Wii Sports was a phenomenon in 2006 for good reason.
Sixteen years later, that simplicity in motion lives on in the new Nintendo Switch Sports, taking the action online with a more engaging unlockable loop to keep you coming back.
There are six sports on offer. Three are old favourites and three are new.
We’ve seen tennis, bowling and chambara (sword fighting) before, but badminton, volleyball and soccer are entirely new.
Badminton, like tennis, requires you to time your swing for stronger hits.
Volleyball encourages teamwork with different motions for digs, sets, spikes and blocks.
Finally, soccer is more Rocket League than FIFA, pitting two teams of up to four players against each other, and can be controlled with an included (but entirely optional) leg strap that comes bundled with the game in store.
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Before diving in, you’ll be encouraged to create your avatar.
Unlike the Miis that starred in Wii Sports – and can still be used in this title – Nintendo Switch Sports introduces an all new suite of customisation.
Your options are extremely limited at first which can be jarring, until you take your game online.
Playing earns you points and even more if you win. Earn enough and you’ll not only increase your player rank, but unlock randomised gifts.
Every week, a new board of 16 items and ‘stamps’ appears with a special reward on offer for unlocking everything.
Everyone who buys the game can play online but only Nintendo Switch Online subscribers can earn more than two items per day.
Nintendo, which isn’t known for having the sharpest online experience in the game, has nailed both the matchmaking and redesign of many of the sports for a better time in a bigger group.
Anyone who has bowled in real life knows how annoying it can be waiting for your turn. In Nintendo Switch Sports all 16 players bowl at the same time. Better still, every three frames players are eliminated; adding to the intensity and making sure those who fall behind early aren’t stuck in a match they have no hope in winning.
No matter which sport I picked, I always found a match within seconds.
Nintendo has also added the ability to search for a match in up to three sports at once or at random, adding players to a wider pool to keep searches quick.
I did have one disconnect in my time playing but generally, the experience was quick and seamless.
In classic Nintendo fashion, there’s no public voice chat but there are unlockable stamps for you to call on midgame like in Mario Party Superstars.
Much of the fun depends on the calibre of your opponents and it affects certain sports more than others when you have less control.
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Teammates who all swarm the ball like Auskick kids will all but set you up for a loss in soccer.
You can team up with a friend in tennis but will control both players if you decide to go it alone (I personally wish the option was there), but will always be teamed up in volleyball.
Everyone will have a favourite sport but there are really no weak links.
I personally would have preferred an alternative to badminton given how similar it is to tennis, but there’s enough nuance there for fans to find something fresh.
The joy-con work far better than the Wii remotes of yesteryear but occasionally they, and the games, allow for too much ‘waggle’.
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There were a few shots in tennis and badminton I certainly should have missed that I made, but I was pleasantly surprised that I missed a spike in volleyball when I tried my luck with an upward swing, when I needed to swing down.
Chambara (sword fighting) wasn’t my cup of tea, despite being the game’s best showcase of the precision the joy-con can offer, until a particularly epic match that came down to a one hit tie-breaker that saw 90 per cent of the platform fall away.
There’s plenty here to keep players entertained and interested long term thanks to those moments and the progression they offer.
Nintendo has confirmed golf will be added to the roster later this year too but buyers don’t know yet if that’s where the additions will stop.
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Either way, what’s on offer out of the box is a refreshing take that will satisfy fans and newcomers looking for a competitive, but not too serious challenge with friends on the couch or online.