Nintendo Switch Sports Review – Nice board game needs more content

With Nintendo Switch Sports you won’t relive the heyday of the predecessors on the Nintendo Wii, but it still offers the necessary hours of entertainment. You spend those hours mainly in company, with Switch Sports emerging as a modern party game, not so much as a classic video game that is also fun when you play alone. The sports are nicely balanced, with some more difficult and easier games, but it is noticeable that there are only six sports. That’s well less than the thirteen sports you had in Wii Sports Resort and that’s a shame. Nintendo plans to expand that offering. This fall, golf will be the seventh sport on offer. If that offer grows after that, Switch Sports could be a fun game for many to play once in a while, but otherwise it will probably lose its appeal quickly.

Pros

  • Nice board game
  • Variation in sports
  • Now also online

Cons

  • Little sports
  • Tennis and badminton are disappointing

The Nintendo Wii was released on December 8, 2006. Intuitively, that is about three centuries ago, but in reality … well, more than fifteen years ago anyway. The Wii laid the foundation for the way Nintendo still uses motion controls in the Nintendo Switch today. One of the games that put the swinging and swinging of Wii-Motes on the map was Wii Sports. The game came with the Wii, so everyone had that game. In many living rooms in the Netherlands and far beyond, the necessary fights have been fought with boxing, bowling games and tennis matches as if the Wimbledon final was being played on the spot. The game proved that Nintendo had something valuable on its hands with motion controls. This was further underlined when Wii Sports Resort later appeared, which made use of Wii MotionPlus,

After the Wii came the WiiU, a somewhat different console that did not lend itself to the concept that made Wii Sports successful. It took until the year 2022 before a new version was released. The Joy-Cons of the Nintendo Switch turned out to be perfectly suited for this. You may even wonder why it took so long. When we were able to get started with the Switch for the first time in January 2017, we already got to play all kinds of games in which the potential in this area was clearly visible. The function that Wii Sports had for the Wii was fulfilled for the Switch by 1-2-Switch, but that game’s simple minigames didn’t have nearly the same impact as Wii Sports had. It is therefore up to the successor of that game, the Switch Sports, which will be released this week, to revive the glory days of the Nintendo Wii.

Six sports

Switch Sports is a game that actually contains six mini-games, in the form of various sports. There are few. Wii Sports only had five, but Wii Sports Resort had thirteen. Nintendo has already announced that a seventh sport will be added with golf in the autumn, but the offer remains limited. That’s a shame, especially when you consider that several popular sports from the old games are not represented this time. Boxing from Wii Sports, for example, is no longer available and table tennis, which was still very popular in Wii Sports Resort, is also missing. What you can play: football, volleyball, tennis, badminton, bowling and chambara, which is basically sword fighting.

Which game is the most fun depends on personal preference, but also on how you play it. Most games are playable with just one Joy-Con, but football is an exception. You need both Joy-Cons or one controller for this, so if you want to play it together locally, you need two complete sets. One set is sufficient for all other sports, if you do not want to play with more than two players. That also immediately means that there will be enough people who cannot play football together locally and that is quite a shame. We also can’t help feeling that controlling players in football could well have been simplified to one Joy-Con.

leg band

Despite that caveat, football is one of our favorite sports in Switch Sports. You can choose one against one or four against four. The first one is a bit boring, but of course quite entertaining together in the living room. The possibility to play online ensures that you can play with more players at the same time and there is of course a lot of potentials. A nice extra is that Switch Sports comes with a leg strap, so you can attach the Joy-Con to your leg. If you happen to have bought Ring Fit Adventure, then you already have such a band. With the band you can make football a bit more ‘real’, but does it add much? Just waving your hands and arms gives better results in our opinion, but getting a little absorbed in the sport you play does make Switch Sports more fun. You can sit on the couch and simply make the moves with your Joy-Con or you can blend in and jump along as your volleyball player jumps up for a block. This way you also have a nice effort yourself and that makes the experience a lot more intense.

While playing football you learn that you have different kicks and that you can give the ball a bit of direction. In practice, we barely managed to aim too accurately, making the matches a bit difficult, partly because you also somewhat miss the overview. That effect plays much less of a role in the other games; the action is always there for you. Tennis and badminton probably need no explanation here. Your movements are simulated on the screen and in tennis you can give a certain effect by using the action buttons. The simulation doesn’t go deep enough to accurately translate your waving into the game. For example, don’t expect to be able to make beautiful drop shots and we didn’t quite manage to place the ball as well as we had hoped. For that reason, these sports also disappointed us a bit. You also don’t really have to walk yourself, which also takes away some potential depth.

That depth can be found in other games a bit more. This way bowling lets you play with effect as usual. Here too, the option to play online gives an extra dimension, because you can bowl with a whole bunch of players at the same time, without having to wait for each other. This is also possible locally, but waiting for each other and watching each other’s throws is of course more fun than when you play online. The degree of control in bowling is a positive point: we threw neat curves or straight balls in no time, to complete the spares. Since timing and responsiveness don’t play a role here, this is a game that just about anyone will be able to play. Bowling will therefore regain its place in the living room with Switch Sports.

Volleyball and certainly sword fighting are a lot more difficult for inexperienced gamers. Volleyball is still okay. The game works according to a fixed pattern: one player catches the ball, the other player gives a cross and the first player smashes the ball to the other side. If you do that with the right timing, the ball gains extra momentum and if every step in the attack is played perfectly, the smash becomes almost untenable, unless you are just right and catch the ball with the right timing, but the latter is very difficult. That makes volleyball one of the more challenging games and partly because of that fun to play.

Then chambara, or sword fighting, remains. This is a one on one game where both players of course have a sword and stand on a circular platform with water underneath. The goal is to swat your opponent into the water and in practice you do that by hitting him several times in a row with your sword. Your opponent can prevent that by hitting you first or by blocking your attacks. This works on the principle that an attack can be stopped by an opposing movement. You block a vertical blow by holding your sword horizontally and vice versa. That requires you to quickly anticipate what your opponent is doing and timing when you launch your attack. That makes Chambara probably the hardest game of the six. Hitting in itself is easy,

Compared to Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort, Switch Sports obviously takes a step up from a technical point of view, but the graphical style is still simple. It works well enough and looks cheerful, without really impressing. On a technical level, the real profit is of course in the online mode, which has been mentioned a few times. You can play against friends online, or pair up with random people and compete to get into Pro Leagues. That aspect of the game didn’t work during testing, so it’s too early to say how serious this is all getting. In theory, good players will be able to add an extra element to Switch Sports here.

Conclusion

Conviviality appears to be the main point of the game. Switch Sports is of course a video game, but you should see it more like a board game. It is a product that you bring out when you have friends over. The table where you would normally play 30 Seconds, Catan or Ticket to Ride now gives way to some space so you can bowl, play tennis or sword fight against each other. It is a pity that there are no more different sports and in some of the sports we lack some depth and control, but that doesn’t really matter: those factors are the same for everyone and the game will not be there during a pleasant evening with friends or family. less hilarious. If you play this on your own, you’ll be glad you can play online, but Switch Sports still loses its appeal for solo gamers pretty quickly. As a modern, active-party game, Switch Sports can be successful, although the price tag of fifty euros is quite steep, especially when you consider how little content the game actually contains.