Nintendo Switch Sports looks like more than just a board game
Nintendo Switch Sportssequel to the hugely popular Sports Wii and Wii Sports Complex announced in February, is more imaginative than its boring name suggests. While these Wii titles served as tech demos, of sorts, for Nintendo’s new motion controls and Mii characters at the time, Change sports feels more like a full game, with more involved controls, better visuals, and a post-launch plan for online modes and in-game cosmetics.
Each mini-game is beautiful, with detailed locations and more expressive avatars to play (for those curious, you can always use the old Miis on your console, if you really want to get into this field Sports Wii mentality). I have to play each of Nintendo Switch Sports six mini-games during my hour-long practice: bowling, soccer, badminton, tennis, volleyball, and chambara sword dueling (golf will arrive later in 2022 in a free update).
There are multiple modes and multiplayer options for each minigame, whether you plan to play with people on the couch or online with a Nintendo Switch Online account. Bowling – a favorite minigame among many – has received some welcome updates. If you’re playing with people locally or online, multiple people can play simultaneously to speed things up instead of going one at a time. There’s also a new online mode which is actually a Battle Royale bowling mode, where you’ll be knocked out if you don’t keep your score high enough.
All sports require you to swing a Joy-Con to match the gesture you would make in real sport. Football is the exception, for now at least – I’ll get to that in a second. The game works with Joy-Con to handle kicking, diving, sprinting and running. It actually plays like a full third-person football game, with a radial stamina bar, similar to the one in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. An update coming later this year will add support for the Joy-Con leg strap, allowing you to kick to shoot the ball.
There’s a $49.99 physical version of the game that will include the leg strap, while the company will sell the accessory separately for $9.99 for those who might want to purchase a $39.99 digital copy.
Cosmetics are new to Nintendo Switch Sports, and that’s the angle the company uses to reward returning players. It will roll out weekly cosmetic drops that you can only get that week, and only by playing online. Some cosmetics can be worn throughout the game, while others are sport-limited (unique sword designs, new soccer balls, and goal animations, to name a few- a few, are feasible).
For people who don’t yet have a Switch Online subscription, this might be the most enticing reason to subscribe right now. If you’re offline, the game will only give you a few free cosmetic items as a taste of what’s behind the paywall.
All of the minigames capture what made the original titles go-to party games. The controls are accessible (and still surprisingly punishing if your timing is off), and the new and returning sports are frenetic and fun to play.
With expected titles on the horizon, like the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Splaton 3and more, Change sports stands out as a release that taps into a different but equally successful era for the company. Ultimately, it’s still a pleasure to play the unique game that relies solely on motion controls instead of basic controller-based gameplay. There’s still no better company for making these kinds of games than Nintendo.
Nintendo Switch Sports will be released on April 29.
Correction: This article originally stated that the physical copy of Nintendo Switch Sports costs $39.99, while the digital version costs $29.99 – both of which are incorrect. The post has now been updated to state that the physical edition costs $49.99, while the digital version costs $39.99. We regret the error.