Nintendo Switch Sports review

Nintendo /

Title: Nintendo Switch Sports
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed on)
Release Date: April 29, 2022

The Nintendo Switch has been my go-to system for the last few years. While it doesn’t do everything perfectly, it does a ton of things really well. One of the few missteps Nintendo made with the Switch was the lack of a sports title. Since the Wii introduced Wii Sports many of us, myself included, wondered why they never followed up with a true sequel. Instead we got titles like 1-2-Switch. While it was close, it was not enough.

But never fear. Nintendo Switch Sports is here to fix that. The void that was left has now been filled, most importantly because they’ve brought back bowling. But a handful of new games really show off the hard work put into development of the title.

Nintendo Switch Sports comes with six games out of the box: volleyball, badminton, bowling, soccer, chambara, and tennis. A seventh, golf, is planned as a free update sometime this fall.

Volleyball may be the most ambitious of the put it over the net games. Serving, setting, spiking, blocking, this sport has the most to learn. Nintendo Switch Sports does a great job of making this as easy as possible.

Nintendo Switch Sports review: The big hits are back
Nintendo /

This game works great when you pair it with a friend. One person bumps, another sets, so you can return it as a spike. I like that the game will tell you how you did on your moves, so you can improve your timing if you need to.

Tennis is back, and feels very familiar to its predecessor. If you’ve played a tennis video game with motion controls then you’ve had a similar experience to the tennis found in Nintendo Switch Sports. There’s not much to report on. It’s here, it works, just shined up a bit since the last iteration.

Nintendo Switch Sports review: The big hits are back
Nintendo /

The sport I was the most unsure about was badminton. I’ve played tennis style games and assumed it was similar enough that including tennis and badminton seemed like a misstep. I was right. I don’t hate badminton, I even like it more than tennis, but they’re very similar. You could replace either one with another sport and I would have been happier about the overall package.

Nintendo Switch Sports review: The big hits are back
Nintendo /

All three of the over the net games play well when you add a friend to the mix. All three play well in co-op, and they were the most fun I had with my wife of the six games.

Bowling also makes a return. Perhaps the linchpin of the original Wii Sports, maybe even the Wii system. The mechanics are nearly identical to its predecessor. Move from side to side, angle the shot, and swing your Joy-Con and you’re in. The developers even included music that feels like you are playing on the Wii.

Nintendo Switch Sports review: The big hits are back
Nintendo /

My first few games felt good, but I was struggling to find the sweet spot of location and angle. I felt like I knew how to bowl a perfect game on the old version, this one will take some time. I had no problem picking up spares left and right. Strikes however came few and far between.

If you are playing along with someone you can bowl in order, or both at once, as long as you each have your own Joy-Con. Games move quickly when playing at the same time, but taking turns feels more traditional, and will work well in a party setting.

Chambara, which is just a fancy word for swordplay, is new to the Sports series. I enjoyed the handful of play styles that come with this sport. You can fight with one weapon, a light sword, or with two swords at the same time.

Nintendo Switch Sports review: The big hits are back
Nintendo /

Playing against the computer was pretty easy in all three difficulties, but playing against a human opponent worked well. This was always a toss up on who would come out the victor.

I have saved the best for last, soccer. The cream of the crop. You can tell more time was put into making this game the best, and it shows. You can play one on one, or four on four. The pitch changes size depending on the amount of players, so you’re not doing a lot of running around if you’re just playing against one another.

Nintendo Switch Sports review: The big hits are back
Nintendo /

There is also a kicking mini-mini game. In order to play you need to have bought either the physical copy, or purchase the $10 leg strap accessory. This mode is basically a corner kicking situation. The ball is kicked to you and in turn you try to kick the ball into the net. The mechanics work well, but it didn’t feel too exciting, and having to take the strap off and hand it to someone else to play feels like a chore.

Overall the games are fun, and they work. I never ran into any issues with the games bugging out, or felt that anything was too unfair. They all have a good level of polish to them, even if parts of the games feel like they were tacked on mini-mini games to the sport.

Making a character, however, just doesn’t feel right. The handful of premade faces, and outfits all look too identical. The lack of hair choices, and facial features that come already unlocked do very little, if anything for me.  You can unlock more as you play, but I did not feel incentivized to play in order to unlock more clothing and style options.

Instead of making a new character I imported my Mii. This basically takes the head of your Mii and puts them on the body of the new avatars. This resulted in a head that did not fit the body.

When thinking of features that don’t work well for me I frequently think back to the lack of originality of the games. Only six sports starting out and having three of them be games where you are trying to hit something over a net screams rushed. This feels especially true when it comes to the badminton and tennis games. While the scoring is different, they feel very similar.

I can’t help but feel Nintendo Switch Sports needs more content out of the gate. It’s a noticeable pattern with a handful of titles Nintendo has put out in recent years. Mario Golf: Super Rush felt like it was lacking in the content department as well.

I have a few ideas of future DLC I would love to see. I’ll call it the playground games. Give me 4-square, tetherball, kickball, or dodgeball. Just an idea.

Now that Nintendo Switch Sports is finally here am I satisfied? More like content. Bowling, volleyball, and soccer are done so well that they can hold my interest until more games arrive. But new games do need to arrive to make this a great title.

Nintendo Switch Sports score: 7.5/10

The big hits are back and just as good as I remembered. Volleyball and soccer also medal in the version. However, Nintendo Switch Sports is lacking in overall content out of the gate.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.