Which Nintendo Switch sports game is best?
The Nintendo Switch has a vast array of sports titles, featuring both an abundance of quirkier arcade sports games and established franchises. Nintendo also offers its own line of sports games that tend to cater more to a family-friendly audience and casual sports fans.
Professional leagues such as the NBA, MLB and FIFA are well represented on the Switch. If you’re looking for a fully immersive experience with multiple game modes, up-to-date rosters and online action, NBA2K1 is the premium sports game experience, especially for basketball fans.
What to know before you buy a Nintendo Switch sports game
The Nintendo Switch online service (aptly called Nintendo Switch Online) is $20 a year. It’s cheaper than what both Sony and Microsoft offer, even if the quality of the servers is hit or miss.
Major series — such as FIFA, NBA 2K and Nintendo-branded sports titles — all feature online play. However, many of the Switch’s arcade sports titles are made by smaller development studios, so not all of their games feature online play. If playing online is a priority, it is important to check and see if each game is compatible with online play.
Professional sports games that use real-life rosters, including NBA 2K21, tend to be more outdated. In real life, players retire, change teams or get traded. If you really care about having rosters that reflect the current state of a sport, buy the most recent title in the franchise. However, newer titles are more expensive. Major franchises based around professional sports leagues usually see a new release once a year.
The Nintendo Switch is an amazing place to find quirkier titles that don’t force the player to understand the minutiae of a sport. There are tons of indie sports games reminiscent of retro franchises. The arcade-sports genre really flourishes on the Nintendo Switch, and you can find a game for just about any sport.
These games tend to be far more affordable than major franchises. They are great for casual sports fans and generally excel in the local multiplayer department.
What to look for in a quality Nintendo Switch sports game
Sports games cater to multiplayer options by nature, but many players still enjoy having an immersive single-player experience. Many sports titles offer a campaign or story mode of sorts. These modes allow the player to improve their skills and feel more engrossed in the game.
Some players only care about multiplayer gameplay, but having a variety of game modes gives a sports game more replay value. Having modes where players can simulate being a player/manager, play full seasons or experience a story mode can add a lot of depth to a sports game.
Performance and hardware limitations
The Nintendo Switch isn’t the most powerful hardware on the market. The Switch has a built-in 720p screen, but when docked, the resolution ceiling is 1080p. For those who want to play ball in 4K at 60 frames per second with no hiccups, Sony and Microsoft offer superior experiences.
Many of the Switch’s best sports games are arcade-based or scaled down for
the hardware. Most games run fine docked or in handheld mode, and the portability allows you to take your own ball club on the road with you.
Handheld specs for portability
Many Switch owners love that they can play their Switch in handheld mode wherever they want. With some high-performance titles, this can lead to problems such as frame-rate drops and lag. This usually only affects graphically intense titles, but games representing professional sports leagues might be prone to technical issues while in handheld mode (at least until the developers fix the bugs).
Nintendo Switch sports game FAQ
Are sports games by Nintendo easy to learn?
A. Nintendo is excellent at making games with a gradual learning curve. Its games tend to be easy to play but hard to master. A game such as Mario Golf: Super Rush is accessible to anyone, including children. Nintendo sports games go for originality and fun factor over feeling like a professional sports simulator.
Do all the major professional sports leagues have games on the Nintendo Switch?
A. Unfortunately, certain long-running series — like NHL and Madden — have not yet arrived on the Nintendo Switch. Fortunately, many professional leagues, including the NBA, FIFA and PGA, do have games available on the Switch.
What’s the best Nintendo Switch sports game to buy?
Top Nintendo Switch sports game
What you need to know: This game offers a wide variety of game modes and addicting on-court action.
What you’ll love: NBA 2K21 has added a more immersive career mode, and the controls and gameplay are spot on. There is a massive amount of content here that will keep any sports fan occupied for a long time.
What you should consider: The Mycareer mode has frustrating microtransactions that make improving player stats reliant on having deep pockets.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top Nintendo Switch sports game for the money
What you need to know: Nintendo brings family fun and arcade intensity to the world of tennis in this entry in the acclaimed Mario Tennis franchise.
What you’ll love: This game features more fun and balanced gameplay with zany animations and flashy graphics that bring the tennis matches to life. There are new characters, courts and game modes. Both local and online multiplayer are available.
What you should consider: The one-player mode is too short and doesn’t offer any real replay value.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Fusing car combat and soccer, Rocket League has many different game modes, and up to four players can play at once.
What you’ll love: This arcade car soccer favorite has been out for years, and there is so much added content that is readily available in the Rocket League Ultimate Edition. It offers a unique experience with near-endless possibilities and gameplay tweaks.
What you should consider: The in-game physics take a lot of getting used to, and the AI isn’t always intuitive.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Stephen Morin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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