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Fortnite season 5’s changes on the Nintendo Switch make it great for casual play

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Switch’s motion controls and visual indicators make for a wonderful combo

Fortnite Season 5 header (rifts and two main characters)

Fortnite has just entered its fifth season, which has brought big changes to the game and its map. And while the iOS version has one of the most interesting new additions, two new features have made the Nintendo Switch port feel unique, and it’s fast becoming my favorite platform for casual play.

The first is the inclusion of the sound visualizer. This was initially added to the mobile version of the game so you could see where sounds are coming from when you have the volume down, but it’s now available in the accessibility options in every version of the game. The second is Switch-specific: Motion controls with the Joy-Cons have been added to the game. You can now tilt the controllers to aim, and there’s even an option to enable this mode only when looking down the sights of a weapon.

Together, these two features make my casual play experiences much more entertaining.

Showing off the sound visualizer in Fortnite on Switch
While healing, I could use the visualizer to see where fire was coming from.
Epic Games via Polygon

The sound visualizer solves one of the Switch’s biggest issues. I often play Fortnite wherever I can find Wi-Fi, so it’s not uncommon for me to sneak in a few matches while I’m taking a break in the office, waiting to catch a flight or curled up on the couch in the evening. However, I’m usually playing while doing something else, so I rarely have my headphones in — especially since there’s no easy way to get Bluetooth headphones working with the Switch. Sound plays a big role in Fortnite, as it helps you identify threats and find all-important chests, which contain higher quality gear.

Epic Games understood this out of the gate on iOS, and added visual indicators that illustrate the sources of sounds. It’s one of the features that stuck out in a pleasant way when I played the mobile version for the first time back in March. It’s a perfect addition for the Switch, especially when playing in portable mode.

However, prior to this patch, I did miss the fine control I got on the PC version using my mouse and keyboard. The Switch is a difficult platform to play intense shooters on, especially if you’re using the Joy-Cons. Precise aiming is difficult, and many times, I felt like I was missing the mark because I couldn’t line up shots well. Motion controls are a huge help in this area.

Fortnite - using the Switch’s motion controls to aim more accurately with a sniper rifle
Using the Switch’s motion controls to aim more accurately with a sniper rifle.
Epic Games via Polygon

The motion controls add a layer of fine-tuning to aiming that was sorely missing on the Switch. I was able to use guns like the sniper rifle with ease once I enabled this feature and limited it to the moments I was aiming down the sights. It makes playing the game and aiming with accuracy so much easier, even in portable mode. I’ve run my battery down multiple times playing Fortnite this way over the past few days.

The Switch isn’t the perfect platform for more serious play; you’re going to miss the options of having your mouse and keyboard or that huge 4K screen. But casual play on Nintendo’s system is made much better by these two features, to the point where it may now be my favorite system for Fortnite.