Remember back in 2006 when Wii Sports took was the biggest gaming craze of the year. Just the mention of the word Wii sports reminds us all of the motion controlled chaos that was bowling with mates in a college gaff during an break hour. Firing up the Nintendo Switch with Wii Sports was possibly one of the biggest blast to the past moments I have had in my adult life. The motion control is still as simple and as fun as any one would remember and it’s this elegant simplicity that brings out the fun factor in this reimagined title.
Funnily enough Nintendo Switch Sports is first follow up to the 16 year old Wii Sports, Yeah 16 years old, I didn’t believe it either. Anyway Switch Sports is jam packed with old favourites we all remember as well as three new game types. Sure it’s not perfect, it never was back in the day and some of the new game modes are a bit boring, the old reliables bring back all the joy of putting your house at risk for the perfect serve. We already know Nintendo intend to release additional content and extra sports in the near future, so if six game modes don’t tickle your fancy, there is more due soon.
Now let’s get into it:
Switch Sports as I mentioned is about fun not function, back in the day Wii Sports wanted to be more of a fitness based product, however they now no their place. In Wii Sports, you could see a graph of how well you were doing in certain sports, and you could see your progress over time, this is now swapped out online with a grading system where after a while playing any game you’ll be given your rank and over time winning or placing higher in online games will help you rank up. The higher the rank the higher the reward.
As of now you can play any 1 or 6 game modes:
Volleyball, Badminton and Soccer (with a leg strap too) are all new game modes for Switch Sports with some of our old favourites due to come in later updates. These can be played on your lonesome, with mates in person and online and now of course you can play online globally against strangers. Each game is fun in its own way and I’ll go into more detail on these shortly but for now all you need to know is that they all work in their own right both for local single and multiplay as well as for online gameplay. Personally I thoroughly enjoyed the online game mode, unlocking new clobber for my character and all that but it wasn’t until I played in a room with friends where the nostalgic music brings you back 15 years and you’re swinging your arms like a maniac to hit the back hand. That’s where Nintendo Switch Sports excels, bringing family and friends together for short lived but epic fun.
Graphics and MII Options
Would it be Nintendo without a sharp, vibrant and colourful world? Switch Sports is no different, each game is set in a beautiful stadium with plenty of Mii Amibos in situ to watch the action unfold. In order to play you will need to create your player, and you and either import your own Mii which always looks kinda terrifying or your can use a Nintendo template with a range of hairstyles, eyes, clothes etc etc etc.
This is really fun if you ask me especially online, as there aren’t a lot of choices right now, Nintendo has said that you can unlock more customisation options online, which offers up a great incentive to keep playing, not too dissimilar to games like FallGuys where over time more users will have a wider variety of outfits and styles going on which will mean everyone will in time look totally different. Which is great and adds a level of personality not seen before in a game like this.
The New Game Modes
As I mentioned earlier there is are 6 sports on offer right now that you can play both locally and online. As we mentioned earlier Switch Sports relied on motion controls meaning you won’t be playing on the Switch Lite and this year there are 3 new game modes that have very very different ways to play than what we’ve dealt with in the past.
Let’s start by looking at volleyball. To be completely transparent this was the game mode I didn’t really enjoy at all. It’s the only turn based play system within Nintendo Switch Sports, where players take turns to bump, block, setup and spike. It’s slow, its clunky and the timing just isn’t right, after plenty of hours of gameplay I can only get the spike right with every other motion early or later, no matter what you do. Maybe that’s just me and maybe others will find this game mode fun but for me I found volleyball a bit to turn based to be enjoyable.
Yano what the football is a new concept using the leg strap so I’m going to give it a bit more wiggle room than volleyball, solely because you can see something different in Switch Sports. Whether playing online, single or shooting mode you will need to Joy cons per person and this is probably what ads a layer of confusion initially.
With standard mode, playing online or in person as I mentioned you will need the 2 Joy Cons to play, the left hand controler manages direction, sprinting, these are done through the top and analogue buttons while swishing the controller allows you to kick the ball, the right controller manages camera direction through the analogue stick, a button allows you to jump, while also a swish of the controller allows you to kick, now swish both controllers at the same time and of you go with a diving header, which in fairness is quite comical, if unpredictable.
