Nintendo Switch Sports Basketball – A Dunk or a Miss?

Nintendo Switch Sports Basketball
Image: Nintendo Life

It has been almost two years since Nintendo Switch Sports‘The last major update with the addition of Golf. The patch makes us feel solid”overwhelmed” — it’s a nice add-on, but nothing special after playing Wii Sports and it Resort follow. With Basketball being the latest sport to join the list, we expected more. And after testing all the game modes in single-player and local multiplayer, we were right in our assumptions.

Like the other seven sports, Basketball offers a simpler way to shoot hoops with simple controls that you can pick up and play in minutes. Move the Joy-Con up and down to dribble, press ‘X’ to pass, hold ZR and flick your wrist to shoot. The post-play moves and alley-oops are better found elsewhere (though even NBA 2K has seen a slight dip on the Switch recently), but if you want to play virtual games with everyone from friends to parents, the simplicity of Switch Sports is still hard to beat.

Nintendo Switch Sports Basketball
Image: Nintendo Life

The update offers a decent amount of game modes — even if the main difference is ‘you can dribble’ or ‘you can’t dribble. There’s ‘Two-on-Two’ and ‘Three-Point Challenge’ in single-player, and it adds ‘Three-Point Contest’ and ‘Five-Streak Battle’ in multiplayer. The last three of these modes all involve shooting as many three-pointers as possible, so don’t expect any drastically changes in gameplay, but at least some cool new basketball outfits will help your avatar look more relevant.

Like every sport on the Switch, Basketball is best played with someone else. The ‘shake Joy-Con to move’ controller, which had us rolling our eyes at inconsistent reaction times when playing solo, is a fun trade-off in multiplayer. Even the Five-Chain Challenge—which, as you might guess, is about knocking down five shots in a row—provides enough laughs on game night as the balls bounce off each other and smash their way to the basket when hit at the same time.

It all feels a little like Basketball on Wii Sports Resort, and that’s because it is. The controls feel a little clunky, and the gameplay is still very stop-and-start in Two-on-Two matches (as everything stops and resets after every hit or missed ball), which makes this more of a trip down memory lane for those who played the 2009 sequel than anything particularly new.

Admittedly, a pesky network bug on our part prevented us from playing any of the modes that feature online matches at the time of writing (the biggest difference from the Wii version), but we don’t see the added opportunity to play against baseball players from around the world making this series veteran the Switch Sports MVP. Still, we’ll be sure to update you with our online impressions as soon as we get a chance to try it out.

Nintendo Switch Sports Basketball
Image: Nintendo Life

Like Golf in 2022, it’s hard to fault Basketball as a free update. It’s a complete bonus sport, and it’s free. We’d also be lying if we said the Nintendo Switch Sports package wasn’t a little more appealing at launch—eight sports are better than six, after all. But unless the game mode was your absolute favorite from your Wii days, this isn’t an addition that’ll make you run out and spend £50 on the game.

We really hope there’s more to Nintendo Switch Sports in the future (Baseball still seems like the obvious one) because there’s still a lot of fun to be had here, and the Basketball update only adds to that. If this is the end, though, it seems fitting that it should end on the same safe note it began in 2022.


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