There’s a wonderful coffee shop not far from where I live, which has a fireplace in the center and a circle of perhaps a dozen recliners around it. On a cold winter evening, it’s the perfect place to bring a book or even a Nintendo Switch. If I want to meet up with Switch-owning friends to play some co-op games, this is an ideal location.

However, with the world in various states of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meeting up at these sorts of venues is off the table for the time being.

And that really sucks, because Unrailed! just came out last week, and I would absolutely love to meet someone at a local coffee shop and build some tracks.

It’s kind of astonishing how addictive Unrailed! is. I mentioned this elsewhere, but the first time I played this frantic railway-building game, I didn’t put it down until 4 a.m. I also mentioned in that same article that this game is even more addictive with friends. And while my fellow Half-Glass Gamer Julian and I were able to connect online to get in some multiplayer sessions, the Switch doesn’t really lend itself to online co-op very well.


The main problem is that the Switch doesn’t have its own native voice chat built into the console. Sure, there’s the Nintendo Switch Online app, which you can install on any compatible smartphone, but this requires an additional device, and it also only supports a handful of games. When Julian and I played Unrailed!, we used Discord so we could voice chat. For me, that meant being tethered to my PC.

The Switch is really best for face-to-face multiplayer (or online multiplayer that doesn’t require voice chat — I could see something like Fall Guys working out pretty well for the Switch). And that means finding an appropriate venue, which is not really feasible right now. Sure, there are patio seating options, but those have a tendency to have limited time windows for patrons, sometimes as short as 40 minutes. 40 minutes just isn’t enough time to guzzle a large mocha and get in a satisfying amount of Unrailed! playing, if you ask me.

And that’s to say nothing of weather restrictions. You’re definitely not going to want to play your Switch on a patio if there’s a chance of rain.

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the biggest advantage of getting Unrailed! on the Switch over PC, Xbox One, or PS4 is removed. Don’t get me wrong, the game is great, and it runs perfectly fine on Switch. But the other consoles (and PC) offer better online experiences.


Now, I would be doing the game a huge disservice here if I didn’t mention that Unrailed! does also offer couch co-op. The problem, of course, is that I rarely leave the apartment these days. If I’m going to meet up with friends, it would be lovely to do that somewhere that’s not been a pandemic refuge for the past six months.

Unrailed! is a great addition to the Nintendo Switch. It’s just a shame that these two things (Unrailed! and the Switch) came together in 2020, because it’s hard to take advantage of the benefits offered by the portable features of the Switch as opposed to the better online experiences offered by its competitors. And that means that as of right now, the other consoles or PC would be better options for getting the most of this neat little game.

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