Nintendo Switch Sports Review: Wonders of jiggling aren’t quite as novel as they used to be

More than 80 million households at one point owned a copy of Wii Sports, the motion-controlled collection that captivated non-gamers for a time in 2007.

This title defined the plucky little Wii console as a friendly machine where playing games was as easy and intuitive as wiggling a controller. The stakes are far less for Nintendo Switch Sports, a more lavish reimagining of a console that’s already a huge hit.

While NSS isn’t a clone, it’s essentially the same arrangement in which the Joy-Con motion controllers allow gamers of all skill levels to compete in six sports: tennis, badminton, soccer, swordplay, bowling, and volleyball. Of course, the Joy-Cons are more accurate in their tracking than the original Wiimote. But the nuance of your control isn’t always obvious, not least because some of the sports don’t have full tutorials, which is very unlike Nintendo.

Just six sports might also seem a bit stingy considering the 2013 sequel to Wii Sports included Resort 12 (the original Wii Sports only had five). Nintendo promises to add Golf to NSS in a free update later this year, but at least acknowledges the lower value proposition with a mid-range price tag.

Nonetheless, NSS offers a substantial core of multiplayer fun that should catch the attention of non-players again. In single player mode against the CPU, it has an elusive charm that lacks challenge variety. But with a bunch of other people, it escalates into a perfect party game filled with friendly bickering, shouting, and competition.

Those people no longer need to be in the same room either, as online multiplayer is now an option, albeit via Nintendo’s clunky matchmaking system and the cumbersome use of voice chat via the smartphone app.

The games themselves are a mixed bunch. Tennis reminds me a lot of the original Wii Sports, although confusingly you control two doubles players at once. Badminton adds more subtlety but is poorly explained to newcomers. Bowling allows up to 16 players to compete online at once, but again is similar to the 2007 version. Swordplay requires you to read your opponent’s stance to counter their angle and is a decent challenge. Volleyball offers perhaps the most complexity and will ensure you master spike, block and serve, thus offering the longest lifespan.

However, soccer has proven to be my favorite because it doesn’t act like soccer but instead plays Rocket League with a giant ball. With up to eight players online, it gets wonderfully chaotic and yet requires a lot of skill and team coordination. If you own the Ring Fit Adventures leg strap, it can mimic the act of kicking in a penalty shootout, with an upcoming patch allowing for use in full games.

Some sports require more effort than others, with volleyball, soccer and sword fighting breaking a sweat much easier than others.

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NSS has already topped the charts, but it won’t dominate the zeitgeist like Wii Sports did 15 years ago. That’s partly due to the changing gaming landscape, but also due to NSS’s lack of novelty factor. We’ve seen it before and while it’s never been done so well, the overall package seems a bit flimsy for the Wii. Nintendo Switch Sports Review: Wonders of jiggling aren’t quite as novel as they used to be

Fry Electronics Team

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