Wii Sports fans rejoice - Nintendo Switch Sports is here and it is glorious. Announced as a spiritual successor to the classic Wii pack-in, this new Nintendo Switch title brings together a collection of six different activities for players to take part in. Returning favorites like Tennis and Bowing are joined by new disciplines in Soccer, Badminton Chambara, and Volleyball. It is a fun package sure to be the spark of some competitive fun in the family room.
For gamers who spent hours upon hours with a Wiimote in hand, Switch Sports will feel like home. Sure, it may be a fairly simple experience, but it is a fun one that is enjoyed best alongside other people.
And thankfully, playing with others has never been easier. The inclusion of online play means a world of challengers is a step away. For those who have wanted to test their bowling might against the best of the world, Nintendo Switch Sports allows that in a fairly frictionless experience.
So fill that bowl with popcorn, and gather a group of friends with joy-cons at the ready. Here is The Direct’s ranking of the six activities found in Nintendo Switch Sports.
Just to preface, there is fun to be had no matter the activity in Nintendo Switch Sports; however, Soccer seems to be the most hit-or-miss. While some other sports can feel overly simple at times, Soccer is the exact opposite.
The control scheme here feels just a little too gamified, meaning that it never actually mimics the feeling of running on the pitch playing the real thing. Yes, there are swinging motions to emulate various kicks one would make on the Soccer field, but most of the time these felt wildly inaccurate, without any indication of where exactly the ball was going to go.
There is fun to be had when dipping into Soccer, but gamers will likely pass on this one for some of the other more enjoyable activities in this package.
For those familiar with Wii Sports, Nintendo Switch Sports Tennis provides largely the same sort of experience that started the motion control revolution back in 2006. This is a game mode that thrives in the living room, playing alongside an opponent or teammate. The feeling of putting spin on the ball as it ricochets off the racket is incredibly satisfying.
However, it is online where Tennis really starts to stumble. The net code feels good enough, but stutters and little bits of lag became a familiar sight after extended play. And as one can probably deduct, it can be a little frustrating taking part in a sport that is all reaction time when that reaction time is marred by the internet connection with your rival on the other side of the net.
That is not to say there is no fun to be had here. Getting back on the Nintendo Tennis court feels like coming home, but that novelty of swinging the controller like a racket has worn off just a bit since 2006.
New addition to Nintendo Switch Sports Badminton is a ton of fun. This game plays similarly to tennis but feels a little more contained as it is only 1v1. Badminton brings that nearly identical Tennis racket swing but turns up upward like one would have when playing Badminton.
The online issues that Tennis faces are also here in Badminton, but as there can only ever be one other person to share that connection with, it felt like these technical hiccups were few and far between.
Badminton really makes the player feel way more in control of their destiny as it is on a smaller court, and allows for various spike and drop shot options to mix up the opponent. It’s one of the sports that is super fun for a few matches a day, but not one that could be played for hours upon hours.
Volleyball is one of the shining examples of the magic that can come from a Nintendo take on a backyard favorite. For those looking to use Nintendo Switch Sports as a bit of a workout, Volleyball will be the sport they gravitate to most.
Using the joy-cons to mimic the bump-set-spike cycle of playing Volleyball is so incredibly fun. And motion controls will actually have players feel like they are playing the real thing. There is no need to jump off the floor to block an incoming spike or send a serve volleying over the net, but it is hard to resist that urge. It feels that real.
And when paired with a co-op partner in the room, the fun amplifies even more. It plays out like a real game with teammates communicating what they are doing on the court and high-fiving with glee after a successful point. All that makes Volleyball one of the best new additions found in Nintendo Switch Sports.
The second-best activity found in Nintendo Switch Sports has to be Chambara. This take on the Swordplay minigame from Wii Sports Resort is the perfect implementation of strategic motion control. Just swinging the joy-con to hit the opponent will not cut it. This is a game of watching a rival while readying a block, while also looking for the perfect moment to sneak in a successful strike on the enemy. For those who have wanted a Jedi-battling Switch game, this is the closest one can come to truly swinging a lightsaber on the console.
Yes, this will not be the giggle-fest that some of the other sports are. But that is only because this is a game of focus that is a hit whether playing online or locally in the living room.
And of course, number one on the list has to be bowling. It was the sport that got kids and grandparents, uncles and aunts, employees and employers up and moving way back in 2006. It is just as fun as it ever has been, today.
Nintendo Switch Sports features the best version of this bowling minigame ever. The minute control of the ball the joy-cons allow is spectacular. While it will take some getting used to for those who mastered the lanes back on the Wii. Finally getting control of the ball and curving it to strategically make a hit on the pins feels incredibly satisfying.
Bowling is also easily the best implementation of online in Nintendo Switch Sports. Instead of the basic ten-frame setup of a typical bowling match, players are set against 15 others online, with about half the field being eliminated every three frames. This makes for an almost battle royale-like experience that feels so creative in practice.
This is also the sport where gamers will find the most to do. Locally there are various challenges to complete with altered lanes that feature obstacles and such. Bowling in the living room has never felt this good, and it will certainly be a mainstay at parties for years to come.
Nintendo Switch Sports is a Blast
In conclusion, Nintendo Switch Sports is a worthy successor to the Wii Sports legacy. Yes, some will say this package feels a little light for a game coming out in 2022. But the fun that can be had makes the price of admission more than worth it.
This is a game that will live on for years to come at family dinners, Thanksgivings, and various social functions. It’s not hard to see a future where Nintendo Switch Sports is the new gold standard for Nintendo party games.