Nintendo Switch Sports: preview & where to pre-order

Even if you’re not much of a gamer, you may still have fond memories of waving your arms while playing bowling, golf, or tennis on the mega-popular Wii Sports. Over 15 years later, Nintendo is finally bringing that experience to the Switch in the aptly named Nintendo Switch Sports, which packs a mix of old and new mini-games while packing in some promising modern features.

I spent an hour playing all six games in the collection ahead of its release on April 29, and I’m already itching to pick up the Joy-Cons for a few more rounds. You can currently pre-order Nintendo Switch Sports for $49 physically or $39 digitally. And if you’re on the fence, here are some first impressions to help you decide.

Switch Sports launches on April 29 and is available in two variations: a $49 physical edition that comes with a Joy-Con leg strap, or a $39 digital edition that you can buy from the Nintendo eShop or from various retailers. . If you already own a Ring Fit Adventure leg strap, or can live without the Soccer Shoot-Out mini-game that uses it, you might as well save some money and get the digital version.

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Nintendo Switch Sports immediately drew me in with its presentation, which adds a more modern shine to the cute and colorful aesthetic you might remember from Wii Sports. The game’s many areas, from its outdoor bowling alley to an elevated spade-playing arena surrounded by water, looked beautiful, vibrant, and on par with modern Switch classics like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. I particularly enjoyed the game’s new customizable avatars, which are more detailed and distinct than the limited Mii characters in previous games.

That said, you can still use your Mii in Nintendo Switch Sports, and Nintendo even did a pretty accurate picture of me before my gaming session. Once I selected my bearded, hat-wearing digital doppelganger, it was time to play.

A good mix of old and new games.

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I started my Switch Sports session with Soccer, a new addition to the series and the only game in the bundle to take advantage of the Joy-Con leg strap (you’ll get a strap on the physical edition, or you can use the one you already have from Ring). FitAdventure). We kicked things off (no pun intended) with a shooting contest, which was a pretty rudimentary experience of kicking a giant ball into a goal when it was introduced to me. I found it pretty easy to time and target my kicks with the attached leg strap, and I even managed to pull off the win against a Nintendo representative.

But Soccer really opened up when we switched to a traditional full game mode, which offered an exciting mix of controller-based gameplay and satisfying motion controls. With two Joy-Cons in hand, I guided my avatar up and down the field as I would in most video games, but attacked the ball using a variety of arm movements, as well as a Superman-like head movement. that my teammate and I both had fun. It felt like I was playing a modern sports game like Rocket League, but with the added thrill (and exercise) of having to physically move to hit the ball. I already want more.

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Another standout game during my playtime was Chambara, a sword-fighting game that may be familiar to people who played Wii Sports Resort back in 2009. You can’t just recklessly wave around here, and precisely reading your opponent is the name of the game. match. I felt like a Jedi Knight as he parried my enemy’s attacks and followed up with big punches of his own, and was pleased and amused every time he won a round by knocking my opponent into the water. Nintendo staff praised my skills here; It must be all the fighting games I play.

I had a good time playing volleyball, which allowed me to hit, set and spike the ball with natural hand movements. However, while these moves were satisfying and easy to pull off during the tutorial, there’s even a helpful on-screen indicator indicating the optimal time to hit, I found it much more difficult to apply them to actual gameplay. I mainly attribute this to forgetting which move to use in the heat of the moment, though the fact that we were playing against high-difficulty AI opponents probably played a role as well. My teammate and I still had some exciting volleys (including a moment where I set him up for a big, powerful finish), but I’ll definitely need more practice time with this one.

The same can be said for badminton, which is played like an easier and more intense version of Wii Sports Tennis. Swinging felt intuitive, and you’ll get more powerful hits if you hit left, right, and overhead in succession. I had some quick and fun exchanges with my opponent, but just like with volleyball, I was beaten pretty easily and will need more playing time before I’m ready to compete online.

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However, I felt right at home when we switched to Bowling, which felt exactly how I remembered it from the Wii Sports days. Using the Joy-Con to wind up and roll the ball feels as intuitive now as it did with a Wiimote back in 2007, and I especially loved the simultaneous play mode that allowed me and my three opponents to quickly take down pins without having to to do it. wait for each other. The tennis was similarly familiar, and I easily got up to speed on serving speed, cutting, and smashing during some fun exchanges with my group.

Promising online gaming and customization features

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Nintendo Switch Sports felt great to pick up and play, but I’m just as impressed by how complete it’s shaping up to be as a package.

The new customizable avatars not only look cool compared to the classic Miis (and offer some funny facial expressions mid-game), but there are also a variety of cosmetic items you can unlock for them as you play online. Yes, Switch Sports is finally bringing online play to the series, with support for up to eight players for certain titles. This should be great for having an impromptu bowling or volleyball session with faraway friends, or if you just want a new competition after constantly beating your family members.

Speaking of which, there’s even an online Pro League that will allow you to rise through the ranks and take on similarly skilled players, which is a level of competitive depth you wouldn’t expect from what has historically been a casual game. And if you miss playing golf in Wii Sports Golf, don’t worry: a golf mini-game is coming this fall as part of a free update.

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Once I put down my Joy-Cons and grabbed the complementary mango smoothie waiting for me on the way out (this was a workout, after all), all I wanted to do was play more Nintendo Switch Sports. Every game in Nintendo’s latest sports collection felt intuitive right away, and I have a feeling there are plenty of hidden tricks waiting to be discovered by competitive gamers.

It’s the first title in a long time that gamers and non-gamers in my life have been universally excited about, and I’m looking forward to taking on them all, both locally and online, as I reclaim my throne as the world’s best Wii Bowler. We’ll have more to say about Nintendo Switch Sports when it launches, but those already determined to bring a copy home can pre-order the game now.

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