Nintendo Switch Sports is a party game doing its level best to recapture the magic and wonder of Wii Sports. Much like its predecessor, however, this modern follow-up also suffers from a lack of depth, variety, and solo options. Online play and customisation are available, but they may not be enough to keep players engaged for long. The game also has improved visuals and catchy music, but it is not quite the novelty it was back in 2006 and therefore begs the question: is the title worth the cost of entry?

Nintendo Switch Sports is a fun and nostalgic party game suffering from a lack of content, variety, and solo options.

The game offers six sports to choose from: volleyball, badminton, bowling, soccer, chambara (sword fighting), and tennis. Each sport has its own rules, mechanics, and challenges, and they are all of a generally high quality whilst also being easy to learn (in typical Nintendo fashion). The motion controls are very intuitive and responsive, and they make great use of the Joy-Con’s features, such as “HD rumble” and the built-in Infra-Red sensor. Gamers can play any sport alone or with friends, both locally and online; and also have the ability to customise their avatar’s appearance and outfits, as well as the difficulty level and match settings for each sport.

There is no denying how Nintendo Switch Sports is very much a party title. As such, it shines particularly well when played with other people in the same room. Doing so almost always leads to a fun and competitive atmosphere and is clearly reminiscent of the original Wii Sports craze, which this game is hoping to emulate. The simplicity of the motion controls ensures the game is accessible to almost anyone too, regardless of gaming experience or skill level. With support for up to eight players using Joy-Cons, it is very clear just how much of a party title Nintendo Switch Sports is trying to be; but what if someone does not have seven (or even just one more plus one) other people to join them? Is the online mode enough to persuade single players to engage with the game?

Nintendo Switch Sports is a fun and nostalgic party game suffering from a lack of content, variety, and solo options.

As far as party games go, Nintendo Switch Sports has some noticeable flaws preventing it from being a must-have for Switch owners. The first is the lack of content and variety. There are only six games on offer, which is half of what Wii Sports Resort offered. Less can often be more, but definitely not in the guise of a spiritual successor. Moreover, three of the included sports (volleyball, badminton, and tennis) are very similar in gameplay and presentation, as they all involve hitting a ball or shuttlecock over a net with a racket. Essentially, this means half of the titles all use the same or similar motion mechanics for gameplay; resulting in very limited changes to movement. The game could have easily benefited from more diverse and original sports, such as golf, boxing, or even archery. Newer and more complex sports would have also been able to better take advantage of the Joy-Con controllers.

Variety of sports aside, another major issue is the complete lack of solo options and other progression mechanics – especially when offline. The game does not have any story, career, or tournament modes to keep solo players interested. When offline, the only thing solo players can do alone is play against CPU opponents or practice skills in the training mode. Even then, this new title lacks the mini-games present in the predecessor as well as the artificial intelligence (AI) that would get more difficult with each progressive match – the new title simply has a choice of three difficulty options. There are no rewards or unlockables for playing solo, and the game does not even track stats or achievements either. So there is no sense of accomplishment or improvement. Not until one goes online.

Where Nintendo Switch Sports begins to redeem itself, especially in solo play, is through the game’s online mode. Although four of the six included games function as they normally would, just with an online opponent, soccer and bowling become completely different during online play.

For online soccer, teams are made up of eight players – double the solo/party mode number of gamers – which immediately adds gravitas to pulling off passes and goals – making each game feel so much more satisfying. The same is true for bowling, where the player number jumps to 16 total players. Thankfully, the game is adjusted to accomodate the increase in players. In this way, every three frames the scoreboard is split in two and the bottom half are eliminated. As such, less skilled players do not need to wait for the full 10 frames to be completed before obtaining experience points, whereas more experienced players can enjoy the extra degree of tension knowing a mistake or two can drop them out of the running. Alas, the ‘special mode’ is not available online, and remains an offline experience.

Unlike offline solo and group play, the online component of Nintendo Switch Sports rewards players with experience points, which may be used to purchase avatar cosmetics (which appear to rotate every few weeks). Inline with Nintendo’s general philosophy of creating experiences with children in mind, the game does not have any purchasable content or micro-transactions – a rarity in the current market.

Nintendo Switch Sports is a fun and nostalgic party game suffering from a lack of content, variety, and solo options.

As nice as the option is to play online with other players around the world, certain issues with the online mode did crop up during the review period. For a start, the servers did not appear to be very robust or reliable with the game suffering from frequent lag and connection issues, which can ruin the overall gameplay experience. Thankfully, finding matches was plentiful and easy enough. There is also seemingly a complete lack of a matchmaking or ranking system to pair players of a similar skill level or preference, which may prove to become problematic over time. The online mode also does not support voice or text chat, so there is no way to communicate or interact with other players.

Despite Nintendo Switch Sports being a very average party game, it does open up more with its online mode. For the most part, it is a fun and nostalgic romp offering nicely-upgraded visuals and well-implemented motion controls, but the solo and party play leave a lot to be desired – relying on nostalgia over fun to power the game’s value. The online mode, however, does a much better job of adding value for players to enjoy. Alas, the mode lacks too many features needed to make the online portion worthy of the cost of entry. Ultimately, Nintendo Switch Sports is relegated to the realm of only being ‘sometimes relevant’ in situations of extreme boredom or when friends and family need placating. It could have been great with more content, variety, and solo options, but settles for being average in almost every sense of the word.



Great for people who enjoy playing with friendsNot the best for playing with friends
Great motion controls and nostalgia of past gamesOnline mode lacks staples
Offline mode leaves a lot to be desired

Title reviewed on Nintendo Switch with code supplied by Nintendo.

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Owner, founder and editor-in-chief at Vamers, Hans has a vested interest in geek culture and the interactive entertainment industry. With a Masters degree in Communications and Ludology, he is well read and versed in matters relating to video games and communication media, among many other topics of interest.