Nintendo Switch Sports Preview – Victory Circle

Wii Sports cemented the power of motion-controlled gaming and catapulted Nintendo’s seventh-generation home console to superstar status (no wonder a cartoon sports simulator cracked our top 25 Wii games). While the resort’s follow-up was a critical and commercial success, the magic of its predecessor remains unrivaled. Fast forward 16 years, and the Switch Sports release is finally around the corner. I’ve tried the events (old and new) scattered all over Spocco Square, and here’s my take on each.


bowling

Look, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. I didn’t notice any substantial differences between the Switch and Wii Sports’ bowling, which in hindsight might have been a reasonable decision. Bowling is already a near-perfect activity. Rolling the ball with Joy-Con feels as natural and simple as possible. You still need to aim correctly, but these adjustments are made before stroking. What interests me is the promise of a 16-player knockout PvP match, like a battle royale. This is sure to spice up the cathartic cycle of bowling.


football

Walked in and I was most skeptical of football. A recent trailer for Switch Sports showed off the leg strap accessory, an ambitious feature that monitors leg movement and makes kicking feel intuitive. While it took me some getting used to and won’t be fully implemented by launch day (an update is planned for the summer), the Joy-Con with the leg straps is refreshing. More fixed football modes, like the “penalty shootout” event, are great for kicking the ball in quick succession without getting tired. However, when the entire field of football is available, things can get hectic and demanding. For my hands-on experience, I used two Joy-Cons to kick the ball in different directions and heights. The diving header type always makes me smile because my athletes put their whole body, head forward, on the ball. The FIFA-inspired celebration was also nice after a wacky score.


tennis

Tennis, like bowling, is a Wii phenomenon. Tight controls paired with exciting wobbly Mii animations help lower the stakes and add fun for casual Nintendo fans. That’s not to say there isn’t room for skill-based games. Switch Sports’ Tennis is more similar on a mechanical level, but color-coded cues and small but important tweaks to the game’s physics add strategic quality. For example, a ball with a purple trajectory (supercharged) is both powerful and fast, forcing players to hone their response times for equally devastating returns, or to bounce incoming projectiles weakly into the sky. Because the direction you swing the Joy-Con determines the path of the ball, the game feels more intense – sorry, you can’t swing the racket around for the best results. I used to love Wii Tennis, and I’m happy to announce that Switch Tennis is just as enjoyable.


volleyball

Volleyball is one of Switch Sports’ most-engaged activities. Serving, pooling, settling, spiking and blocking require different but less complex movements. I like to hold up the Joy-Con to watch my avatar jump, then swipe down at the right time to activate the boost spike. Likewise, blocking requires you to anticipate your opponent’s moves and meet the net in mid-air. The nature of these various actions prioritizes teamwork. A player always has to set up a big play by putting his hands above his head, so communication is the key to success. Unlike tennis, volleyball has no “carry”, which will be appreciated by players looking to dive with family/friends.


chambara

Like swordplay in the resort and boxing in the original game, Chambara is the latest iteration of the franchise’s perennial “workout” sport. Get ready to sweat, because cutting a variety of sword types takes more than simple risk. The Joy-Con grips your body firmly and you twist and turn your body to strike. When you find yourself in trouble getting knocked down, hold down the ZR button while positioning your weapon of choice vertically, horizontally and diagonally to prevent attacks. I only had a chance to play with the default weapons, but the Dual Sword and Charge Sword brought a new level of frenzy and muscle to the basic slicing. Chambara rewards players who defend and strike with intent, so if you plan to hit the leaderboards later this month, make sure your decisions are thoughtful and thoughtful, like any good duelist.


badminton

Badminton might look like a miniaturized 1v1 version of tennis, albeit with a gravity-defying shuttlecock. However, this popular newcomer to the Nintendo Sports catalog forces me to be overly concerned with patience and timing. A super hit is still a threat. However, your batting mix (backhand, forehand, drop, etc.) may determine whether your Sportsmate or Mii is able to keep up with a split second or collapse on the field from exhaustion. Badminton is my favorite of the six sports – the Nintendo rep and I played a game that felt like 20 minutes! That’s because rallies happen so often in badminton, so the game feels especially competitive and exhilarating. I can’t wait to see how this promising new game mode evolves in ranked playlists.


Nintendo’s sports start anew with the lovely, vibrant aesthetic you’ve remembered from 2006. The new Spocco Square grounds gleam in the tropical sun, and palm trees stand proudly among the six sports fields. Responsive Joy-Cons bring all kinds of events to life, and Sportsmate/Mii customization will greatly motivate players to make their favorite playlists individually or online. On the one hand, I was impressed with my sampling.Golf set for fall, baseball announcements – Please Announce Baseball, Nintendo – Will be the sweet cherries on top. In any case, Nintendo Switch Sports might just be Wii Sports’ triumphant comeback when it goes offline on April 29.