We might not always want to do it, but there are times when covering our equipment with a plastic layer for protection is a good decision. The Nintendo Switch is no exception to this rule, and since for many of us it has become the handheld console of choice, finding new ways to prevent it from getting destroyed while getting through airport security is a worthwhile scientific endeavor. Nyko’s Nintendo Switch User Quality of Life Improvement Department (or NNSUQOLID as it is colloquially referred to) has spent 2017 churning out a plethora of Switch accessories with the goal of improving the Switch experience. As the year draws to a close they announce two new products: the Bubble Case and the Swivel Grips.
The Bubble Case is exactly what the name implies, it is a protective casing for the Switch that acts like a bubble to keep the exterior from being damaged. It is actually three separate cases, one for the actual Switch one for each of the Joy-Cons, and they are even color coordinated to match the red and blue Joy-Cons. The casing is open as to not obstruct the screen or block access to any of the buttons, and the Joy-Cons can be removed and attached to the console without having to take any of them out of the case. A screen protector is also included since it would be silly to go to the trouble of protecting the hard plastic parts of the console and leave the screen completely vulnerable to destruction.
The Bubble Case doesn’t take much time to put on and is pretty easy to apply, it’s basically like putting a case on an oversized smart phone. The material for the Bubble Case is on the softer side which makes it fairly comfortable to hold. It is lightweight and thin so it shouldn’t prevent the Switch from going into most carrying cases. As far as actual protection goes it will help from the exterior getting scratched. It would probably provide some cushioning if the Switch was accidentally dropped from a few feet or in a backpack that isn’t being handled gently but it doesn’t seem like heavy duty protection, so it isn’t recommended to use a Bubble Case protected Switch to stop a bullet or throw it off the top of a ten story building. For normal day to day use and non hazardous travel it should be sufficient. The screen protector is just a nice bonus that always seems like a smart addition to any touchscreen device, and the one included with the Bubble Case seems to be a pretty standard issue screen protector.
The next of the new items are the Swivel Grips. These are designed to be an ergonomic way to increase the size of the Joy-Con and make the grip feel more comparable to a traditional controller. These are intended to increase comfort levels during longer gaming sessions, ideally when the Joy-Cons are not connected to Switch since they aren’t as necessary when you’re playing on the giant handheld Switch rectangle. They are able to swivel back out of the way when they aren’t desired and can quickly be swiveled back out when you’re playing a game that needs them like Snipperclips, because it’s fun to play Snipperclips with Swivel Grips.
Swivel Grips are one of those items that you would probably never think you need but they are actually very nice. I’m not a typical fan boy of any one console, I own all of them and they all have their pros and cons. I do have a preference for the larger Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers, and the little Switch Joy-Cons feel like tiny toys that I could crush so adding the small amount of extra plastic does help make them feel more substantial, and when the swivel part is extended it does make the controller feel a bit more secure in my hands. The assembly is pretty easy, just take the top and bottom halves and snap them into place on the Joy-Con. The first time doing attaching them it’s easy to miss all the snaps so make sure every part is snapped into place so the Swivel Grips remain securely in place. They tend to feel most natural when the Joy-Cons are not connected to the Switch.
Neither of these products are essential purchases for Switch owners but are nice in their own ways. The Bubble Case has a soft texture that’s easy to hold and provides some protection against minor hazards to the Switch. It probably won’t protect the Switch from a two handed sledge hammer swing, but will protect it from scuffs, scratches and low level violent attacks. The screen protector that comes with it is highly recommended, and factoring that into the cost makes it end up being an inexpensive accessory. If someone travels with the Switch and doesn’t bring a lot of game cards or accessories, the Bubble Case can take the place of a soft carrier for basic protection. The Swivel Grips felt surprisingly good. They don’t seem like they would make that big of a difference but are worth looking into for people who prefer larger controllers. The Swivel Grips boil down to personal preference and what’s comfortable for an individual. If you can play with Joy-Cons all day and it feels fine these aren’t something you need, but if you feel like a giant playing with a toy or just prefer the feel of some of the controllers of Nintendo’s competitors these are the way to go. As far as compatibility goes, the Swivel Grips can be used with the Bubble Case on the Switch, but the Bubble Case and Swivel Grips cannot be on the Joy-Cons at the same time.