Is ARK: Survival Evolved Finally Playable on Nintendo Switch?
ARK Survival Evolved on Nintendo Switch was an epic disaster when it first launched. Once you got your world up and running with lots of infrastructure and dinosaurs, the game ran very poorly, resulting in game drops and more. As someone who has been a huge supporter of ARK since it first launched – even through the various controversies – even I had a hard time putting a positive spin on what was a port I never thought would work.
That’s why the announcement from Reverb that the game was fixed on Switch was so shocking. Part of the issue with ARK’s original release was that the game was very demanding, running over 150GB when installed fully on Xbox. So the terrible release on Switch probably wasn’t as shocking as I might make it out to be. There is NO WAY this game could run well on Switch, right? Yes and no. We have seen technically detailed games land on the system already – Skyrim and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt are two great examples. But still, ARK fell so flat.
What were those early issues? Frame rate drops, major pop in, resources being gone, but still appearing, dinosaurs randomly disappearing from in front of your eyes, and coming back at the worst possible times, and so much more. ARK on Switch was a big problem.
Fast forward to 2022. When Reverb let me know via a press release that ARK was getting updated and fixed on Nintendo Switch, and that all the DLC was coming to the system as well, I was incredibly skeptical. But after I loaded it up for the first time (see below), I was so pleasantly surprised, and came away with one major takeaway. Was this my favourite way to play ARK now?
While not everything is as good as the PS5, Xbox, or PC versions of the game, it is still very good and fairly clean. There is still a bit of pop-in from time-to-time, but the games draw distance and stability greatly improved, as are the worlds and assets. Things actually look pretty good, better in handheld than on the dock, but still good all around. With the ability to play this on the go, it might be my prefered way to play ARK now. There have been issues around multiplayer that Reverb said were fixed, but I haven’t had the chance to try them out yet. But if you are looking for a solid single player survival game on Nintendo Switch, ARK might be your best bet right now!