Nintendo Switch Sports (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Jorge Ba-oh 03.05.2022

Review for Nintendo Switch Sports on Nintendo Switch

Remember that frosty December night in 2006? Santa Claus was awol, so it was down to eager parents and Nintendo fans to queue up in snow filled carparks to possibly grab that must have console. Nintendo were in a tough spot, coming off the back of the GameCube, and needed a hit to reignite that multiplayer frenzy in the living room.

Enter, Wii Sports. A unique motion-control gem that was given life due to Nintendo needing to find a suitable host for their Mii character experiments. Over a 100-million units later, the concept revolutionised the living room and that perception of what makes a video game.

Now over fifteen years later and Nintendo are back at it, using the updated motion-controlled technology in the successor to Wii Sports. Can the new Nintendo Switch Sports concept bring that same audience back on the court for more or is it an idea left well in the past?

When the Nintendo Wii launched many moons ago, it was a fun party game that simply sold the hardware. Players of all generations and experience levels were enthralled by that peculiar piece of rectangular plastic. Graphically it didn't quite showcase the console's abilities, but it packed a sprinkle of that Nintendo secret sauce. Simple to understand, difficult to put down.

It's now 2022 and the Nintendo Switch is going from strength to strength. Bestselling blockbusters and evergreen favourites dominate the charts, with the console leaving the lukewarm Wii U reception in the past. Is there room in the market for a motion-controlled sports game? As families and friends start to meet up in-person again, it could be the ideal time to pass around the joy cons for a match or two.

Nintendo Switch Sports has six games out of the box (at time of review) with golf to be added on later. For racket sports fans, the quintennial Wii Sports classic returns, tennis, joined by the slightly nimbler badminton. Those who prefer to dual with swords can opt for tense 1 vs 1 matches of chambara. Prefer to dabble in those ball skills? Nintendo Switch Sports also includes the surprisingly enjoyable football (or soccer for US folk) and a little bit of beach-side volleyball for those that prefer to use their hands instead. Last, but certainly not least, is the return of the much-loved Wii classic, bowling.

Screenshot for Nintendo Switch Sports on Nintendo Switch

Looking at the returning favourites, tennis feels very much like a fine-tuned take on the original - four on four matches, with players controlling both net and baseline play if there aren't enough humans to control them. Again, the characters are auto-controlled, zipping, leaping, and dashing about the court with distinctive 2006 flair. The difference comes in the tech inside the Joy-Con. Nintendo have refined shots significantly, with each feeling tighter and more responsive than before.

Badminton, on the other hand, is a completely different beast. It is exhausting yet rewarding. Matches are played 1 vs 1 and shots are incredibly frantic, nippy and it really feels different to the classic tennis matches of old. To secure that essential point, it's a case of digging deep and trying to outsmart that rival - drop shots, smashes and tricky angles can really make or break a round. Scores are up to five points, so every single one counts!

Another 1 vs 1 recruit is the Chambara sword fighting, which doesn't involve nets or shuttlecock, but instead sees each player brandishing a weapon to strategically batter one atop a raised platform. The loser of each round ends up launched into a rather safe pool of water below. Jolly good fun! Contrasting the badminton matches, these slow the action right down, with each player looking for that elusive chance to strike. The strategic element and brutality of it all, minus blood and guts, makes a neat addition to the more traditional sports.

Screenshot for Nintendo Switch Sports on Nintendo Switch

Bowling is another Wii Sports recruit and just had to make the Switch cut. Much like tennis, it feels very much the same - refined but very much maintaining what made the original so effective. After a few balls, players will feel very much at home - able to add that signature whip to collect a well-earned strike or spare. The main difference is the public online matches - they come with a neat twist. Battle. Royale. Yes, an elimination format where only the top folk make it through to the following rounds and that challenging final. Be prepared, veterans from 2006 are very much out in force! Playing within friend lobbies or locally comes with the more classic tally-the-score approach, made even better with players not needing to wait to take their turn if playing on individual Switch consoles.

The final pair of games are also newcomers to the Nintendo sports family: soccer (football for Brits) and volleyball. Soccer feels very much like Rocket League, minus the cars, as teams of four dash about a field trying to score using a giant ball. Not an oversized ball, but one that towers above the field. It may seem a little bizarre, but it works surprisingly well online - with teams running and diving about to try to score before the time runs out. Volleyball, however, is perhaps the weakest of the bunch, slow paced and complicated. It's a complex setup and chained events to try to score points (very much like the real thing). Nintendo have added a guide to help the flow of the games, but it doesn't have the ease of the others.

The joy of a game like this comes in the multiplayer. Both online and offline are supported, with the latter feeling very much the Wii days - sure to be a crowd pleaser for those who pull out a pile of Joy-Con at the next family reunion. Online play has worked in the four days of trying the game at different times of day. Matches are generally found within minutes and are as fluid as having roaring crowds in the living room. There have been a handful of very minor glitches though, especially in Badminton, but for a game that relies on speed and precision, it's a crowd-pleaser across the online waves as well.

Screenshot for Nintendo Switch Sports on Nintendo Switch

Up to two players sharing a console can team-up together, much like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but this also does cause some matching imbalance. At time of review, a solo player could end up paired up against two others - making for some sports, like tennis, a little bit harder.

Throwing it back to 2006, the Mii characters make a return as an option, but the default uses slightly different avatars. These, unlike the Mii, can be customised with accessories - hats, glasses, facemasks, all won through racking up points for playing matches. They're a neat addition as a customisation feature, but the new recruits lack that personality that the Mii have. It's odd that Nintendo chose this route, instead of borrowing some clothing features from Miitopia instead.

Beyond the multiplayer there is a surprising absence of content. Bowling comes with a fun challenge feature and football fans can kick away at a shoot-out designed for the leg strap in mind. Both are neat additions, but the bonus games and potential for training modes are absent in Nintendo Switch Sports. There is, however, opportunity for additional content and sports to be added - Golf is set to launch this Autumn - but compared to the original and Wii Sports Resort, the launch package does lack a fair bit of content.

Screenshot for Nintendo Switch Sports on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Nintendo Switch Sports is a fun sequel that does online right. Those looking for that throwback Wii Sports feel with solid online play will fit right at home. It's great with friends and family in the living-room, too. The main drawback, however, is the lack of content - Golf being absent at launch and returning sports. Nintendo Switch Sports is a solid start, with that familiar feel and the potential to add more content in the future.









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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   


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