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Nintendo Switch Sports Basketball – A Slam Dunk Or A Missed Shot?

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Nintendo Switch Sports Basketball – A Slam Dunk Or A Missed Shot?

Nintendo Switch Sports Basketball
Image: Nintendo Life

It’s been almost two years since Nintendo Switch Sports‘ last major update with the addition of Golf. The patch left us feeling decidedly “whelmed” — it was a nice add-on, but nothing special after having played Wii Sports and its Resort follow-up. With Basketball, the latest sport to join the roster, we expected more of the same. And, after checking out all of the game modes in single-player and local multiplayer, we were right to be confident in our assumptions.

Like the other seven available sports, Basketball offers a watered-down take on shooting hoops with simple controls that allow you to pick up and play in minutes. Move the Joy-Con up and down to dribble the ball, press ‘X’ to pass the ball, hold ZR and flick your wrist to shoot the ball. Those after-crossover moves and alley-oop plays are better off looking elsewhere (though even NBA 2K has taken a bit of a dive on Switch lately), but if you want to hit the virtual court with everyone from your pals to your parents, then Switch Sports’ simplicity is still tough to beat.

Nintendo Switch Sports Basketball
Image: Nintendo Life

The update offers a decent number of game modes — even if the central difference is ‘you can dribble the ball’ or ‘you cannot dribble the ball. There’s ‘Two-on-Two’ and ‘Three-Point Challenge’ in single-player and an additional ‘Three-Point Contest’ and ‘Five-Streak Battle’ in multiplayer. The last three of these are all about sinking as many shots as you can from three-point range so don’t expect any drastic changes in the gameplay department, but at least some snazzy new basketball outfits mean that your avatar will look the part.

As is the case with each sport in the Switch game, Basketball is best played with others. The ‘shake the Joy-Con to move’ control that had us rolling our eyes with its inconsistent reaction times when playing solo was an amusing leveller in multiplayer. Even the Five-Streak Challenge — which, as you might guess, is all about draining five shots in a row — packs in enough game-night laughs as balls bounce off each other and disrupt routes to the basket when shot simultaneously.

It all feels a lot 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 the Two-on-Two matches because everything comes to a halt and resets after every shot or turnover), which makes this more of a trip down memory lane for those who played the 2009 sequel than anything particularly new.

Admittedly, pesky network errors on our end meant that we haven’t been able to play any of the modes with online match-ups at the time of writing (the biggest difference to the Wii counterpart), but we can’t see the added opportunity to play with ballers from around the world turning this series vet into a Switch Sports MVP. That said, we’ll be sure to keep you updated with our online impressions as soon as we get the chance to try it out.

Nintendo Switch Sports Basketball
Image: Nintendo Life

Much like Golf back in 2022, it’s difficult to knock Basketball as a free update. It’s a whole bonus sport, and it’s free. We’d also be lying if we said that the Nintendo Switch Sports package hasn’t got that bit more attractive with its arrival — eight sports are better than six, after all. But, unless the game mode was your absolute favourite back on the Wii, this won’t be the addition that makes you run out and spend £50 on the game.

We really hope that there’s more to come for Nintendo Switch Sports in the future (Baseball still feels like a no-brainer) because there is still a lot of fun to be had here and the Basketball update only adds to that. If, however, this is the end, then it seems fitting that it should round out on the same, safe note that it started on back in 2022.

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