Nintendo Switch Lite Compatibility Guide: Which Games Have Issues?
Nintendo's new iteration of the Switch, the Switch Lite, is officially here. The new model released on September 20, and besides the smaller size and lower price tag, it features a key difference that allows it to live alongside the existing version: The Lite is handheld only. It lacks the original model's ability to dock with a TV, though there are some other differences as well. For instance, there are no detachable Joy-Con controllers, nor is there an IR sensor or HD Rumble functionality. Ahead of our full review, you can check out our Switch Lite impressions.
One key thing to be aware of if you're interested in picking up a Switch Lite is the issue of game compatibility. As you'd expect, stripping out some of the original Switch's major features inevitably impacts several existing games and their ability to be played on Switch Lite. Nintendo itself has acknowledged this fact by saying the console only plays games that work in handheld mode. With a massive library of over 2,000 games and counting, you might not easily recall all the games that are affected by this. Below you can find a list of the most notable ones that are expected to be impacted by the Switch Lite's altered setup.
The Switch Lite will be priced at $200 and is available in three colors: grey, yellow, and turquoise. But if you're looking for a fancier limited edition, an off-white Pokemon-themed Switch Lite is releasing on November 8. For more on the upcoming redesign, check out our comprehensive Switch Lite FAQ.
Is there a game on this list you're bummed to hear will be impacted by the Switch Lite's feature changes? Let us know in the comments so we can both mourn together as a family.
Ring Fit Adventure
Ring Fit Adventure is an upcoming Wii Fit-like exercise game that revolves around the use of a ring-shaped peripheral. For the game to work, the Switch's Joy-Cons need to be slotted into the peripheral, but since there are no detachable Joy-Cons on the Switch Lite, Ring Fit Adventure is likely to be unplayable. Though, if you had a pair of Joy-Cons on hand, you could manage to play using the Switch Lite as a monitor. However, this is probably the last way you'd want to experience Ring Fit Adventure.
Super Mario Party
Super Mario Party's playability is significantly reduced on the Switch Mini since the game emphasizes local and online multiplayer in docked mode. It doesn’t let you get to the title screen until both your Switch is docked and your Joy-Cons are connected. Super Mario Party does have Toad's Rec Room, which is the only undocked mode in the game. But given the Switch Lite's form factor, this will likely not work correctly, nor will you be able to access it. If you're big on playing Mario Party, this could make the Switch Lite a total dealbreaker.
1-2-Switch is a party game that gets its players off the couch with Joy-Cons in-hand to compete in goofy mini-games. At launch, it was a showcase of the Switch's unique capabilities with one-off competitive games that took advantage of the Joy-Con's HD rumble, IR sensors, and convertible functionality. Since the Switch Lite has no detachable Joy-Cons--and by extension, any HD rumble or IR sensor functionality--1-2-Switch isn’t playable out of the box. However, this problem can be solved by purchasing and connecting separate Joy-Cons, but without a rear kickstand, you're going to need something to prop up your Switch Lite. The smaller screen size isn't necessarily ideal either.
The various Labo construction kits are not compatible with Switch Lite due to its smaller size and form factor. Labo was designed to fit with the standard-sized Switch, so if you’re hoping to use these crafty cardboard peripherals with the Switch Lite, you're out of luck--at least until Nintendo decides to release versions designed with the new size in mind.
Arms is impacted by Switch Lite’s lack of detachable Joy-Cons. The primary allure of Arms was its distinct use of motion-controls, which had you shadow boxing with a Joy-Con in each hand to fight your opponents in-game. However, this doesn’t stop you from being able to play, as you’re still able to use standard button inputs. Regardless, playing without Joy-Cons does diminish some of the magic of this flawed yet entertaining fighter.
Like Arms, the similarly energetic Fitness Boxing is affected by the absence of Joy-Cons. The only way to play this rhythm-workout game is by purchasing separate Joy-Cons. But even then, the experience isn’t entirely optimized for handheld play unless you’re okay with following all the incoming beats on the Switch Lite’s smaller screen.
The Just Dance Series
Without Joy-Cons, you can't play any of the Just Dance games on Switch Lite. But even if you had a few on-hand, it wouldn't be the ideal way to play given the new console's screen size and removed kickstand. Just Dance was always designed to be a living room party game displayed on a TV.
Jackbox Party Pack Games
The popular Jackbox Party Pack games are hampered by the Switch Lite's design and emphasis on portable play. Without a docked mode, you and your friends are going to have to huddle around a tiny screen to follow along with these comically fun party games.
Super Mario Maker 2
Creating levels in Super Mario Maker 2 in docked mode is hardly the recommended way to do so--which makes the Switch Lite's limitations work in its favor. Without the ability to dock the console, the option to use a detachable Joy-Con as a mouse to drop and drag objects in the Course Maker mode is entirely unavailable. Good riddance!
Any Local Multiplayer Game
If a game only supports local multiplayer with controllers--like Snipperclips, Overcooked, Cuphead, and more--then you need separate Joy-Cons and Pro Controllers to play. Otherwise, you're only able to play multiplayer games on Switch Lite if it supports wireless connectivity to other Switch consoles.
Any Game With A Vertical Display Option
We're getting into niche territory, but if you’re a fan of the Switch’s vast library of classic arcade games, then you’ll know that they often come with the option to rotate them vertically to simulate better what it’s like to play the originals. This enthusiast option is affected by the Switch Lite’s lack of detachable Joy-Cons. Though, this was admittedly never that feasible with the original Switch unless you own the enthusiast-developed Flip Grip peripheral, which allows you to play these arcade games vertically with ease. Otherwise, you’ll only be able to play games like Ikaruga, Punch Out!, and Strikers 1945 II on Switch Lite in the standard horizontal orientation without propping the system up awkwardly.