Hands-on preview on Nintendo Switch Sports: So faithful to Wii Sports I almost broke a TV

One enduring image of Nintendo’s motion control era is a Wii Remote smashing through an HDTV, its hapless owner looking on in shock. It will end up in collective memory so much that the hard drive will eventually celebrate it with the headline, “Out of the same Wii Controller Hurls on Flatscreen TV,” complete with a cracked photo of Wii Sports Tennis.

It captures a particular moment in the soul of the video game, when Nintendo ushered in a new era of motion control by launching the Wii and making the world go off for vibrancy. It’s a moment that Nintendo Switch Sports seeks to reclaim, and as I discovered when my shoe bumped into my foot and bounced off the (thankfully) undamaged TV screen, it largely worked.

Nintendo Switch Sports is a collection of six sports – some that will be familiar to longtime Nintendo fans, and some that are completely new. Functionally, tennis and bowling are very similar to their Wii counterparts, while the more complex motion controls in Badminton and Swordfighting are reminiscent of Wii Sports. It’s worth noting that Nintendo Switch Sports has roughly half the number of mini-games available at Wii Sports Resort, although they’ll add Golf as a free download later in the year for a total of seven.

Nintendo Switch Sports screenshots

What it offers instead is online multiplayer, which adds extended functionality to some games, such as eight player multiplayer in bowling. Feedback from a recent online test has been good, and there is every indication that the Nintendo Switch Sports online multiplayer will be a force when the final version becomes available later this month.

Realizing Wii’s Dreams

But local multiplayer is the heart of Nintendo Switch Sports’ allure, and that’s what I spent most of my time on in the last hands-on preview. After choosing My Sportsmate – Nintendo’s alternative to the Mii – I tried all six mini-games, from a 13-round soccer shootout to sword-fighting. By the end, I was even able to work out a bit of a sweat, which took me back to the days when I treated Wii Sports as an actual hitting practice rather than a series of tepid wrist flicks.

My favorite of the mini games was sword fighting. Referred to as chambara – a nod to the Japanese samurai genre – it pits two sword fighters against each other as they try to push each other off a platform and into the water below. Rounds consist of a series of snappy blocks and responses that at first glance look like a motion-controlled version of the button mixer, but soon reveal a deep and fun level of strategy that contrasts with its deceptively simple mechanics.

It got me thinking about the early days of Wii, when everyone was obsessed with the idea of ​​a lightsaber with a remote control. The order exposed the limitations of the original Wii Remote, prompting Nintendo to release an enhanced Wii MotionPlus surround device alongside the Wii Sports Resort. We’ve played several sword games since then, but when the Nintendo PR rep was overwhelmed with a series of slashes, I thought I really wanted a motion-controlled game of lightsaber.

By contrast, tennis completely defeated me. Having achieved the switch jump more or less unchanged, it still depends more on timing than actual dexterity, or so it seems to me. Of course, I’m pretty miserable about tennis in real life too, so this is probably just an example of Nintendo Switch Sports being more realistic than I give it credit for. I’ve had better luck with badminton, which was similar to tennis but featured more precise movement controls on top of a deeper strategic layer thanks to its cogwheel mechanics.

The best moment, though, was when I re-enacted one of the popular memes from the mid-2000s… in my shoes. Nintendo Switch Sports supports the Ring Fit leg strap, which is used in the new mini-football game. I was trying a shootout, which involved swinging my legs awkwardly at just the right moment, and taking off my shoes. It shows that whenever things have changed with the Nintendo Switch Sports, they have stayed the same.

Motion controls have evolved in the years since the Wii. It’s more complex now, and can be found on everything from Doom to VR platforms. This wasn’t the fundamental paradigm shift some had imagined when the Wii was released, but they certainly found their niche.

Either way, I enjoyed revisiting the early days of motion control for the afternoon. Like the original Wii Sports, most mini-games are based more on novelty than substance, which makes me wonder if they’ll eventually have any strength. But I don’t think anyone expects to keep talking about Wii Sports more than 15 years after its original release. Some games are timeless.

Nintendo Switch Sports will be released on April 29th on the Nintendo SwitchTM platform.

Kat Bailey is IGN’s Senior News Editor as well as co-host for Nintendo Voice Chat. Do you have a tip? Send her a message directly at the_katbot.