Wii Sports was a pack-in title released with the Nintendo Wii over ten years ago, and let's be honest; it was a major reason the platform became so popular with the casual audience. It introduced people to gaming that probably haven’t touched a game in years or maybe never with easy to grasp motion controls. While not 100% accurate, the simplicity of the games made for an enjoyable local multiplayer experience for the whole family. 1-2-Switch should have been the Wii Sports of the current generation, but Nintendo decided to sell it separately.
1-2-Switch does adamantly show off the new capabilities of the platform very well. However, the price may is too steep for what amounts to a collection of 28 different minigames. While the minigames included are spread across a large variety, ranging from unique to bizarre, none are addicting enough to play multiple times with the same players. Running through the gamut with a couple of my best friends, we quickly identified are favorites. We never revisited a single one, and only planned to return to the game if someone was going to be playing for the first time. The quirky nature of the minigames are enjoyable, and the HD rumble functionality is nothing short of amazing, but some of the more activity heavy minigames require too large of a play space.
Most of the games are meant to draw your attention away from the television and direct you to lock eyes with your opponent. In this sense, you are focusing on the audio coming from the speakers to guide you through the minigame, and this in itself poses a problem. Considering the game is meant to be played with a group of individuals or even in a party setting, having to be listening to the game's directions constantly can be quite difficult. Party games are meant to work regardless of the setting, and I feel that 1-2-Switch doesn’t respect that expectation. Unless you are having the quietest party in existence, many of the minigames suffer from outside noise.
Both table tennis and baseball forgo on-screen visuals (outside of a score screen) and instead requires players to listen to the sounds of the sport and react accordingly. Swinging in table tennis is done by finding the rhythm of the ball bouncing and moving in unison, while the same can be said about swinging a bat in baseball. Both feature ways to unbalance that rhythm by holding a button, and speeding it up or slowing it down. All of this can only be reacted to properly if you are clearly hear the variation of the game’s audio. If not, there is no way you will know how you are meant to respond.
Other minigames, such as the runway require you to walk across a room, something not suited for small spaces. And then there are those that are clearly meant for an older audience but cover it up with cutesy or charming visuals. The minigames that focuses on the HD rumble of the Joy-Cons fair much better, and are our favorites in the office. Soda shake tasks players with shaking a carbonated bottle and passing the controller to the next player before the bottle explodes, covering the shaker in liquid. The other one is counting the number of balls that are inside the controller. Making small movements with the controller, it should feel like you are holding a box with a certain number of balls moving around inside it. The balls were much smaller than I was expecting and once you see how small they are, it becomes quite enjoyable. Even then, I wouldn’t play any of these games with the same crowd multiple times. The novelty comes with experiencing these minigames with new faces and seeing their reactions.
1-2-Switch seems like a missed opportunity. With 28 minigames in total, there are too many of them that are wasted and limited in terms of enjoyment, The couple that seems to be the most enjoyable grow stale over time when played with the same crowd. Sure, forcing eye contact while you are dueling in the wild west or milking cows produces many hilarious moments, but the lack of depth keeps it from being a must-play title. On top of that, the asking price is too high for what the game offers and would have been better suited as a pre-installed game.Note: 1-2-Switch was reviewed on Switch. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.