Then you have the shooting mode, where you get to wear the leg strap supplied in the box. We fully expect new game modes to incorporate this within the DLC because if this shooting mode is the only reason for the leg strap, it’s a bit pointless. Anywho, shooting mode is a bit of fun…just stand far enough back so you don’t boot a coffee table, it happens trust me.
Basically the ball flies by and you have to swing a big boot at the oversized ball on the volley to direct the ball towards goal. That’s really it for the football mode, online feels like people based Rocket League while shooting mode is a bit of craic allbeit short lived. Let’s see what the update holds.
Badminton in fairness is a bit of a laugh, especially when playing locally with friends. Of the new games it’s by far the easiest to figure out, 1 Joy Con and swing, need more info??? There is none it’s that simple. What I loved about this game mode is the variety of shooting, so far it feels smooth and with the ability to perform drop shots you can force an opponent real or online into making mistakes you can capitalise on.
From my playing of Badminton so far, it’s much much faster then both soccer and volleyball, while those who will remember the chaos swinging of tennis from the older game, this feels far smoother and refined where rallys can seem to last a life time, with timing, alternating shots and feeling out your opponent more prevalent than in other game modes in Switch Sports. It will be interesting to see what the update bring but right now it’s only 1-1 unlike the 2-2 tennis, maybe there is something in that?
The Old Reliables
When it comes to the old reliables in Chambara, Tennis and Bowling, Nintendo Switch Sports brings back old game modes that we know and love, with very little change to what made them great. Light tweaks to the motion sensitivity and a lovely new arena’s but beyond that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Bowling is bowling, very simple and basically a carbon copy of what we had back in the day, bar the rolling head if you threw the ball backwards by accident. In Nintendo Switch Sports you can play both locally and online (versus up to 16 people) across 2 game modes.
Bowling is probably the best game of the lot, anyone can play it and the online lobby always fills up nice and quick. Motion controls are so simple, pick the direction and angle you want to throw, hold down the back button as you swing and that’s it. Well you can add spin and stuff like that but we’ll leave you master those mechanics yourself.
In special mode, mastery of these techniques is the key, every lane can have a range of obstacles in place, whether this is bridges, uneven flooring, moving pillars and more, learning how to curve the ball around or master a different floor bend all makes this mode utter carnage….and I’m all here for it.
Chambara has three modes: Swords, Charge Swords and Double Swords. In the first two, you play with one controller and use the back button to block and swing the control to strike your opponent. Of course this is Switch Sports so you’re trying to knock your opponent off the platform and into the drink below.
You can also use double sword mode which requires 2 Joy Cons to play, which is the exact same as the above in terms of controlling, just with two swords instead of one. In fairness it’s really quick to play and it’s best of 3 so if a game to play in 2minutes or less is what you’re after this could be for you, take a few swings, drop your opponent in the water and walk away…easy.
Tennis and Badminton are much the same when it comes to gameplay, although tennis possibly a little slower and more methodical as the ralleys won’t be as long as they would be when you play badminton. Now we all know and love the tennis mode from back in the Wii days but Switch Sport brings this mode back with a control system so basic anyone can play. Swing over head, backhand, forehand, topspin, just swing your JoyCon as if you were holding a racket and that’s tennis in a nutshell.
You can play this mode on your own, with one or 3 mates and the game is always 2 on 2. You can also play online and when it’s 2 people versus just you, you’re bound to have some fun.
The Goosed Verdict
If I’m being totally 100% honest with myself here, Nintendo Switch Sports is good without being great. It was never in a million years going to be able to succeed just because of how popular Wii Sports was back in the day, however taking expectations aside, Switch Sports is a fun title lacking in quantity not quality, sadly missing old memorable games like golf, boxing, baseball and basketball…….all of which could be coming as free updates later in the year alongside a an enhanced soccer mode with more leg strap support.
If you loved Wii Sports, then this latest rendition is right up your alley, Switch Sports is fun, fast and downright mental when you have a friend or group to play with. Sometimes we don’t need the sharpest of graphics or the detailed storyline, sometimes gaming can be simple with a smile and Nintendo more than anyone else understands this and Nintendo Switch Sports delivers just that.