OPINION: Nintendo Switch Sports proves that not every game need be a big AAA title to be enjoyable, and sometimes, simple is the way to go.
We live in a golden age of gaming, with new titles from massive companies dropping multiple times a year and tech that makes games look and feel better than ever before. Looking back to when the Nintendo Wii came out in 2006, it’s shocking to think how far games and gaming consoles have come in under two decades.
That thought has been stuck in my head since I played a preview of Nintendo Switch Sports, which will come out officially on 29 April. Switch Sports is a massive call-back to Wii Sports, with three familiar sports making a reappearance: Bowling, Tennis and Chambara. And while this is a Nintendo game, and has the same glossy shine that nearly all new Nintendo titles have, it’s obviously a much simpler game to play than the likes Breath of the Wild or Mario Odyessy, and I’m starting to believe that sometimes simple games are just better.
And just so we’re clear, I’m not saying that Switch Sports (which I haven’t played in full yet) will be better than every other game coming out this year, but there is something about the straightforward premise and relaxed gameplay that’s a lot easier to get into than your average AAA release.
One of my biggest gaming sins is that I haven’t played Breath of the Wild, despite how popular it is and how long it has been out. I have the same dilemma with Elden Ring; I want to play it, but I know before I even get past the title screen that I have a massive campaign to get through, a difficult learning curve to master and loads of lore to learn to fully immerse myself in the story.
But when I got to the title screen of Switch Sports, not only was I treated to relaxing music, but also the comforting knowledge that I can dip in and out of the six sports available whenever I want – I don’t necessarily need to dedicate hours upon hours to unlock everything and I can be bad at it without wanting to throw my Joy-Con controllers at my TV.
It was a strikingly similar feeling to playing Wii Sports when that launched; the childlike glee of swing your tennis racket before playing a few rounds of Bowling, all without the crushing expectations of defeating a big boss at the end.
I’m also definitely a lot busier than I was when Wii Sports came out. Six-year-olds don’t tend to have the same time commitments as adults, and there is something to be said about fitting in the time to play lengthy games on a busy schedule.
Of course, some people don’t have the same reservations as me when starting up a new video every other weekend and working through it whenever they have the time. But for people that are a little too busy, or know that they’re going to buy a game and spend months staring at it before it’s even installed on their console, I recommend taking a look at some of the simpler games that are being released, and there are so many.
Classics like Animal Crossing: New Horizons or Stardew Valley are obvious choices for easy-going games, but roguelikes like Hades or The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ are gems that can be easily dipped in and out of, proving to be perfect titles for anyone who knows they can’t commit multiple hours per day to get through a 50-hour story.
I do need to spend a little more time playing Switch Sports before I can fully recommend it, but from what I’ve played so far, I can see it being one of my go-to games for a long time. Accessible to both children and adults, and still maintaining that beautiful and slick animation that Nintendo is known for, Switch Sports has everything going for it to be just as popular and successful as Wii Sports back in 2006.