Before there was the Magnavox Odyssey, the world’s first video gaming console, people used to spend their time playing other types of games, including sports. These days, we can have the best of both worlds. We can get all the enjoyment of playing sports in a virtual handheld world with Nintendo Switch sports games.
Sure, playing real sports outside with your friends is also a blast, but what happens if it’s raining? Well, you can grab your Switch, cuddle up in a blanket, and still get all the adrenaline-pumping excitement of sports from right inside your home!
There are quite a few sports games that have been made for the Nintendo Switch and most of them are pretty awesome. You have some games that are true to the physics of the sports that they portray, including soccer games and basketball games that are impressively realistic. However, you also have Nintendo Switch sports games that blend reality and fantasy, combining elements of fiction and magic with real sports. Whatever your style is, there’s a sports game out there for you.
Among the many sports games that have been released for the Nintendo Switch, some stand out as better than others. It’s worth sifting through the Nintendo Store and seeing which games appeal most to you. But, to get you started, here are some of the very best Nintendo Switch sports games that you should absolutely check out.
1. Knockout City
Whether or not you consider dodgeball a real sport, you should definitely download Knockout City, a fresh and fantastical take on a classic schoolyard favorite. This isn’t the dodgeball you played as a kid, though.
It’s an intense, multiplayer game with surprisingly complex tactics and strategies all wrapped in a seriously cool animation style. The game features some amazing and colorful cityscapes, a soundtrack that injects undeniable energy into the gameplay, and a wealth of options for customization.
The rules of the game are simple and will feel extremely natural to anyone who’s ever picked up a dodgeball in gym class. The players on each team must eliminate the players on the other team by pelting them with balls that spawn randomly on different parts of the map.
Each player must be hit twice to be knocked out and the first team to record 10 knockouts wins the game. You can charge up your throw and beam the ball at your opponent or you can throw a slow knuckleball to throw off your opponents.
2. Mario Tennis Aces
Mario sports games have always been some of the best titles to come out on Nintendo systems, and Mario Tennis Aces carries that tradition over to the Nintendo Switch. Of course, the game features the colorful and rounded aesthetics that have made Mario games so iconic, but underneath all that are some impressive mechanics and physics that make the gameplay extremely complex and fun.
Mario Tennis Aces features all your favorite Mario characters, including Princess Peach, Luigi, Petey Pirahna, Blooper, Chain Chomp, and many others. You can play singles and destroy your opponent by outwitting and outrunning them or you can play doubles and collaborate with your teammate to get the win. The game also features Swing Mode, which allows you to use a Joy-Con as a motion controller similar to Wii Sports.
3. Rocket League
By now, pretty much everyone has heard of Rocket League, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t make its way onto this list. Whoever dreamt up the idea to have a bunch of high-powered, futuristic cars playing soccer was a mad genius. This game is so fun and so simple that it’s uncanny.
You control a car on a team of other cars, drive around the arena, and try to smack the giant ball into the goal with your front bumper (or your back bumper if you have serious skills). You could easily spend hours, if not days, playing match after match and never get bored.
If you’re a movie buff, you should know that Rocket League has added the option to play as some iconic movie cars, including the DeLorean from Back to the Future and the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters. While that’s pretty cool, it’s the fast-paced and adrenaline-inspiring gameplay that’s the real reason this game is so enjoyable.
4. NBA 2K Playgrounds 2
Sure, you could play a realistic basketball-based video game, but that’s not really what the Nintendo Switch is about, right? Instead, give NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 a try and see just how much fun this arcade-style basketball game can be.
It’s an interesting blend of its classic predecessors NBA Street and NBA Jam in that it features some amazingly over-the-top physics and allows players to try out some flashy and fun moves on the court. Want to jump so high that your feet are above the rim, spin around in mid-air, and then throw down a dazzling dunk? NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 delivers.
You can choose to play single-player or multiplayer games on four different difficulty levels. There’s also a season mode in which you can play out a 14-game season, which doesn’t take all that long considering the games only last a matter of minutes.
Each time that you complete the season mode with a different team, you unlock a new NBA legend that you can then play with.
5. Golf Story
As its name implies, Golf Story is about more than just golf. This game follows the story of a down-and-out golfer who gives up everything for one more chance at chasing their ultimate dream: to be at the top of the sport.
The game features a diverse cast of characters that all play into the heartwarming story that takes place across eight courses. But, to get where you need to go, you’ll have to keep up with the other golfers off the course as well.
The pixelated, 8-bit style of the game’s animation makes Golf Story an entirely different golfing experience from any other golf game you’ve ever played. The golfing mechanics are interesting and force you to use your brain to calculate angles and choose the best shots. The game would have been complete with the golfing alone, but the captivating storyline behind it is just the cherry on top.
6. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
Tony Hawk games have been some of the best games on every single console that they’ve ever come out for. Of course, the classic reboot Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 for Nintendo Switch delivers all the fun of these iconic games in the palm of your hand.
Sometimes remakes come across as overly nostalgic or money-grubbing, but not this game. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 strikes the perfect balance between paying homage to the original titles and adding in some crisp graphics and improved gameplay.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 features a whole bunch of new collectibles and awesome new game modes that improve upon these already amazing classic arcade skating games. Plus, you get two games in one!
Play through the first of the two games and you’ll still have another entire game to play through for hours and hours of more fun. Like all Tony Hawk games, this bundle also features all of the legendary skaters we know and love as well as one seriously awesome soundtrack.