Ark: Survival Evolved, the review of the Nintendo Switch version

Who I am
Aina Martin
Author and references

Ark: Survival Evolved in its first year of presence on the market it proved to be a decidedly fascinating creature, very peculiar, like those that populate its islands. An ambitious and courageous online (and offline) survival game in several of its choices, certainly imperfect in various elements of the technical sector; not too favored by a controversial marketing operation, which transformed it into a real triple A, but this also and above all from the point of view of the high market price. A rather precarious balance, which however has withstood the weight of the first year of life quite well, so much so that after also landing on mobile devices Ark: Survival Evolved lands on Nintendo Switch, with a port created in collaboration with Abstraction Games. It didn't go very well for Ark's prehistoric creatures, and ours review we explain why.

Gameplay: big, big and varied

We certainly do not expect you to go through the whole story that we told you a year ago with the review of Ark: Survival Evolved, since here we will deal specifically with its conversion for Nintendo Switch; it is true, however, that all newcomers may not know what kind of game it is, and why (in the opinion of the writer) at least a couple of times in life it should be played well and calmly. Developed by Studio Wildcard, Ark: Survival Evolved is a survival game which can be enjoyed in a myriad of different ways, each of which potentially able to profoundly modify the gaming experience. It can be played in complete solitude, surrounded only (and not a little) by the over sixty species of more or less hostile creatures on the mysterious island; you can play it with friends in PvE mode against monsters; finally you can play it online in PvP mode where you will have to worry not so much (and not only) about the creatures, but about the others on the game map.

Set aside the infinity of different aspects that Ark: Survival Evolved is able to take on side gameplay depending on the tastes of the player, the title still maintains its own precise identity: that of a survival game that relies on crafting, on a broad sandbox world and on some fairly marked RPG components. In words the game mechanics can seem even more complex than they are: simplifying as much as possible, the Ark player creates his own alter ego and awakens on a mysterious island inhabited by equally bizarre creatures, including dinosaurs and more or more monsters. less prehistoric but revisited in a fantasy key. Think of a weird creature, not necessarily a giant T-Rex chasing you around the game map: it is probably present in Ark. The player's task is to stay alive and enhance their position, exploring all the explorable, collecting the collectible, creating from scratch through projects what does not yet exist in that world.

Obviously by challenging the creatures or simply staying alive and organizing their base well they accumulate experience points, with which to buy new skills and materials for crafting: all for a progression that respects the rhythms of the player himself. Unless you want to test yourself on certain servers that speed up the gaming experience, complicate it as much as possible or oversimplify it: but in Ark you can do almost everything, and after doing almost everything, much more. . And when you really believe you have seen it all there will be some Additional DLCs already available, partly free and partly for a fee; So what is the problem with all this goodness of God? Here we center the point: the conversion for Nintendo Switch.

Conversion for Nintendo Switch

Let's start with what we could define the only positive aspect of the whole thing, and that is the fact that Ark: Survival Evolved has arrived on Nintendo Switch in all its basic contents, without any aspect of the game being eliminated. Studio Wildcard has proposed to all owners of the branded hybrid console Nintendo the same experience already available elsewhere, and one would say "God forbid" given that the proposed price it is decidedly high, even after more than a year of presence on the market. The problem is how the aforementioned contents arrived: our first gaming experience on Nintendo Switch was not the most exciting and it does not seem excessive to us to call Ark: Survival Evolved on Nintendo Switch a bad copy of the versions already available elsewhere. We first selected a game server to get right into a game in progress: there were already quite a few players present, but the limit of 36 present was far away, so it seemed like a good idea to run and help.

After a seemingly endless loading period we were thrown off the screen: unable to connect to the game in progress. Patience, we have double-checked our online subscription for Nintendo Switch and the stability of the internet: since everything was in order, we tried again, hoping in the second attempt; unfortunately nothing to do, at least in our case, accessing Ark online on Nintendo Switch proved to be really difficult, even in the following days when we made new attempts with different types of connections. We hope that the situation will improve soon, probably the development team is already at work. Unfortunately that's not all the rest of our experience with Ark su Nintendo Switch went much better, starting withoptimization of the technical sector, in itself already lackluster elsewhere too, perhaps with the understandable exception of Ark mobile. Ark: Survival Evolved on Nintendo Switch is the furthest away from fluidity you can imagine, the movements of your character and of the creatures present seemed almost fatigued, slowed down by a frame rate that is (not always) around 30 frames per second; this in TV mode, because in portable mode if possible everything becomes even less performing.

The glance and the graphic sector suffer from a very low level of detail, unthinkable for the current generation of consoles and also for Nintendo Switch: it is not possible that on the Breath of the Wild Ark console it will arrive in this state, as if it had been reserved for a conversion budget close to zero . Also on an aesthetic level Ark is really ugly to see on the home TV, while things improve a bit in tabletop mode thanks to the smaller size of the Nintendo Switch screen. Beyond the actual technical details, then, any kind of "Switch effect" is missing: what happened to the vibration systems, the HD Rumble, the gyroscope, a minimum of optimization in the game menus to exploit the touch screen? The impression is that Ark was taken in weight with everything it had to offer and forcibly inserted into the Nintendo Switch, compressing the overall quality of the product as much as possible so that it could fit into it.


Digital Delivery Nintendo eShop Price 59,99 €


Readers (4)


Your vote

Ark: Survival Evolved arrives on Nintendo Switch in a mediocre version, the result of a porting that is perhaps too hasty, perhaps managed in an excessively superficial way. At the same price, owners of the Nintendo console can easily find much better, and all this is a shame because Studio Wildcard thus loses a user base that will become increasingly vast in the coming years. Sorry also and above all for the title itself: valid, full-bodied, varied, potentially infinite, always evolving, Ark still has a lot to say in the months to come, and we therefore hope that somehow some patches improve the situation on Nintendo Switch.


  • All the contents of the other versions are there
  • He remains one of the greatest exponents of the genre
  • Potentially infinite
  • Technically bad conversion
  • No optimization
  • Online at the moment unstable

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