The Nintendo Switch is becoming quite the home for free-to-play games as of late. The hit Fortnite arrived around E3 time, gaining millions of players and becoming a phenomenon for both on-the-go and at-home play. And Paladins isn’t too shabby either, prompting Hi-Rez Studios to work on a port of Smite as well, set to arrive early next year.
But in the middle of all that is Digital Extremes’ Warframe, an exciting free-to-play adventure where you take on all sorts of enemy soldiers in the deep reaches of space, using a destined soldier that makes their way through the galaxy. The game can either be played with just you and random others or with friends, and either way, it’s a blast -- and part of that is due to the game’s developer.
Panic Button handled the game’s conversion to Nintendo Switch. And if that name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s responsible for some of its best efforts, including Rocket League, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and Doom, as well as the forthcoming Doom Eternal -- yes, they’re bringing that beast to Nintendo Switch, too.
The game was released previously for other consoles as well as PC, and on those fronts, it appears to be quite the technical beast, leaving us wondering if the Switch would be up to snuff by comparison. But this is Panic Button that we’re talking about here; and we’re happy to report that the conversion is quite successful.
Part of that is due to how smoothly you can connect online with others. The matches that we took part in through Nintendo’s network (no, you don’t need to be a Nintendo Online member to play in Warframe) handled buttery smooth, even though there were newbies that got a little lost and held up our progress. (That’s obviously not the fault of the developer -- it’s just how the games work sometimes.)
And the team kindly kept the game’s setup when it comes to its free-to-play nature. Warframe is probably the least unfair game out there when it comes to microtransactions, as it doesn’t force you to really buy any sort of stuff to make progress. Updates are automatically applied -- and free, for good measure -- and you can get your hands on some good stuff even without putting down a dime.
And there’s a lot to do in Warframe. You’ll cycle your way through a number of planets, coming across tough bosses, working alongside fellow soldiers to complete missions (when you don’t get lost, mind you), creating different aspects to your loadout (it helps to experiment and try some new stuff, like weapons you thought would hold you back), and more.
Your avatar is also kept track of throughout, so you can see what all you unlock and how much progress you make within the game. The chat window can be annoying sometimes, but, again, that’s just how the game is set up. After a few missions, you’ll get used to how it all lays out.
The starting tutorial for Warframe also does a world of wonder. You’ll learn most of the combat mechanics and what it takes to get movement nailed down; and you’ll soon get into ease with match-ups, even if you manage to take on a few missions on your own to get there. Again, the matchmaking system could use a little fixing; but overall, it’s impressive.
The technical build of Warframe is incredible, perhaps even bigger in scope than Panic Button’s previous endeavors. The layouts of each stage are well implemented; and the game runs very well both on the handheld front and on the television. (Obviously you get more detail through at-home play, but to each their own.) The animations are sharp and the lighting details are surprisingly well-buffered, so that they aren’t overkill. And the game doesn’t take too long to load, either, so you can jump right into the action.
As for how it plays, Warframe handles in an exciting manner, as you can either shoot or hack your way through enemy forces with ease. The handling is very precise, even in handheld mode, and the game’s challenge level, while great at times, never gets overwhelming. The PvE stuff is always engaging, and PvP isn’t too bad either with its various modes. Just make sure your skills are up to snuff before you jump into battle with others, though.
Again, Warframe is balanced enough to give you some goods through experience via completed missions, though extra stuff is available if you prefer to buy it outright. Either way, though, you’ll find that the experience that Warframe has to offer is something else. On other consoles, the game is already a blast. But thanks to Panic Button, it’s a tour-de-force on Switch, providing a free-to-play experience that eclipses Paladins and, in some ways, maybe even Fortnite. It’s a hefty download, coming in at around 12.5GB with updates, though that’s not nearly as large as what Panic Button’s Doom and Wolfenstein II ports do.0comments
So if you have the space, definitely give it a look. It’s got the right Warframe of mind.
(Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.)