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I spent the past few weeks like I did in 2006 – firing up my gaming console and playing virtual bowling or even tennis. The big change? I don’t use a first-gen Wii to play Wii Sports. Instead, I play Switch Sports on my Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo Switch Sports is no longer available for $ 49.99 – or $ 39.99 if you opt for a digital download – and is an absolute pleasure to play. Not only is it a blast from the past and a nostalgia-fueled adventure, but it keeps you active and suitable for single or multi-player and sports updated graphics with groovy tones.
Let’s unpack why Switch Sports is likely the next game you should get for your Nintendo Switch or Switch OLED.
Six Sports And Three Ways To Play
Once on fire, Switch Sports gives you instant access to six games – Tennis, Badminton, Volleyball, Soccer, Bowling, and Chambara. Most of it is familiar, even if you can dig your head out later. This is a new sword fighting game intended for Switch Sports. It’s all a lot of fun, but you’re likely to find your favorites. Nintendo also announced that the seventh game – Golf – will come as a free update this Fall.
There are also three game modes within Switch Sports – global, local, and online with your friends. And I will be faithful; Nintendo seems to be prioritizing the connected experience here. Whether playing with friends or with random matches, you have a chance to climb a leaderboard and get swag for your character. You won’t find those in local mode, though, and you’ll need a Switch Online subscription to access these two online modes.
The good news is that finding a global game was simple and quick happened in my attempt for over a week. Once you select it, you then choose a sport, and it will pair you with a player somewhere in the Nintendo world. Very nice, and I didn’t notice much delay depending on the console – Switch or Switch OLED – I was playing anywhere.
There wasn’t a minute to find a player and then throw me in a game. I would say Soccer takes longer, because it takes more than two people. Same with bowling. And unlike Wii Sports, which gives you a lengthy training tutorial, Switch Sports offers you a quick mini demo of the mechanic that you can go through. That’s fine, and it’s good to have options, but you’ll have a hard time not finding moves that are at least the same as the real-life counterparts in each game.
Like Wii Sports, the name of the game is exaggeration. If you swing your Tennis or Badminton racket, you need to give it an oomph. As well as smacking a volleyball or serving one. It’s fun and keeps you immersed in the game.
In terms of my favorite sports game, I have to go with Volleyball. Not only is it a dynamic of any swing from left to right, but there are some variations to it. That is, you can spike, set, or serve, making it more attractive, fun and challenging.
And be sure to secure the Joy-Con with the strap that comes with your console when you’re playing Switch Sports. Like the Wii, you don’t want to lose grip on the controller and fly it off during a serious game.
Tennis and Badminton are both fun to play, sort of macro and micro equivalents to each other. In my playing, I have found that Badminton seems to be the most responsive and best at mimicking my preferred action. With Tennis, I always find it telling me that my swing is a little early or a little late on most swings, while Badminton is more on the nose.
Bowling is the return of the classic, and it’s just as fun as the original Wii Sports version. There are several different modes that put obstacles in the way. You may encounter some cubes that go up and down or just get stuck on one side. It adds more depth to the game and is even more fun when playing with friends online to see who can do the most.
And that brings us to another important way of the game, playing with friends online. Like Mario Kart 8 and other titles, you create a room and have control over who can participate. That is by entering a password. Here you can choose the game and some game variations. In most games with friends, I find it responsive.
I haven’t seen my step in Soccer yet, and as the only game you need the optional Joy-Con leg strap for launch, I would say most users would be well on the option for one you can download the Switch version. Sports. It’s been a fun time, and I like the team’s attitude, but it’s not as plug and play as other games.
Finally, Chambara is a fun sword fight game that is like a medieval version of fencing in which the swords look like tall jousting poles. And similar to Volleyball, there is more than one mechanic to learn here. This makes for an event game because, in some cases, you can be on offense and other times on defense.
Make your “Sportsmate”
While Wii Sports is filled with Miis, Nintendo Switch Sports makes you a “Sportsmate”-literally a souped-up version of a Mii that stands out as your in-game character. You get a lot of customization of body, clothing, and hair. Adding to the fun is the ability to customize your title as well.
And as you play online – around the world or with friends – you get points. It comes whether you win or lose and for different events in the game. Depending on what type of game you are playing, you can use it to redeem in-game items and even put them in special limited edition equipment. It will be interesting to see how this progresses in the future.
You will need the Switch or OLED Switch
The biggest caveat to Switch Sports is that it doesn’t work with entry-level Switch Lite. You need a standard Switch or an OLED Switch to play. And in either of these, it will work in portable mode but much better when docked. You get a bigger screen, but you also have a lot of space to spread out. In my testing, Switch Sports plays well with Switch and Switch OLED. I mainly play with them docked but let’s say that playing in portable mode is mostly a feature of the standard Switch. The screen is small, and it doesn’t offer the difference or vibrancy of an OLED.
What is the reason for the lack of Switch Lite support? Well, probably the Joy-Cons because they are exclusive to Switch and Switch OLED. These proprietary and removable controllers pack a ton of onboard sensors – such as an accelerometer and gyroscope – to track movements. Whether you shake your arm as if you’re holding a bowling ball or hitting a tennis ball, Joy-Con recognizes this and activates screen activity. It’s all pretty responsive.
Nintendo Switch Sports is a blast, despite a shifted focus on online gaming and a bit of new sports. It runs smoothly on Switch or Switch OLED, and given the random character of who you play, each game is refreshing and can have some surprises. The added benefit of this video game is that you’re also active while playing, and that’s a nice win.
So whether you spend your days remembering about Wii Sports or looking for a new title for your Switch, Nintendo’s Switch Sports is a very good title with a long runtime ahead of it. I just hope Baseball comes soon after Golf so I can continue my next home run from Wii Sports.
Nintendo Switch Sports is now available for $ 39.99 as a download or $ 49.99 as a physical edition with a Joy-Con Leg Strap.