In 2006 Nintendo released one of their most successful systems of all time; the Nintendo Wii. Bundled alongside the console came a little game called “Wii Sports“. Despite the game being rather limited in content – only including 5 sports – it was a title greatly appreciated by most, mainly thanks to its easy accessibility and replay value thanks to skill levels.
3 Years later in 2009, Nintendo released a sequel to the game titled “Wii Sports Resorts“. This entry greatly expanded on what Wii Sports had to offer, including 12 sports (10 of which new), more skill levels and achievements in the form of stamps.
And lastly, in 2014 Nintendo released a reboot of the original Wii Sports titled “Wii Sports Club” on their Wii U system. The game was mostly the same, with a few minor tweaks, HD graphics, and most importantly; online play for the first time in the series.
So how does “Nintendo Switch Sports”, Nintendo’s latest entry in the sports series stack up?
Nintendo Switch Sports is currently out with a total of just 6 sports. Granted, more doesn’t necessarily equal better, so let’s go over each and every one of them.
Tennis functions much as how one would expect it to. You control 2 (or 1 in multiplayer) players on each side, having the option to either return the ball early or late by swinging the Joycon at the proper time. It’s a pretty fun game, but functionals practically the same as in Wii Sports without adding anything new to the tabl– field.
Bowling is one of the most simple sports in the game, but doesn’t fail to be my personal favorite yet again. Simply set your position and swing the Joycon forward to throw the ball. Additionally, there is a mode called “Special Bowling”, which adds a variety of obstacles to the track, adding some nice fresh air to this sport. Unfortunately the much beloved 100-Pins bowling from the former titles is gone.
Returning from Wii Sports Resorts is Chambara, which is basically Swordfighting but with a different name. The goal of this sport is simple; knock your opponent off the platform by landing successful hits and blocking incoming attacks. You can even spice things up a little by using 2 swords at once, which requires both Joycon. The motion detection feels a bit off at times, but is generally accurate.
A new addition to the Nintendo Sports series is Football. 4 Vs 4 players run around chasing a giant ball, trying to score a goal. Players can run using ZL/ZR but have limited stamina. Although the mode is fun, it’s very teamwork reliant and rather slow paced. I also had some issues with properly aiming the ball.
Additionally there is the Shoot-Out mode, which can only be played with a leg strap (bundled in the physical edition). It’s extremely limited however, and just revolves around kicking an incoming ball at the correct time to score a goal.
Another new addition to the series is Volleyball. You control one of the 2 characters on a specific side of the field. Players can use the Joycon to jump, hit and block incoming balls. If you play with CPU then the CPU will usually do just fine, but if you are playing online you’ll have to rely on your teammates (lack of) abilities.
Another new addition is Badminton, which to be completely honest plays exactly like Tennis. It’s a bit slower paced, and you can down strike the shuttle for a short shot, but that’s about where the differences end. If you enjoy Tennis you’ll likely enjoy Badminton. If not, then you can cross 2 sports of your list instantly.
In addition to these sports, Switch Sports offers a variety of rewards in the forms of reactions, accessoires and outfits. The downside to this is that these can only be obtained by playing online, and in limited bulk. Although the rewards are nice, the limitations around them didn’t exactly persuade me to keep playing for them. Luckily you are guaranteed a new reward from the card each time you spin/
Online sports have ranking systems that are unlocked after playing them enough. The ranks go from E-A, awarding points every time you win, and extracting them when you lose, similarly to the Wii Sports skill level system. This is a much appreciated system adding tons of replay value to the game online.
Playing offline however feels empty. There are no rewards whatsoever, and the CPU gets boring quickly. Playing with real life friends is fun, although I personally ended up preferring online over it.
With only 6 sports, Nintendo Switch Sports feels very limited. There is little to nothing to do offline, but online can provide a fair bit of fun for a while. New sports will get added as free DLC in the future, but for now there isn’t a whole lot to be excited about. The price of $39,99 isn’t too steep, but I could only recommend it if you are certain that you’ll enjoy at least half of the sports.