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Nintendo Switch Sports
Nintendo Switch Sports

Nintendo Switch
Genre: Sport
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo Classification: G
Release Date:
29th April 2022
Nintendo Switch Sports Review
Review By @ 11:00pm 27/04/22

The best way to view Nintendo Switch Sports is as an indirect sequel to the original Wii Sports. Indirect in the sense that the original Wii Sports got an actual sequel after its 2006 debut; with the arrival of Wii Sports Resort in 2009. Here you’ve got a similar setup, more motion-controlled recreations of real-world sports, some returning favourites thrown in, online and local multiplayer, but very little in the way of robust features.

A blessing and a curse, simplicity and accessibility was always Wii Sports’ charm, though it's hard to overlook some of the glaring omissions that come with that in the year 2022. The setup or framework is that you're a visitor or citizen of Spocco Square and it’s supposed to be this vibrant locale home to many sports. An original Nintendo creation, except that outside of the admittedly visually appealing stadiums, it’s a glorified menu where you select what sport to play.

Inadvertently calling Nintendo Switch Sports lifeless is somewhat harsh, especially for an lively party game. The clinical lack of personality does fade once you get an actual room full of people taking turns going at it in 1v1 Badminton or 2v2 Tennis. Nintendo Switch Sports lives up to its namesake in that the sports are both the star of the show, and the entirety of the experience.

"The clinical lack of personality does fade once you get an actual room full of people taking turns duking it out in 1v1 Badminton or 2v2 Tennis."

As great and surprisingly deep as the rendition of Soccer/Football is (it plays quite a bit like the excellent Rocket League), as much fun as a long Badminton rally can be, there’s a static-ness, and almost nothingness to the presentation. Enough time has passed since the debut of the Wii and its iconic pack-in title that a motion-controlled return to Tennis and Bowling in a similarly no fuss package is a great idea. And in the heat of a local multiplayer game, Switch Sports hits the right familiar, fresh, and coming home notes.

Okay, so it’s worth stating that without access to online functionality, where most if not all customisation and progression exists, there’s very little in the way of robust options or variety in the offline modes. Essentially you can play any of the six sports in local multiplayer, which again, is a blast, or go up against the “CPU” at varying difficulty levels without any sort of career mode or stat tracking. Or any sort of commentary or anything. The lack of progression, or even ability to unlock any new customisation options outside of online play is a weird decision on the part of Nintendo. The reported ranked system and online competition sounds fun, but let's not confuse the mechanics with a game that involves a dearth of skill and tactical ability.

Switch Sports without online functionality is a fun time to share with friends and family, and yet Nintendo offers no incentive to play the game in this way.

If you were gaming at around the time of the release of the original Wii Sports, then no doubt you’d have some sort of memory of playing a few rounds of Bowling or Tennis into the, well, wee hours. So on that front, having a fun time with friends and family in the same room is probably more than enough for most. Switch Sports definitely follows in the footsteps of Wii Sports, whilst introducing a new generation to the joys of swinging a racquet or sword or mimicking the movements of Volleyball.

In terms of how each of the six sports feels, they cover the entire range of shallow and accessible through to fast-paced and complex. The sword battles of Chambara, when you’re not just swinging randomly when playing with your nephew, can be surprisingly tricky when factoring in different block combinations, sword types, and strikes. It’s no For Honor, but it calls on split second reaction times that are matched by the Joy-Con controller’s ability to translate both intent and movement.

"Switch Sports without online functionality is a fun time to share with friends and family, and yet Nintendo offers no incentive to play the game in this way."

Bowling can be played simultaneously now, making a round play out in a much faster fashion than the take-turns approach from the original Wii Sports. That option is here too. Soccer is perhaps the most engaging from a pure traditional level in that you play it with two Joy-Cons and control your character’s movements whilst using a second Joy-Con to kick. Weirdly this would work just as fine without motion-controls, but its inclusion here makes a lot of sense.

With only six sports on offer Switch Sports is lacking in variety on the account of the simplicity of a lot of what’s on offer. That and the fact that Tennis is essentially a game of timing versus shot selection. Golf is set to arrive as a free update post-launch, and like the lack of online functionality during the review period, feels somewhat necessary in order to get a true picture of what Switch Sports could be. Putting or actually playing a round of golf or mini golf would, like Soccer, add much needed depth.

As much fun as it is to see Nintendo Switch Sports bring back some of that Wii magic, that party room vibe, it’s hard not to look at this as anything but a missed opportunity. Having all progression and customisation locked to online play feels like a missed opportunity, and although we couldn’t test the online stuff during the review period it’s hard to see how the Wii Sports formula going online would substantially change the same-room multiplayer fun.
What we liked
  • The return of Wii Sports
  • Motion controls, for the most part, work great
  • Soccer/Football feels the most like a fully realised game
  • Badminton is like speed Tennis
  • Simultaneous Bowling
What we didn't like
  • All progression and customisation locked behind online play
  • Spocco Square is basically a menu
  • Lacks personality
  • No stats, career mode, not a lot to make your character feel like your own
We gave it: