The Competitive Sports Fan
These can come in a lot of different styles from your kids that get really into multiplayer stuff to an armchair quarterback looking to throw the ol’ ball around. And while the Switch absolutely isn’t the go to place for sports games, there are still some great experiences that scratch that itch.
1) Nintendo Switch Sports
Remember when Wii Sports was all the rage? Wii Sports became so popular that libraries, retirement homes and sports bars were all scrambling to have it available. Heck, no joke, there’s a sports bar I pass on the way to the dentist near Cleveland that actually still has a sign out from labeling itself as a “Wi Bowling Cafe”. Way to dodge the Nintendo lawyers, sport.
But guess what? The Switch has it’s own version of it and it is WAY better than what you remember on the Wii!
The way the motion control works for these is so good it’s honestly fun to play single player. There’s also single player for when the adult that plays this with the kid forgets he’s over 40 now and goes a little too hard in kendo and pulls a muscle. Not…that that happened. You can even play online against other people which helps you unlock fun cosmetic items to change up how your character looks.
Just don’t be alarmed when everyone in the house starts talking about Badminton. Listen. LISTEN. It’s a fun game and you just kinda gotta deal with that fact.
2) Mario Strikers Battle League
While you’re not going to find any good experiences with real life sports organizations like the NBA, NHL, FIFA, etc, that doesn’t mean there’s no good stadium experiences. Mario Strikers Battle League is a 3 on 3 soccer game that is an absolute joy to play against other people. Plus, unlike real life soccer where they score about as frequently as I did in my 20s, you’re going to see crazy goals happening all the time.
Despite having a remarkably small amount of characters to choose from (I’m sorry, 10?) the lack of variety is made up for by the gameplay which, admittedly, is really good. The field isn’t massive, the controls are incredibly simple, and the animation mixed with the interesting art style adds some excitement to the game.
It’s mostly going to be great for local multiplayer but be warned, the single player is remarkably bare bones and the online community is close to death that if you play it you might actually see vultures circle your house.
But if you got someone looking for a fun sporting experience with someone else in the house, whether they actually know how soccer works or not, you can’t go wrong with this exciting multiplayer.
3) Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Listen, I know that the people who think racing isn’t a sport might be on you for this but Mario Kart is absolutely a sport. You’re trying to maintain 1st place, you’re almost there, and you see that Blue Shell appear on the minimap? You’re gonna lose some weight, sweating or otherwise.
Mario Kart, since the Nintendo 64 era, has always been the end all be all of multiplayer fun times and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the best of the best. The base game comes with 48 tracks, 24 of which are high end rebuilds of tracks from older versions of Mario Kart. And, if for some reason those 48 tracks aren’t enough, getting the Season Pass for the game adds 48 more tracks bringing you to 96 dramatically different places to race all with their own gimmicks and looks.
Also, not only does the game have that great “easy to learn, hard to master” skill level, there’s also options for younger and/or newer players that help the vehicle stay on course which will help them for things like Rainbow Road where there’s section of track where there are no rails preventing you from becoming space James Dean (ask your parents).
Games to Avoid
When you have a Nintendo Switch and want a sports game, you need to learn to tailor your expectations. This “games to avoid” list might be surprising.
- NBA 2K24, MLB The Show, EA Sports FC
- Yeah, so, the big sports games “technically” exist on the Switch but it’s like how back in the day a lot of big releases “technically” released in the form of a Tiger Electronic handheld. These are horribly watered down broken releases.
- WBSC eBASEBALL POWER PROS
- Listen, you might be finding yourself looking on the digital store for a sports game for them and see this guy sitting there for $.99 and a quick online search show that this game is somewhat beloved. Buyer beware, this game, despite the look, is hard as heck. Maybe this could be a digital stocking stuffer but if you lead with this it’s going to be rough when they realize how challenging this is.
Check out the final page to see some guaranteed blockbuster games. These are fantastic if you’re not sure what they want for the Switch but still want some confidence in your purchase. See you on the next page!