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We've played Nintendo's bizarre bargain bin party game Everybody's 1-2-Switch!

Horsing around.

A fresh first-party Nintendo Switch exclusive arrives in just a couple of days, though you'd be forgiven for being unaware. Announced only at the start of this month - and at the time, without so much as a trailer or a screenshot - the sudden unveiling and seemingly quick turnaround for Everybody 1-2 Switch! raised eyebrows. Stranger still, Nintendo chose to make no mention of it at all in last week's Nintendo Direct.

All of this only added fuel to the fire of persistent pre-announcement rumours that the game, a follow-up to Switch launch title 1-2 Switch!, had been floating around Nintendo HQ for a while and, frankly, was not very good. Leaks of this kind from behind Nintendo's doors are rare, but the nature of the game's announcement, its bargain bin £25 price point, and its imminent release have all done nothing to contradict that narrative, when compared to other games given more of a spotlight. So how is it, really?

Here's some influencers playing Everybody 1-2 Switch.Watch on YouTube

Well, it's alright. I was given a two-hour hands-on session in London last week with a gaggle of other games media, to try out some of the title's multiplayer party mini-games as a group. The pitch we were given was good, actually: that this was designed for social gatherings where you may not be with people who feel natural holding a game controller, or for when you have more people who want to play than you have controllers themselves. Goodness knows, extra Joy-Con are not cheap, especially to pick up when they may only be used when friends or family are visiting.

It's in these situations, then, that you can take advantage of a big gameplay change from its Switch launch title predecessor: that you can now use smartphones as secondary controllers, so up to 100 people can join in.

Alongside the usual Joy-Con support, Everybody 1-2 Switch's mini-games now let you join in using your mobile via a browser-based solution that feels a bit like Jackbox. Smartphone hardware technology is leveraged to detect movement and allow you to press on-screen buttons, enough that it doesn't feel like those playing on a mobile phone are relegated to support status.

Everybody 1-2-Switch!
It's all popping off.

But while the technology is intriguing, the mini-games themselves feel overly simple - even when compared to those you might see in a Mario Party title. One sees two teams pumping their controllers to fill balloons with air, in order to make their balloon biggest without it popping. Another is a variant on musical chairs, where you must drop to the floor when the game's music stops. A more inspired option leverages your mobile phone's camera to find and match an object of the same colour as that shown on your TV screen, with the closest shade winning.

If you're playing in a big group, the roll-call of on-screen results is a fun moment as the game scrolls through from worst to best, listing out people's times or points scores in reverse order. You also get to see - for example in that colour-matching game - the photos people came up with. In a true or false trivia game, this means you can see who got the question right or wrong, and how fast they were, and then react via emojis or by typing quick phrases to be shown on screen.

There's plenty of scope for silliness, most memorably in a hip-thrusting battle where two players have to bump each other from a virtual wrestling ring, standing back to back, while people in rabbit costumes play out your movements on-screen like a strange mix of Just Dance cosplay and Trigger Happy TV. Yet another mini-game, a team-based affair, sees you surround a single player in a circle and fling ninja throwing stars in their direction as they try to turn and block them in time.

Everybody 1-2-Switch!
A true thrust trap.

There are 17 mini-games in total, each with multiple variants to try out. Sessions can be set at between 20 minutes and a full hour with a medley of rounds designed for groups of people split into teams. A trivia game show option lets you set your own quiz questions. You can also play bingo. And it's presented quite well - with Horace the strange horse-headed game show host directing a posse of lifestyle models on screen in videos that make it clear how all the games should be played.

Ultimately, if you're after something to play the next time you have a big group of friends or family over, Everybody 1-2 Switch holds a pretty unique place as the only game I know of where up to 100 people can easily join in. It's simple, but that's the point, and for specific situations, that's fine. And hey, if all 99 of your friends chip in, that £25 suddenly becomes even cheaper.

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