Nintendo Switch Sports Review
Goofy sports minigames are the only good use for motion controls. Nintendo figured this out over 15 years ago, and the lesson holds true today. Nintendo Switch Sports is exactly what it says on the label, for better or for worse. Whether this is worth your time or not depends on what you want out of this game.
Do you want six motion control sports games to play with friends and strangers? If so, come on down! Nintendo Switch Sports is here, baby! You’ve got Volleyball, Soccer, Badminton, Tennis, Bowling, and Chambara to choose from. The downside being that you’ll need to love these games to death in order to get any mileage out of this game. Thankfully, some of them are pretty great.
Swing For The Fences
Volleyball is great because it’s so involved. You’ve got bumps, serves, sets, and spikes to master. You’re also free to focus on these moves, since travelling around the court is handled for you. If you mess up your timing too bad, it can cost you points. There’s some wiggle room in terms of accuracy, but you still face consequences for failure.
Bowling is crazy boring. You just carefully line up your shot and swing. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see videos of people bowling perfect games within a week of release day. Your shot drifts the same amount more or less every time, which makes it easy to find your rhythm almost immediately. By the end of the match, ten rounds feels too long.
Playing Tennis by yourself gets weird. You’re controlling both halves of a doubles team, which forces you to think fast. Beyond that the matches are pretty straightforward. Your shots supposedly change depending on when you swing your racket. In practice, this is tough to reliably execute. There’s some room for variety, but not as much as you’re hoping for.
Soccer is kind of like playing Rocket League, but everyone’s on foot. So you’re trying desperately to move this enormous ball around, and constantly blowing it. The games have this frantic energy that I really appreciate. Especially after putting time in some of the other, more placid sports. Soccer definitely has a lot of chaos potential. The only downside is that you need both Joy-Cons to play it. Depending on your Joy-Con drift situation, this could be a problem.
Pure Chaos Out There
Badminton is more complex than bowling, but only just so. You’ve got a couple of options for serves and swings, which is nice. The dominant strategy – throttling your serve – will likely get old pretty fast. I got bored of this one after a bare handful of matches, but your mileage may vary.
Chambara should be so cool! It’s sword fighting, which rules. You’ve got three different styles to choose from, lots of moves to master, and the action is satisfying. The trouble comes when you’re putting all of this into practice. You can just sort of bash your opponent into submission and shove them over the side. If you block successfully it stuns your enemy. Then you bash them until they recover, and repeat. Suddenly they’re in the water, and you win. This game gets big points for high-energy action, if nothing else.
All of these games are great in short bursts. It’s only over repeated play sessions that they start to falter. To that end, your enjoyment is tied to your playstyle. Will you bust out Nintendo Switch Sports whenever friends drop by or log on? Perfect. You’ll get months of use out of this game. But if you lean too hard on these activities all at once, you’ll be burnt out in a couple of days. On the other hand, if you’ve been pining for a return to the glory days of Wii Sports, this game is perfect for you. You can even use the old-school Miis instead of the fancier character templates. Just remember to keep your living room clear of obstacles. All of this swinging around is dangerous, after all.
***A Nintendo Switch code was provided by the publisher***
- Fun in short bursts
- Good variety of games
- Controls are easy to learn
- Games get old fast
- Both Badminton and Tennis?
- Bowling worse than I remember