I might not have owned Nintendo’s seventh-generation home console when Wii Sports launched in 2006, but I was well aware of its cultural impact. I recall booting up the wacky sports simulator at my sister’s apartment and joyously swinging my Remote/Nunchuk to hit a baseball, throw a quick jab, or swing a golf club. So, it feels serendipitous that I’m reviewing Switch Sports 16 years later. Diving into the second sequel’s six activities alone and with friends (locally) has been a fun, nostalgic rush. I haven’t had access to the game’s online multiplayer component, which, as you can imagine, houses a bulk of Switch Sports’ content. So, while I can’t talk about ranked progression, the cosmetic/currency systems, and exclusively-online modes, here are my thoughts on everything else.
Of course, the first thing I noticed was the modern, sleek look of the latest entry in Nintendo’s sports simulator franchise. Spocco Square is a vibrant plaza with clear, blue skies, towering skyscrapers, neon festival signs, and lush greenery. The upgraded visuals are a reminder that Switch Sports is a step above its predecessors, and, in some ways, it truly is. Controls are as tight and responsive as ever, making Joycon movements/impacts feel intuitive. Tennis and Badminton – the latter being my favorite new addition – are a testament to this, as serving or receiving the ball and shuttlecock make for some exhilarating rallies. Unfortunately, the difficulty options are disappointing if you’re looking for a PVE challenge. Normal, Strong, and Powerhouse range from boringly easy to laughably punishing.
Similarly, the game suffers from a lack of content. Where Wii Sports rewarded its players with skill points on a flow chart and increased crowd sizes relative to one’s success, Switch Sports puzzlingly offers nothing to its solo fanbase. I’ve spent hours playing each sport repeatedly, and beyond securing a win after a heady matchup, there’s no greater sense of gratification or progression. Sadly, this fact overshadows most of Switch Sports’ shining achievements, like the strap accessory – a demanding but ambitiously “realistic” way to play Soccer. Online multiplayer versions of these activities gift competitors new outfits, accessories, and gear (alternative skins for rackets, balls, etc.). Unfortunately, I’m struggling with recommending Switch Sports for those who prefer singleplayer experiences.
Overall, Switch Sports is a blast to play. I expect it will undoubtedly rival other popular Nintendo party games like Mario Kart and Smash Bros. Ultimate, among many others. However, the limited selection of activities doesn’t hold a candle to the titles mentioned above. Moreover, no incentives exist for casual players looking to feel a sense of accomplishment playing by themselves or with family/friends. Nevertheless, I’m excited to dive into Pro League when the game drops on April 29 and hope the unlockables make up for the repetitiveness of the gameplay loop.
My review should go up on the site later next week, so be on the lookout for that. And feel free to drop your impressions – singleplayer or otherwise – in the comments section below!