Nintendo Switch Sports is a very formulaic sequel – perfect

Let’s not be stingy with words. Wii Sports is one of the best and most important games of all time. Of course, over time it became the poster child for “swing”, a motion control where as long as you shake the controller you usually feel like your movements don’t matter – but it went on there for a few years, Back in the mid-2000s, it was a little game that could do it.

And, it rules.There’s a reason people are over-excited to throw controllers through expensive new 720 flat-screen TVs, so often that Nintendo Had to invent stupid little body armor for the Wii Remote – it’s fascinating. People are so engaged that they move their bodies more than they need, then loosen their grip a little, and then… oops!

Fatigue builds quickly, though. There’s a real rubbish line that’s designed to scoop up a massive Wii Sports audience; so we get things like Wii Play and Wii Party, carnival games for 2K, and a lot of other stuff. Then the actual follow-up, Wii Sports Resort, takes classic Nintendo action and requires a silly, expensive accessory to play. That killed that game for me; Wii Sports is the best multiplayer game out there, and I couldn’t possibly buy four of them. Like the Wii U itself, the Wii U’s detour was forgotten.

But time has passed. Those misses feel far away in the rearview mirror, and I’m sorely nostalgic for Wii Sports right now. I know how good it is. I’ve been craving another one.

This means that when I Nintendo Switch Sports, the new Joy-Con swing revival. Here’s the title, though: I love it. This is awesome. It’s not revelatory, but it’s probably one of my favorite games of the year anyway.

The content of Switch Sports feels like the result of a carefully considered mathematical equation. Two sports are returning from the original Wii Sports (tennis and bowling), one sport is returning from Wii Sports Resort (swords, here in the form of Chambara, a Japanese word for samurai movies), and three brand new sports.

While more movement will be added via DLC, I’d say the core release pack has everything you’d want from this sequel.

So what’s going on? Well, that’s okay! I’m not sure if the Joy-Cons are as good at motion control as the Wii Remote, especially with later versions of the controller – but they do feel pretty accurate. All three returning games feel very similar to how they did in their original form. Swordsmanship requires the most skill, basically reading your opponent’s blocking stance and solving it. It “just works” and if the calibration drifts, there’s a two-button reset that you can tap at any time without interrupting the action.

The magic of Wii Sports always makes you feel more like you’re playing the sport than you actually are. That’s why people punch their TVs and walls because of this game; you’ll be so addicted to tennis that you’ll stumble and stretch to catch the ball for desperate lob shots — even if you don’t need to move you feet. In bowling, you might perform a full-scale throwing motion to apply the desired spin on the ball. All of this — the game’s X-factor magic that many imitators have failed to replicate — still exists.

It also appears in the new movement. Badminton is fairly simple; similar to tennis, at a basic level the same as the game, but with a distinctly different pitch and rhythm due to the different projectiles, just like in real life. It’s funny, but that’s the least I have to say.

However, football is likely to be the sport that gets the most attention. Here’s why: Basically Rocket League. I didn’t really make that connection by looking at footage of it, but the 2-on-2 format in a walled arena made the rebound as important as the target shot, reminiscent of that game. This is Rocket League…no cars! It sounds lame when you say that, but it’s never. It’s fun — and it’s actually fast-paced and exciting, just like Rocket League.

It’s also the most traditional way of using analog sticks to handle player movement. The kick and the ridiculous all-in header are done through action. I can see this being very popular and competitive online. Best of all, you can use the Ring Fit Adventure’s leg straps for actual kicks – which is fun, but admittedly a bit gimmicky. However, the kids will love it.

Last but not least is volleyball, which may be the new trio’s game with the most exaggerated, jump-inducing energy. It consists of several moves; dump, jump and smash for your teammates to score, and jump to block. You don’t actually have to jump — you can sit and play this if you want, just make the desired hand motion — but you’ll inevitably jump in and find your feet are off the floor. Because of the nature of how you tip your teammates in the sport, I think it’s going to be the new king of fours – more engaging and teamwork than tennis doubles.

That feeling embodied in volleyball is the vehicle for these games. Something in them inspires a subtle, unimaginable suspicion — which is what makes people feel competitive in these silly, basic little mini-games. The other changes are pretty clever, like getting rid of Miis to buy better-looking avatar characters that are also comicalized (you can still import Mii and it will be converted) – but what drives this game, what drives the deal, is that vague The feeling. Nintendo has done it again.

Probably the best thing I can say after playing Nintendo Switch Sports for a few hours is that I can immediately see how it will fit into my life. I left hands on thinking about how my partner would love it, how it might become a Christmas staple again, and how I’m going to have a group cabin vacation this summer, when I’m drenched there might be a lot of this playing . When Nintendo gets the rights to these lifestyle “event” games, they always dunk – and while it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, Nintendo Switch Sports is pretty much what I want.