Fortnite's Switch Motion Controls Are Surprisingly Not Terrible

Skip ahead to 18:47 to see some Switch gameplay.

With Fortnite: Battle Royale’s Season 5 update comes one feature that intrigued me a bit more than golf carts and portals. The option to enable motion controls for Switch made me curious to see how a game I’ve grown super familiar with would play. From the bit that I tried, motion controls are more useful than I anticipated.

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A good example of motion controls that work well is in Breath of the Wild. Jumping off of my horse, drawing my bow and activating the slow motion aiming made me feel confident in my ability to take down multiple enemies or aim at the center of a Guardian’s eye. A couple of the game’s boss fights also challenge you to break blocks of ice using your Sheikah slate. Motion controls made this task a breeze.

Here’s where you can adjust your motion control sensitivity on Switch.
Here’s where you can adjust your motion control sensitivity on Switch.
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Buried in the controller section of Fortnite’s options now are three meters to raise and lower: general aiming; ADS or aim-down-sight aiming, which activates once you hold up your gun for a more precise shot; and scoped aiming for shots taken from sniper rifles or a scoped assault rifles. General aiming doesn’t feel as good with motion controls. As Tim points out in our video, it looks like the earlier wiggly attempts at typing things out on Wii or selecting menu options.

Lowering the motion sensitivity for general aiming felt OK, but don’t expect Splatoon-like fluidity. Unlike Splatoon 2, Fortnite runs at 30 frames per second on Switch, which feels most noticeable when using the new motion controls. I can see where motion controls could come in handy during close quarter encounters, though. In one firefight, being able to have those extra milliseconds to aim at an opposing player on a roof would’ve helped me stay alive.

When I aimed down my sights during a firefight, something clicked in my head the same way it did when taking down Guardians in Breath of the Wild. Being able to move around and jump while offloading the final touches on my aiming to the motion controls felt surprisingly good. I’m excited to continue tweaking the settings until I find that sweet spot.

I do think a little stabilization would go a long way, so that might need some further tinkering with, especially with Fortnite’s Pro Builder control option, which maps building to the shoulder buttons. I look forward to seeing if motion controls catch on for Switch players.

Video Producer, Kotaku. Fluent in Spanglish. Tetris Master. Streamer. Host of The Optional Podcast.

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DISCUSSION

Motion controls to fine tune stick aiming have been “surprisingly not terrible” in Uncharted for Vita, Resident Evil Revelations 1 and 2, Splatoon, Splatoon 2, Fortnite and, you know, every single console shooter that has ever used them.

The dumb prejudiced nerd talking point that motion controls are bad because it was cool to crap on the Wii for having waggle is so old now. Imagine if we were still saying touch controls suck because we played the stupid Dawn of Sorrow boss minigame when it came out on DS and the bad fake joysticks from early iPhone games despite being a decade into touchscreen gaming. It’s so weird that even professional game journalists are still stuck on this.