One common issue with many Switch games — especially games ported from other platforms — is uncomfortably small on-screen text. Whether it’s dialogue in a box, menu text, or the User Interface (UI), it can often be difficult to read on Nintendo’s handheld hybrid console.
It’s not something that blights ported games exclusively (or just Switch, for that matter): first-party title Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a Switch exclusive which suffers from very small text. An essay on the subject by Chris Koerner goes into more detail with that particular game, but it’s an issue that crops up all too frequently. It isn’t a new problem, either.
Some games that originally launched with tiny text issues have since received patches which altered the text size, or enabled the player to change it according to their preference.
In this guide we’ve assembled a list of games you might want to do some research on before buying on Switch if your eyesight isn’t up to Hawkeye standards. We also explain Nintendo’s handy Zoom accessibility feature, which might help you see straight when fonts get fun-size.
Why do so many Switch games have tiny text?
Small text issues on Switch usually arises because the game was developed with a different size screen in mind. For PC players sitting close to a high-res monitor, tiny text is still readable and developers are able to cram in more UI elements, scene details and other visual information onscreen.
Transferring that directly to a TV screen — even a large one — often results in issues for players unless they’re sitting uncomfortably close to their television set, and the problem can be exacerbated on Switch’s 720p handheld screen, which measures just 6.2 inches diagonally, or 5.5 inches for Switch Lite. Switching to a ‘bigger’ screen isn’t always the solution (sitting super close to a TV often isn’t practical), and Switch Lite players don’t have that option anyway.
Scaleable fonts, which alter dynamically depending on the output display (or as defined by the user) are the answer, but they can be hard work to implement unless considered from the start of development (sometimes many years before Switch even existed).
Thankfully, small text should become less of an issue as time goes on and developers build their games with Switch and other mobile platforms in mind from the start. Developers now tend to consider the different environments where people play these full console experiences and design their games to be sufficiently flexible in Handheld, Tabletop or Docked modes.
So, it’s really up to developers to think about the issue, but is there something you can do about it in the meantime? Well, sort of…
How to use the Zoom feature on Nintendo Switch
If you’re having trouble seeing a particular item, Nintendo updated the Switch firmware to include a handy zoom feature. It’s not a real solution to the problem, but it can be a handy workaround. The Zoom function enables you to zoom in on a player-defined area of the screen at the touch of a button (two touches, actually).
Here’s how you enable the Zoom feature on Switch:
- Select System Settings from the Home menu, then scroll down to System, and then scroll again to Zoom and tap to turn it on
- Once enabled, double-tap the ‘Home’ button (the one with the House icon on it) at any time while playing a game to Zoom in
- Using the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ buttons (or your fingers to pinch and move if you’re using the touchscreen), you can now zoom in and out around the screen. The screen’s position at the moment you zoom out is remembered and will zip back to that position if you double-tap the ‘Home’ button again — handy if it’s a specific UI element you want to check (a mini map, for example)
By pressing the ‘Home’ button once while in Zoom mode, you’re able to lock the screen and continue playing the game while zoomed in. Tap the button once more to unlock, and double-tap to exit Zoom mode.
NOTE: Any captures you take while in Zoom mode will capture the entire screen, not just the zoomed portion.
Switch Games With Small Text List
Below is a list of popular Switch games with text which you may find difficult to read in certain modes or conditions. Our thanks to reddit user tho_mi whose small text list formed the basis of the selection below. We’ve provided screenshots, gameplay clips, or other reference material to illustrate the issue where possible.
We’ll keep an eye on the games below and update the list with new titles and more information should patches be released that address this irritating issue. Feel free to nominate any games we’ve missed in the comments at the bottom of the page, or let us know if an update has solved the issue for you.
Are there other Switch games with text you’ve had trouble reading? This list is a work-in-progress, so let us know below and we may well add them to the list above.
Article Tags: Features · Games · Guides · Nintendo · Nintendo Switch · Offenders · Small · Switch · Switch Lite · Text · Worst · Zoom