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It’s been 15 years since Wii Sports graced our then cathode ray tube screens - and its Wii Bowling, for a lot of folks (myself included), was nothing short of a game changer. A number of follow-ups came out including Wii Sports Resort (2009) and Wii Sports Club, which debuted on the Nintendo Wii U in 2013. But it’s been a while for Nintendo’s motion-controls-focused sports series, so it feels great to be back in the alley with this new iteration.
Nintendo Switch Sports is, much like its predecessor(s), a compilation of mini games - six in total, for the game’s launch. Three of these you will be familiar with: bowling, tennis and the combat of chambara. Alongside these are three new additions to the series: volleyball, badminton and soccer.
Check out this in-depth look at the events of Nintendo Switch Sports...
So, let’s look at these new games, shall we? Now, even though volleyball isn’t usually a sport that floats my boat, I was very interested to see how it played in Nintendo Switch Sports. Could be fun, right? Alas, not so much. Straight out of the gate, I didn’t click with this one at all. The controls feel irritably sluggish, which affects your timing, which in turn highlights the repetitive nature of this particular game. You have a limited set of actions where, along with your team mate, you can set the ball up and strike to score points but really, we needn’t go further with this inclusion. I lost interest very quickly with it.
Badminton, however, sets the Switch Sports spark alight. I was once again reminded of the fun of playing these motion-controlled Nintendo sports games that I once loved. The controls are fluid and responsive, and there’s certainly a satisfaction to smashing the shuttlecock with force. “But aren’t there only limited actions you can do in this game too?” I hear you ask - and yes, that’s true. But the responsiveness and mechanics of this game are just miles ahead of volleyball. And that’s just how it is.
Next, it’s the surprising star of Nintendo Switch Sports - soccer (which is to say, yes, football). You have a few options in terms of game type here: one-on-one, four-on-four, free practice and shoot-out. A leg strap accessory is bundled with the physical copy of this game, but as it stands you can only use said accessory in shoot-out mode (a patch update is said to be coming this summer to make the leg strap usable with the other modes too, so we shall see how that pans out).
Keen to see what this accessory was all about, I strapped up and kicked things off with shoot-out mode. Here, the opposing player launches a massive football at you and you try to smash it into the goal using a swing of your foot - simple. While this was fun to play, dare I say it might have more legs in it once the online patch is issued.
On realising the leg strap is incompatible with the other soccer (football) modes, my expectations were deflated at the thought of controlling a football game with the Joy-Cons. But much to my surprise, this was far from the case. Using this method, a selection of swipe ups and downs and left to rights gain you control of said big ball. It’s all fairly straightforward really, as with all games in Nintendo’s sport series. The “finish him” move in this one though is the real star - two Joy-Cons thrashed downwards to command a thrusting header. Many a satisfying goal is to be scored with this manoeuvre.
Overall Nintendo Switch Sports brings forward a fun, first-rate, much-loved Wii series to the Switch console. Classics such as bowling and chambara can now be enjoyed by newcomers, while long-time fans of the series can relish new additions to said classics - for example, special bowling - as well as new mini games. Time will tell if the update brings another level to the game, and whether DLC additions will make the roster of events more attractive (golf is due, post-release); but right now, Nintendo Switch Sports is a lively reinvention of a Wii-era essential.
Pros: brilliant to have bowling back, soccer/football has promise and is already great fun, tennis and badminton are satisfyingly fluid
Cons: volleyball is disappointing, having just six sports at launch might seem too few to some players
For fans of: Wii Sports, 51 Worldwide Games, Rocket League
Nintendo Switch Sports is released on April 29 exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. Code and accessories used for this review provided by Nintendo. Find a guide to GAMINGbible's review scores here. (Note: online functionality was unavailable at the time of writing. However, Nintendo says this will be live in the coming days, ready for release.)
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