How often is it that you can enjoy soccer, badminton, and bowling all in the same afternoon and in the same place? Enter Nintendo Switch Sports, a family-friendly video game from Nintendo that serves as a followup to the nearly ubiquitous Wii Sports game, which was a staple at the height of the Wii gaming system’s popularity. This new game, designed for players ages 10 and up, is compatible with the Original Nintendo Switch or the Nintendo Switch OLED Model.
It’s been more than 15 years since Wii Sports debuted, and Nintendo Switch Sports is a worthy follow-up. It keeps certain elements from the original game that will excite nostalgic parents — who enjoyed Wii Sports as a teen — while introducing upgrades that will engage today’s more tech-savvy kids. For those who aren’t familiar with this franchise, Nintendo Switch Sports offers a variety of different sporting mini games, which players select within a virtual sports complex. Instead of playing these sports by using buttons and joysticks to control an in-game character, the game utilizes the Switch’s motion-sensing Joy-Con controllers so that players’ real-world physical movements dictate the movements of their on-screen avatars.
Right now, the sports available in the game are soccer, volleyball, bowling, badminton, tennis, and chambra (sword fighting). For most of these sports, players hold a Joy-Con in their hand and move their arms to swing a racquet, throw their bowling ball, or attack with their sword on screen. In soccer, however, players use a leg strap to attach the Joy-Con to their thigh. The controller then senses your leg movements as you kick an oversized, virtual soccer ball across a field. (Note: There is a leg strap included with the physical version of the game and you can purchase additional leg straps separately. If you already have Ring Fit Adventure, you can also utilize the leg strap from that game.)
Some of the elements that Nintendo carried over from Wii Sports include the popular bowling and tennis games, as well as each sport offering both single-player and multiplayer options. However, this game completely overhauled the avatar (aka Mii) designs to give them a more modern look and nuanced movements, which makes the sports experience feel a bit more authentic. These virtual characters are also highly customizable, so kids can create an avatar who looks just like them.
The other big update? Nintendo Switch also offers expansive online play, so single players can go head-to-head with other gamers around the world! This is a great option for players who want to enjoy competitive play when everyone else in the household is busy. Of course, kids’ online play should always adhere to any guidelines set by parents or guardians, but adults can rest assured that the online play experience is very tween- and teen-safe. Players can see each others’ avatars, nicknames, and basic game stats, but there is no chatting capability or any other way to share private info.
As kids practice, play, and compete in the various sports games, they will improve their stats and unlock a variety of awards that incentivize play. Along with planned updates to the game (for example, golf will be added to the game this winter), this keeps the Nintendo Switch Sports experience engaging and motivating.
Overall, Nintendo Switch Sports reintroduces a great family game night option that makes the best of today’s tech. The game encourages kids to get up and active during screen time, practice skills, and be a good sport — which are all wins in our book!