Mortal Kombat 1 For Switch Review

Switch Version of Mortal Kombat 1 Falls Short

When news broke that Mortal Kombat 1 would be released on the Nintendo Switch instead of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, many expected it to be a cloud-based game. However, it turns out that the Switch version is a direct port, and unfortunately, that’s not a good thing. Mortal Kombat 1 on the Switch suffers from technical limitations that negatively impact the overall experience.

For a comprehensive review of Mortal Kombat 1, check out my previous article on the PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC versions. In summary, the game is great, with exciting gameplay changes, fresh combat mechanics, and an impressive story mode. However, certain online features feel outdated, and the Invasions mode falls short.

The Switch version of Mortal Kombat 1 does offer the same positive aspects, but the hardware limitations make it feel like a slog. One glaring issue is the visual quality, which pales in comparison to the other versions. Character models lack detail, facial animations are compromised, and textures often stretch and clip through body parts. The gorgeous stages from the other versions appear blurry, which is a significant downgrade.

As one reviewer pointed out,

If looking bad was the worst of MK1’s problems, I’d still be able to recommend it.

The visual issues are expected considering that the Switch is an older and less powerful console. However, the problems extend beyond appearances.

The first issue players encounter is the lengthy load times, averaging around 40 seconds. This becomes more noticeable during character selection, where the transition from the selection screen to the match is supposed to be seamless. On the Switch, however, the characters awkwardly stare at each other while textures pop in and out for an uncomfortable amount of time.

Load times, on average, last around 40 seconds.

Long loading times are particularly frustrating in the Invasions mode and online play. Invasions mode, designed for quick bouts, becomes tedious when the majority of time is spent waiting instead of fighting. Ranked online play is also hindered by the excessive load times, with each match in a set requiring a significant waiting period.

The gameplay itself suffers from performance issues, even in local matches against CPUs. There are moments of slowdown that affect timing and result in dropped combos. Some stages are more affected than others, but the issue persists throughout matches. Additionally, players have encountered bugs such as disappearing objects and inconsistencies in combo trials, which differ from the other versions.

For those solely interested in the Story mode, Mortal Kombat 1 on the Switch may hold some value. The pre-rendered cutscenes look great, although the transition from cutscenes to in-game fights is jarring. However, considering the long load times, it may be less frustrating to watch the story unfold on YouTube.