Launching alongside the Nintendo Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in March 2017, the original 1-2-Switch didn’t resonate with critics and consumers. Although intended to showcase the unique features of the Joy-Con, such as HD-Rumble and the IR Motion Sensor Camera, it lacked the polish and charm that Nintendo is typically known for. Despite frankly feeling bare bones and stale, 1-2-Switch was a fully priced release, not even a console pack-in title like Wii Sports was. That being said, it’s not too surprising that reception was mostly of bewilderment when Nintendo announced that a sequel, Everybody 1-2-Switch, was set to be released. However, I personally wanted to give the game a fair chance, and approached it with an open mind while playing with a group of friends, as there is plenty of potential for a Nintendo-developed Jackbox Games-style party game. With all that out of the way, let’s find out if Everybody 1-2-Switch is truly for everybody, or just another unfortunate case of “meh.”
Exactly like its predecessor, Everybody 1-2-Switch is a collection of multiplayer minigames that are designed for the purpose of social interaction, forcing you to get up and move instead of staring at a television screen. This time though, you can play with up to 100 players by using your smartphone or tablet in place of a Joy-Con, hence the “Everybody” being added to the title. There are five minigames that can be played only with a Joy-Con (these ones are only for up to eight players), four that require a smart device, and eight that can be played using either or, making for seventeen minigames in total. Some minigames have alternate variations with minor differences to switch up the gameplay, changing up the rules or just simply adding an extra layer of difficulty, but for obvious reasons, you can’t really count those in the grand scheme of things.
Considering that 1-2-Switch (2017) featured twenty-eight unique minigames, it’s a good thing that Everybody 1-2-Switch only retails for £24.99 EUR / $29.99 USD. The price of the original was frankly inexcusable, costing more than some other AAA titles like Metroid Prime Remastered. Even though Everybody 1-2-Switch feels like a more polished package overall, with the minigames it does have being more enjoyable, it’s a shame it couldn’t at least be on par with the amount of content as its predecessor, even if that meant just porting over the original minigames for some (much needed) extra value.
In the main “Team Contest” mode, Everybody 1-2-Switch has everybody split up into two teams. For uneven teams, there is the option at the start of the game for the smaller teams to receive extra points, but for most of the minigames you’ll be playing, having more people doesn’t provide too much of an advantage. A point is earned by winning a minigame, and the amount of points that a team will need to win is dependent on whether you choose to play a Short 20min Party, Medium 40min Party, or Long 60min Party (3pts, 5pts, or 7pts respectively). Minigames are chosen at random, but the losing team can vote between four for which they’d like to play next. Below you can find a full list of the minigames, along with a brief description.
Balloons – Blow up the balloon until just before it pops.
Hip Bump – Use your hip movements to knock your opponent out of the ring.
Joy-Con Hide and Seek – Make the Joy-Con vibrate to find it.
Jump Rope – Watch for the rope, and jump.
Kitchen Timer – Flip at the right time / Drain at the right time / Lift the Lid at the right time.
Musical Chairs – Sit down as soon as the music stops.
Ninjas – Deflect all the throwing stars with your sword.
Quiz Show – Answer true or false questions as quick as you can.
Relay Race – Run a relay race with the Joy-Con as a baton.
Samurai Sword Fight – Strike down your opponent before they strike you.
Squat – Squat when you hear squat.
Statues – Walk in place, don’t move when he’s looking.
UFOs – Make the signal to greet the aliens.
Auction (smart device required) – Each item has a fixed point value. The value differs for each team. Each team shares their million. You won’t know the other team’s bids.
Bingo (smart device required) – Bingo.
Color Shoot (smart device required) – Memorise and photograph the trending colour.
Ice Cream Parlor (smart device required) – Note the number of scoops ordered, answer as quick as you can.
Most of the minigames are fun enough to play at least once or twice with the right group of people, but there are also a few gold nuggets in the mix. The ones that require you to use a smart device were some of my favourites, and Nintendo made connecting to the game surprisingly simple. All you have to do is get everyone to scan a QR code, and in just a few taps, you’ll be able to choose a custom name and profile picture and jump right into the party. In my experience, there was little noticeable lag or delay, so I gotta give props to Nintendo for that, especially considering this is their first time doing this sort of thing.
Quiz Show and Bingo are both available to play as separate party modes, and for good reason, as they’re two of the best minigames that Everybody 1-2-Switch has to offer. In Quiz Party, you have to answer multiple choice questions as quickly as possible, and there are even special modes where you can write in your own questions to make things more personalised. Bingo, on the other hand, is an excellent version of bingo, a game that every retirement home knows and loves. It’s nothing too crazy, but it gets the job done if you wanna kick back for a nice, casual game. What more is there to say?
Unfortunately, some of the games just feel inferior to the classic counterparts they’re based on. For example, Statues, which is identical in gameplay to the popular childhood game Red Light, Green Light (yes, just like the one from Squid Game), depicts interchanging photographs of a child instructing you when you can move forward, having you run in place with the controller until you’re told to freeze. Since the majority of the time you’ll be looking directly at your friends and family rather than at the screen, minigames such as this one feel uninspired. The same goes for the minigames Musical Chairs, Jump Rope, and Hide and Seek, with the “video game” version possibly hindering the fun you could be having simply by playing it in real life. There are only very specific scenarios, such as a group of 100 people trying to play musical chairs, where Everybody 1-2-Switch would be superior to play in terms of both convenience and enjoyment.
All of the minigames can also be selected to play individually, but with one very important caveat; you must have already played it at least once in Team Contest mode. Everybody 1-2-Switch already has a more difficult “pro” mode as an unlockable for Team Contest, so for Nintendo to also lock all of the minigames behind a play wall is a strange decision to say the least. I can’t think of a good reason why they shouldn’t all be available from the get go. It’s just a family-friendly party game after all.
Speaking of strange decisions, Everybody 1-2-Switch has plenty of them. The instructional host of the game, MC Horase, is a man wearing a horse head mask that appears in the bottom left corner of the screen. Even though it feels like dated early 2000s internet humour, it wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t overly explain things and unnecessarily repeat himself. Fortunately, the video tutorials for each minigame can be skipped after the first viewing, but even after that, there is way too much set-up, explanation, and practise for games that should be self-explanatory. The option to turn these things off would have been nice.
As an antisocial college student in my 20s, I’ll admit that I’m probably not the target audience for Everybody 1-2-Switch. With the right group of people, like at a family reunion or an elementary school pizza party, I can see that there is certainly a few hours of fun to be had here. However, in a smaller group (who were all enthusiastic to play at first) we quickly found that we would rather be playing something like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Nintendo Switch Sports, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, or one of the many Jackbox Party Packs instead. If you happened to be a fan of the original 1-2-Switch, getting the sequel is probably a no-brainer, but otherwise, you’ll likely find it to be a mediocre package that’s equally as entertaining as it is bad.
A copy of Everybody 1-2-Switch for review purposes was provided by Nintendo UK.