Apr 11, 2022 - Technology

Wii Sports returns for the Nintendo Switch

Video game screenshot of a female volleyball player leaping into the air to spike a shot

Screenshot: Nintendo

Anyone who swung a Nintendo Wii controller to play virtual tennis or to bowl should warm their shoulders for a comeback. A successor to 2006’s 82-million-copy-selling Wii Sports is coming to the Nintendo Switch.

Driving the news: Nintendo Switch Sports will be released on April 29, bundling a suite of motion-controlled games including tennis, bowling and volleyball.

  • As before, players wave a controller around to swing a racket, bowl a strike and so on.
  • But Nintendo Switch Sports offers more options for multiplayer than the 2006 original. There's online play and expanded living room options that support four people bowling simultaneously (nearby furniture beware).

We tried it at a showcase last week, and found it intuitive and delightful.

  • Bowling felt like the original game. Tennis had more nuanced motion controls, reminiscent of 2009's Wii Sports Resort.
  • New highlights: the game's bewilderingly fast 1v1 badminton, which has a subtle fatigue system that incentivizes ending rallies quickly, and the slightly more chill volleyball, which worked well in 2v2.
  • Nintendo Switch Sports also has a soccer mode that supports motion-controlled shootouts (if you strap a Switch controller to your leg) or team-based soccer games that require stick and button controls (motion-sensitive kicking will be added later).

The original Wii Sports' baseball has not returned and boxing is sort of replaced by a 1v1 sword-fighting game called Chambara (which debuted in Resort).

  • Golf is slated to come in a free update in the fall.

An online push: Nintendo will use Switch Sports to continue its low-key nudge of its players into online gaming and toward its premium Nintendo Switch Online subscription service.

  • Playing online enables users to unlock new clothes for their character and new looks for their gear.
  • Those who only play offline, playing it more as entertainment for friends and family all jostling around in the same living room, will unlock far less.

The bottom line: Nintendo's signature Mario and Metroid games are plenty pleasing, but there's nothing quite like games from the heyday of the Wii.

  • Games like these are designed for anyone to know how to play the moment they pick up a controller.

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