Nintendo Switch Sports review-in-progress: “Holding judgment until we can test online”

Nostalgia can sometimes be a dangerous thing. As I dive into Switch Sports, I have almost visceral visions of Christmas 2006, with my usually non-gamer parents brandishing Wii Remotes as they took another literal swing at Wii Sports tennis with dangerously full bellies. As vivid as those Wii Sports memories are for many of us, it’s now 2022 and Switch Sports has to do more than reignite a few wistful looks back at overzealous family gatherings.

What Nintendo Switch Sports does well is to mix that nostalgia with a little touch of freshness. Tennis, bowling, and sword fighting (now Chambara) return from Wii Sports and its sequel Wii Sports Resort, and then there are three new sports entering the ring – badminton, volleyball, and football. There are brilliantly simple tutorials for each sport, both new and old, and the controls are equally easy to grasp. The accessibility and intuitiveness of the controls have always been such a huge part of the appeal of these games, and thankfully Switch Sports doesn’t mess with any of that. If anything, controls are more refined and nuanced thanks to the Joy-Cons’ responsiveness.

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Oddly for someone who has no interest in real sport whatsoever, it’s football that I’ve had the most fun with in Switch Sports. There are three 1-2 player modes – along with a free practice option – where you work to score goals with an oversized ball. There are one-on-one or four-on-four options, where you either work alone or with three other CPU players. You move around the pitch with the right Joy-Con, while moving the left Joy-Con lets you kick in a variety of directions, leap up, or sprint. It’s surprisingly involved – particularly as the other sports will automatically move your characters for you – and brilliantly chaotic when another human player gets involved in local multiplayer. You can control passes, do mad flailing headers, and sprint around to get the edge on your component. There’s even a little stamina system to contend with. Yes, it’s more like a football take on air hockey than real soccer, but I’ve never been so passionate about football in my life.

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