The battle royale juggernaut Fortnite expanded its reach further by launching on Nintendo Switch soon after it was officially announced during Nintendo’s E3 presentation. It’s free on the Eshop and has all the features of the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC versions (except for the co-op Save the World mode–it’s Battle Royale only). Fortnite on Switch lives within the same ecosystem as all other versions; as soon as you hop in, Season 4 and the current weekly challenges are live. The Battle Pass is available, and grouping up in parties works the same.
Although you can link your Epic account to the Switch version if you’ve been playing on PC, Xbox One, or mobile to keep working on your progress, PS4 players are left in the dust. Sony is blocking user from linking accounts cross-platform, which also means there’s no cross-play between these platforms. This says more about Sony than it does about Nintendo, but it’s something long-time PS4 players should know, as well as those hoping to play with their PS4-having friends.
Your mileage will vary when playing with Joy-Con; Fortnite is a shooter after all. Weapons that require precise aiming, like sniper rifles, are a bit more difficult to use given the limited range of motion of the Joy-Con analog sticks. Don’t expect motion controls to save you since they haven’t been implemented. Pro Controller owners wouldn’t have to worry about this, of course. Otherwise, all the controls from using a gamepad are sensibly translated to Switch.
One of the more significant differences to note while playing on Nintendo’s handheld-console hybrid is that the framerate has taken a hit, both docked and undocked. Certain visual anomalies like texture pop-in are noticeable, but don’t really affect gameplay like the lower framerate does. This makes firefights and building intricate structures harder to manage, especially when things get hectic. A PC can theoretically run an unlimited framerate and PS4 and Xbox One run at a smooth 60 FPS, and jumping between those versions and the Switch might be jarring for some players. By no means does this make Fortnite unplayable on Nintendo’s platform; the core gameplay remains intact even if it’s not the most optimal version.
Since Fortnite: Battle Royale is a solely a multiplayer experience, you’ll need to be connected to the internet at all times to play. And unfortunately, as noted above, the cooperative mode called Save The World is not currently available to Switch users.
For a more critical look at this wildly popular game that has had tens of millions of players, be sure to read our official Fortnite: Battle Royale review. We had some idea that Fortnite was coming to Switch even before E3, thanks to Chance The Rapper speaking too soon in a hilarious tweet. A few other members of the GameSpot staff had impressions of Fortnite on Switch and you can watch their discussion.