FIFA 19 on Switch Review

September 27, 2018

FIFA games and handhelds have always been a definition of two worlds colliding. They’re not known to work well together and the same can be said for sales figures when you look at FIFA games across Nintendo platforms in general. FIFA 19 on Switch is another attempt to dispel the doctrine that FIFA fans have about ways to play the game, and with plenty of game modes including the full UEFA licensed championship, Nintendo Switch owners may want to pay attention to this one.

FIFA 19 on Switch

Jumping in to a game of FIFA 19 on Switch is certainly a welcoming experience. As a fan of the franchise and having played FIFA games for two decades now, loading a game up on the handheld screen gave me the warm fuzzies. The game looks great on the handheld screen and plays similarly to its big brother on the Xbox One and PS4, albeit more simplistic. The character models are a lot more basic, the physics are noticeably simpler, and most importantly the new ball control that made FIFA 19 stunning on Xbox One and PS4 this year is absent entirely. The bad news is that FIFA 19 on Switch is built on a custom engine that can’t do what the Frostbite engine is capable of. The good news is that EA Sports are dedicated to improving FIFA on Switch each year, and with a custom engine who knows where the game might take Switch fans in the future.

Game modes in FIFA 19 on Switch include the new Kick Off mode, Career mode, UEFA Champions League, FIFA Ultimate Team, Tournaments, and online seasons & friendlies. Note though, online modes now requires a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. FIFA 19 for Switch also includes the Home screen which, as mentioned in our FIFA 19 review for PS4, is similar to the Xbox One menu screen in that it has tiles, and whichever modes you’ve been spending time in the most recently will appear there.

FIFA 19 on Switch

Skill games also make an appearance in FIFA 19 for Switch and allow you to better your skills and get used to using the joy-cons or however you prefer to play the game. All the basic skill games are there, although it does involve a bit of progression to unlock the harder games. Load screens are replaced with skill games throughout Career, FUT and other modes anyway, so it’s not a necessity to go through the Skills Games mode. You can also load up a practice arena and use whatever player or keeper you want to hone your skills on a full soccer field.

Being able to play FUT mode on the go is fantastic. We found the FIFA Ultimate Team mode to be just as involving as it is on the Xbox One and PS4 version, and being able to fiddle around in the FUT menus while you’re on the bus or on a break at work, setting up the next big match for when you get home and slot the Switch into your dock to play on the big screen is truly a great achievement. Often in other games that have manager mode and detailed menus we’ve wanted to be able to play it on the go, and now the Nintendo Switch is making modes like this so much better.

FIFA 19 on Switch

The new Kick Off mode is one of the biggest new upgrades in FIFA 19, and the Switch game gets to enjoy it in its entirety. Kick Off mode is now more than just a “Play Now” option and allows you to set up customised games exactly how you want to play them. As we mentioned in our FIFA 19 PS4 review, the new mode’s menus are a little daunting at first but once you figure out how to navigate them and see what options are available, Kick Off mode becomes a great way to save custom game preferences for when you have mates around for a quick game or two.

Alex Hunter and The Journey mode unfortunately do not make an appearance in FIFA 19 on Switch. Given the game does not run on the Frostbite engine like its 4K counterpart and developers have said it’s not possible to get the Frostbite engine working on the Nintendo Switch at all, it’s understandable that The Journey with all its cut-scenes and added gameplay was not going to make its way to the Nintendo Switch version.

FIFA 19 on Switch

The Nintendo Switch offers plenty of ways to play FIFA 19, whether it’s docked, in tabletop, or handheld, but what’s most innovative is the way you can split your joy-cons to allow for multiplayer. FIFA 19 doesn’t have overly detailed controls, so using the split joy-con mode is actually pretty fun. No longer are FIFA games played while you solo rage on your couch at home; now you can take it to work and completely destroy your fellow workmate on a lunch break, all without having to bring any large controllers.

The customisation menu is also fully fledged and includes all the necessities to enjoy FIFA 19. You can create players here, change difficulty sliders, and most importantly re-bind your controller. We found the joy-con controls weren’t set up ideally for passing and shooting, but luckily it was very easy to switch (pun!) the joy-con buttons around.

The graphics in FIFA 19 on Switch all come down to how you decide to play the game. We found the game looked great using the Switch as a handheld device, but when docked there was a noticeable dive in quality, particularly with player movement. Even more so when the Switch is docked we found that the camera angle you choose also changes how nice the game looks. It looks half decent in broadcast camera views, but when you head in to Pro camera the character models start to look quite pixelated and low quality. It’s an achievement that the Pro camera is even an option in FIFA 19 on Switch though, and we’re eager to see EA push the limits of what the Switch is capable of producing in the next couple of years.

FIFA 19 on Switch

FIFA 19 on Switch is nothing short of a blessing for soccer fans. For the first time we get an amazing fully packaged FIFA game on a handheld device. Building on the custom engine which also produced last year’s game, FIFA 19 on Switch now offers players plenty of variety and improvements across the board. It looks and plays great in handheld and table-top mode and is a must for any fan that wants to play FIFA on the go. We were very close to giving the game 4 stars and believe that it will be pushing in to the 4-star category in the next year or two.

FIFA 19 is also available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. For more information, head to the official FIFA website here.


- Looks and plays really well for a handheld game
- Several different game modes should keep some soccer fans pleased
- Split joy-con multiplayer with a friend is too sweet!


- Doesn’t hold up on the big screen when the Switch is docked
- Simplified controls, even compared to last year’s Xbox/PS4 game.

Overall Score: