Wii Sports took over the world in 2006. Nintendo’s motion-controlled sports package has transformed grandparents into virtual bowling pros, helping the Wii sell over 100 million units. The Nintendo Switch has already reached that huge sales figure, and now Nintendo Switch Sports ($49.99) is hoping to attract a larger casual audience. However, after playing the initial six games, we were reminded once again how the motion controls can excite and disappoint at the same time.
Appearance is decent
The original Wii Sports didn’t have much of a sense of place, but the follow-up, Wii Sports Resort, moved the competition to Wuhu Island, a tropical area that later appeared in other Nintendo games. Nintendo Switch Sports bases its sports activities on the Spocco Arena, which is like a spa/fitness hotel. It is a bit mysterious, but the natural environments within the glass courtyards look luxurious and luxurious. Plus, Nintendo’s simpler art styles always shine with high fidelity.
Nintendo Switch Sports lets you play as your own Mii, but you can also play as a new avatar: a fellow Sportsman. It looks like a mathematical version of, say, a human animal crossing. It’s a bit generic compared to Miis (especially in Miitopia), but you can customize its look and equipment.
One way to unlock new gear is to participate in online multiplayer seasons and win prizes. You can also compete against bots to earn a limited amount of prizes if you don’t sign up for Nintendo Switch Online. We won’t know until the game launches how long the network code will continue to hold, but I haven’t had any connection issues during a tense online bowling tournament.
Wii Sports encouraged friends and family to get off the couch and swing a Wii controller like a tennis racket or baseball bat. The Nintendo Switch Sports replaces the remote with a pair of Joy-Con controllers. Motion controls are mandatory to play, so don’t bother buying a Nintendo Switch Sports if you own a Nintendo Switch Lite. How do you accumulate experiences? It depends on the game.
Tennis is arguably Wii Sports’ most popular game, and it’s reasonably well held up. The game wants you to perform large and exaggerated gestures to carry out the moves, which is fine if you are playing at the back of the field. However, I messed up my timing while being blocked near the network. It’s on par with Mario Tennis Aces’ swing mode, but without the more ridiculous fighting game elements.
Badminton, which may seem redundant with tennis, looks much better. My character’s movements were more in line with my own, and I enjoyed shooting my opponent with trick shots. In fact, the prolonged walks resulted in arm pain the next day.
Volleyball is another new game, and it separates itself from tennis and badminton by focusing on specific actions that you perform at certain moments. The game alerts you when it’s time to crash, set, climb or block, and determines the strength of your style based on your timing. It’s a little awkward, and you lose some of that direct connection when the whole game is basically a quick time event. However, the payoff will be massive when you find your groove.
Football is the most involved game; It’s almost like stripping off Rocket League or the upcoming Mario Strikers. You control the camera as you guide your character with the analog stick, and swing the Joy-Con to kick low, high, or sideways. You can also perform diving headers, maintaining the stamina to dash across the field. Alternatively, you can make use of the leg strap to kick balls towards the goal in the penalty shootout mode. The kick’s timing has a bit of a lag, but it feels good.
The physical version of the Nintendo Switch Sports comes with a leg strap. However, if you already own a Ring Fit Adventure, and already have a leg strap, you may want to purchase the discounted digital version for $39.99.
Swordplay returns from Wii Sports Resort. Precise control of the sword allows you to cut through enemies to break their guards and drop them in the water. You have to be quick and smart to exploit enemies’ weaknesses, while not leaving yourself vulnerable to attack. it’s a wonderful feeling.
Bowling remains fun and smooth. The biggest innovation is the battle royale mode. As with all players, the players with the lowest scores are kicked out of the competition, turning each round into an endurance test to keep players cool and survive. It makes every hit incredibly precious.
Some Nintendo Switch Sports games are definitely better than others, but the biggest problem right now is the lack of quantity rather than quality. More sports are coming later this year as free updates, like golf and an improved soccer mode with more leg strap support. However, without baseball, boxing, and basketball (not to mention all the more exotic tropical activities at Wii Sports Resort), Nintendo Switch Sports currently feels a bit lacking. However, Wii Sports wasn’t the most important game either, so you can look out for Nintendo Switch Sports when it launches on April 29th.
For more recommended Nintendo Switch titles, check out the Best Nintendo Switch Games and Best Nintendo Switch Games for Kids. For an in-depth discussion on video games, visit PCMag’s Pop-Off YouTube channel.
Relive your Wii Sports memories with a new collection of casual, motion-controlled sports for the Nintendo Switch.
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