Nintendo Switch Sports Is Just What the Doctor Ordered

Even though my grandma whooped me at bowling, the Wii Sports follow-up is the living room party of my dreams.
IMAGE NINTENDO

I had two wishes for this year. You may think eradicating a pandemic or tripling my salary would be one of them, but no. Wish One was to return to Mario Kart's Coconut Mall, which Nintendo swiftly granted. Wish Two? Wii Sports on Switch.

I can die happy now. Because Nintendo Switch Sports is here, friends.

Considering Wii Sports is one of the top-selling games of all time, its follow-up had rather large bowling shoes to fill. I have good news for all of you—Switch Sports is another hit. It arrives with six total games in total, with more coming down the road. Bowling, tennis, and chambara (AKA swordplay from Wii Sports Resort) should be familiar to longtime Wii Sports heads. The newcomers are badminton, volleyball, and soccer. In the future, we'll see golf, too. I have a sneaking suspicion that Socco Square will be home to boxing, baseball, and jet-skiing soon enough. If you were at all worried, every sport plays just like you remember. Everything is extremely intuitive, meaning that you rarely need more than a button or two to play. That doesn't mean greatness comes easily, though. One spin through Switch Sports will give you a legitimate workout.

The best thing I can say about Switch Sports is that it plays as if Wii Sports debuted in 2022. The game is more refined and fair, yet I’d be remiss if I didn't mention some of the bullshit I miss from its predecessor. I no longer can swing the racket and an alarming pace in tennis, or hold the A and B buttons and aim slightly off center for a guaranteed strike in bowling. (But that's just an urban myth, right?) If I'm being honest, Switch Sports' responsiveness and balance helped immensely with gameplay. There's no longer—at least to my knowledge—cheese methods in the sports, meaning everyone's got a shot.

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Nintendo Switch Sports might be one and only opportunity you’ll get to Super Saiyan grandma. (Or vice versa.)
Photo by NINTENDO.

Beyond all else, Switch Sports brings one crucial thing back to gaming: Fun for everyone. When I say everyone, I mean everyone. This past week, I’ve been visiting family and friends back home in the Chicago area. My parents are hooked, so much that my little brother and mom asked me to bring the game to my grandmother's house. My grandma, who just had knee surgery, mind you, was beyond thrilled to get up and bowl. She even bowled a strike right out the gate. Now, don't let her gamertag fool you. (Extreme Gram.) While she is a wonderful grandmother, technology and gaming is far from her expertise—unless it's digital Scrabble, which still requires quite a bit of troubleshooting. In one room, multiple generations were bowling, and the scores were still tight. My grandma tied me on our first bowling round. Before you accuse me of being a weak gamer, I’d like to remind you I am literally the best gamer in the world. 1 v. 1 me, scrub. While you're at it, 1 v. 1 my meemaw. Fuck around and see what happens.

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re's still more to Switch Sports. The character editor is fantastic, adorable, and fun, while still letting you use classic Miis. I thought I’d hate not having my goofy Miis, but the new avatars are adorable. The game appears to have a lot of customization options, which I wasn't able to review, because the servers were not live during the review period. Which brings me to my one complaint. The fact that you have to play online to unlock items and customization features is criminal in a Wii Sports game. Unlocking new hairstyles, clothes, and gear would have made playing in the family room so much more exciting. I’m torn because I will play online, but I’d much prefer to play with my friends to unlock new styles and gear. That said, the potential for online play has me excited. I’m thrilled I can play with my little brother, parents, and friends across the country. I guarantee that things will get messy, but it should be an amazing addition to a game that could have stuck with local-only play and still prospered.

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Sweet, sweet nostalgia.
Photo by NINTENDO.

Switch Sports is beyond fun, accessible, and offers some of the most camaraderie I’ve felt in two years of a grueling and isolating pandemic. There's a sense of togetherness in Switch Sports, which ditches the gatekeeping we've seen in gaming the past few years, as difficulties raised higher and higher. I couldn't be more excited to welcome gamers back to the party, whether they are five or 95 years old, a budding pro gamer or someone who just had an invasive knee surgery. No matter what, Switch Sports will give you a bonding experience that will mean far more than a silly virtual tennis match ought to.

Wii Sports saved us before. Living on in Switch Sports, it will save us again.

FromEsquire US

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Cameron Sherrill
Cameron Sherrill is a designer and writer for Esquire.com, where he covers technology and video games.
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