Ark: Survival Evolved Nintendo Switch Review

"Muddled Dinos"


Ark: Survival Evolved is a game of open world survival where you tame creatures and attempt to make life better in a land of giant monsters. It's finally arrived on the Nintendo Switch delivering the full experience, at great cost in regards to resolution and performance. You survive by collecting resources found within the world around you and then either consuming them or crafting those items into something helpful.

There's a vast blueprints system present where you choose what items you'd like to unlock for crafting and a simpler setup for choosing what aspects of your player you want to improve as you level. Things can certainly be deadly in this game as features a permadeath, but you can adjust settings to make it easier.

You can have it easier by editing options before loading a world or take the battle local for single player. It's at its most interesting when playing online, but there are options to play by yourself or even with others in a private session. The online aspect features massive servers to play with others, it's worth checking out and requires Nintendo Switch online. Aside from just surviving there are quests and goals.

You can build a house or structures to assist in living while working on taming creatures. These creatures will assist in your mission to explore the vast island, collect ancient special artifacts and take on terrifying large scale bosses. You're also able to fill a special journal for what you've done and it basically adds something to do behind the scenes on living which is sometimes a full time job in this.


Ark: Survival Evolved on Nintendo Switch has really horrible visuals and spotty performance at best. It looks like muddled soup most of the time and other times you can barely tell what it is. On a larger 4k TV it's abysmal, though on the undocked version it looks ok.

There are performance dips, poor rendering and objects show up weirdly such as with their shadows. It looks like a painting that has become blurred. That aside, it's actually amazing they got the game running on the platform and that it's the entire experience. For multiplayer that's not on servers I will mention that you'll need to stay in a relatively close proximity to each other.

The combat comes across as fine in this as you research better weapons or just perform fist based combative moves when you start out. It's best to grab a large dino or creature to fight with and taming them is the method to get this going. You can not only walk, but ride with creatures or soar around with the ones capable of flight.

You'll also have to manage key survival aspects to live, your character needs food, water and proper shelter from the harsh environments. The world is large and full of life, you can explore the oceans or just travel on land. You'll come across distinct areas, many wild creatures and so many supplies to collect.
Ark: Survival Evolved Nintendo Switch Review Wallpaper Screenshot

The Conclusion

Ark: Survival Evolved Nintendo Switch edition delivers the whole game, but at a massive cost to the visual quality and performance. It's the game you know, but in a compact form that you can take anywhere.

The resolution is really weak and at times it can be less than responsive, it also features long loading when you start. That aside, I still find it rather interesting that the game is on the platform at all, that's an interesting feat.

It's the full package whether you want to tame massive dinosaurs, explore a vast world or just walk around with a pack of dodos. The choice is up to you, there's the option to play locally or online with others.

Both choices offer a vastly different experience and they're present here, though you do need Nintendo's online service to play in the servers. It can be quite a fun game having the whole package present here, but there are significant costs in terms of how well it runs.

Read our Starlink: Battle for Atlas Review
View our Ark: Survival Evolved Hub

Ark: Survival Evolved Review on Nintendo Switch
Review Code Provided by Reverb

Rating Overall: 5.5

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner