's becoming an adage. I've played battle royale games on mobile, on PC, and on Xbox One, but the very act of running, hiding, and hunting feels best-suited for Nintendo's system. Playing any kind of multiplayer shooter makes me feel vulnerable to begin with, but the Switch in handheld mode lets you hunch over a private screen while you just kind of pull yourself into a small, secure ball. Strange as it sounds, I feel less anxious when playing Fortnite on Switch than any other shooter game on any other platform. Mobile iterations of Fortnite and PUBG offer the same sense of security, though the Switch's controllers and just-right screen size puts Epic's latest port of Fortnite at an advantage.
Related: If you're new to a game like Fortnite, getting the chance to slip into a game and figure it out in private can be much preferable to having people jab at your TV, or your monitor, or whatever while declaring "What are you doing, you idiot?" Granted, that might be a determent if you thrive on friends yelling advice from the couch, but a docked Switch solves that problem. Overall, the versatility of the Switch makes it a great "learner system" for Fortnite newcomers.
I played several games of Fortnite on Switch, including solo and team play. I never had a problem with connectivity, and though I did encounter a bit of stuttering during one or two matches, I didn't have any problems comparable to PUBG's first stumbling steps onto Xbox One. Moreover, the Switch port isn't segregated. You can pal around with Fortnite players on mobile, PC, and Xbox One.
There's just one big problem with Fortnite on the Switch, and it's not Nintendo or Epic's problem so much as Sony's. If your Fortnite account is linked to the PlayStation 4 version of the game, you can't use it to sign in to the Switch version. That means all your levels and skins can't be accessed on the Switch. That's a major turn-off, and it makes me even more comfortable with sticking to the Switch version of the game.
It works out, anyway. If you're like me and you find Fortnite hard to "get into," I'd recommend downloading the Switch release anyway. The pick-up-and-play nature of the Switch lets you jump into a battle without delay, and the private nature of the Switch makes it a comfortable platform to learn on—unless you want to broadcast your multiple failures to your entire living room, which the Switch also makes simple. As for me, I'm going to play just one more game of Fortnite. Maybe two.