8 Best Exclusive Sports Games for the Switch
If you're in the mood to play a sports game alone or with friends, the Nintendo Switch might not be the first console that comes to mind when it comes...
If you're in the mood to play a sports game alone or with friends, the Nintendo Switch might not be the first console that comes to mind when it comes to impressive graphics and triple-A titles. Most licensed sports games like NHL and Madden aren't even released for Nintendo's hybrid console.
Nintendo has never relied on third-party support for its success. Although some of the industry's most successful titles are not available on their platform, the company circumvents this issue by releasing its own sports games, typically featuring Mario and his companions as the main characters. The Nintendo Switch has more exclusive sports games than the PS5 and Xbox, but not all of them are aces up their sleeve.
Updated on September 3, 2023, by Kyle Chamaillard: It's been a while since there has been an exclusive sports game for the Nintendo Switch - apologies to all those who were waiting for an official Mario Lacrosse - but we have recently decided to revise this list to ensure it is up to date and well-organized.
8 Soccer Slammers
The most exclusive sports games on the Switch feature Nintendo characters battling each other for glory. Soccer Slammers is one of the few exceptions, and it feels like it could have benefited from either a guest appearance or some kind of twist.
This arcade soccer game offers two-on-two matches with dull gameplay and monotonous environments. It also has an extremely limited amount of content. This is disappointing because the director, Jools Watsham, who created the excellent Mutant Mudds series, couldn't transfer the charming aesthetic style and engaging gameplay of those games to Soccer Slammers.
7 Sports Story
Golf Story was one of the many excellent games available in the first year of the Switch and became one of the best examples of why independent developers should bring their games to the console. A sequel was announced in 2019, promising to include more sports and activities, but Sports Story dropped the ball with its disappointing gameplay and structure.
After numerous delays, Sports Story was finally released unexpectedly in the last weeks of 2022 without any marketing support. It was strange to see one of the most anticipated games for the Switch come out this way, but it turned out that the game was full of glitches and bugs that adversely affected the overall gameplay experience. Updates and patches may address these issues over time, but Sports Story should have been given more time to fix its problems before being made available to the public.
6 Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Mario and Sonic started their rivalry at the Olympic Games for the Wii, and the rivals still meet every few years for the next showdown. The two mascots, along with their friends and foes, participate in events such as javelin throw, boxing, and gymnastics to see who can bring home the gold medal.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 scores with a wide selection of playable characters and events. However, it lacks enough depth to truly challenge you. The game reaches its full potential when played with friends, as the single-player mode can be monotonous, and playing against the CPU can be equally tiresome. The inclusion of 16-bit events is enjoyable for a while but loses its charm after a few playthroughs.
5 Mario Strikers: Battle League Football
Mario, Luigi, and the rest of the crew haven't spent nearly as much time playing soccer as they have with tennis or golf. Most Mario sports games started either on the NES or the N64, but the first Mario Strikers game was released in 2005 for the GameCube, followed by a sequel that came out just a few years later for the Wii.
Over a decade later, Mario Strikers is back, and while it's exciting to see its return, the Battle League offers nothing new for the series and even has fewer contents than its predecessors. The biggest change is the introduction of the equipment system, allowing you to customize a character with new clothing items that also affect their stats. Next Level Games had success with the last two Luigi's Mansion entries, so it's surprising that they dropped the ball with Mario Strikers: Battle League.
4 Mario Golf: Super Rush
Golf is typically a slow-paced sport that many enjoy playing with friends to relax and have a good time. The Mario Golf series has always been able to capture a similar feeling at home. A colorful selection of characters and dozens of creative golf courses have defined the series for a long time, and Mario Golf: Super Rush largely continues this tradition.
Like the other Mario sports titles for the Switch, Super Rush was heavily criticized upon release for its lack of content. Over a year later, the game is still receiving new content, but that wasn't the only issue. Super Rush introduces a new mode called Speed Golf, where players compete to see who can get their ball in the hole the fastest. It's an interesting gimmick once again, but it quickly loses its charm after just a few rounds.
3 Mario Tennis Aces
When he's not busy rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser or starring in a movie, you can usually catch Mario partying, racing karts, or playing a tennis match with his companions. The first time Mario could be seen on the court was on the Virtual Boy in 1995, and nearly three decades later, his backhand has never been better.
After Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash failed to impress the audience on the Wii U, there was a lot of pressure on Mario Tennis Aces to restore the brand's reputation. Fortunately, Aces addresses many of its predecessor's issues by providing more precise controls, fewer gimmicks, and an enjoyable single-player campaign. Some of the multiplayer modes that contributed to the notoriety of the N64 and GameCube versions are still missing, but it remains a good game that can be played alone or with friends.
2 Nintendo Switch Sports
It's hard to believe that it took Nintendo five years to release a spiritual successor to Wii Sports for the Switch. The original is one of the most popular games of all time, and the Joy-Con is perfectly suited to replicate the simple and intuitive controls that were crucial to the success of Wii Sports.
Nintendo Switch Sports includes familiar sports like tennis and bowling but also introduces new sports like badminton and soccer. Unlike Wii Sports, you can compete online against other players and collect new clothing items and emotes for your avatar. More sports are planned to be released in the future, and if they are as enjoyable to play as the current ones, Nintendo Switch Sports has the potential to become a must-have game for every Switch owner.
1 Golf Story
Golf Story was originally intended to be released for the Wii U. It was delayed multiple times and with the help of Nintendo, it was finally released on the Switch in 2017. Golf Story is not only the first exclusive sports game on the console but also the best and most captivating game in the series.
Golf Story is ultimately more than just a sports game; it's also a role-playing game with fascinating characters and a fantastic story. It's refreshing to mingle with the locals between rounds and invest hard-earned money in new equipment and abilities. The golfing mechanics are intuitive, making it a great game even for those unfamiliar with the sport. Golf Story is often compared to Stardew Valley due to its innovation in the simulation genre and its aesthetic design. Its unique concept not only makes it the best exclusive sports game for the Switch but also one of the best games in its impressive library.