Top 25 best sports games for Nintendo Switch
The most complete list of top-level Switch sports games
Hello dear reader, and welcome to PocketGamer's list of best Switch sports games that you can play in 2021!
The old cliche has it that video games and sport are like chalk and cheese. You're either into one or the other. That's a huge and wildly inactive generalisation, though. Plenty of people like both past times equally.
It makes even less sense when you really look at the two things closely. What is a sport, after all, but a collection of tactile games, complete with their own rulesets and goals?
We've left a whole bunch of Switch sports games off this list, including a stack of quite a niche examples that we simply haven't played. The fishing game genre, for example, is woefully underrepresented.
What we're saying is, please excuse our ignorance, and do shed some light on some of the hidden Switch sports games (gems) that are out there in the comments section below.Original list by Jon Mundy, updated by Pocket Gamer Staff.
Golf Story evokes memories of the classic GBA Mario Golf, with a simple top-down take on golf embedded within an engrossing JRPG quest. It's a pixelated game that doesn't exactly look the part - instead, you might think you're about to play some old school RPG.
It's absolutely brilliant, and it's a unique experience that will put a smile on your face. We strongly believe it's one of the best Switch sports games even in 2021.Download Golf Story
Lonely Mountains: Downhill
An exquisite mountain biking game that eschews the usual gimmicky stunts and brash presentation. Each run in Lonely Mountains is one blissfully serene environmental challenge.
The game is one of the best sports games on Switch for a number of reasons, but the one we want to highlight the most is the fact that it's absolutely stunning to look at. This game will make it feel like you're the one pedalling your way through the mountains, through vast and beautiful scenery. It's well worth a try, at least!Download Lonely Mountains: Downhill
This classic Neo-Geo port presents you with a future fantasy sport that mixes dodgeball, frisbee, and tennis. In local multiplayer, it's as tense and tactical as a beat-'em-up.
Windjammers is no ordinary game though - the mix of sports makes it into something unique that you can only experience on the Nintendo Switch. It's absolutely brilliant, and if you have a friend to join in the fun as well, it'll be that much more challenging.Download Windjammers
Super Mega Baseball 3
The Super Mega Baseball series is one of those golden franchises that can be appreciated even by non-fans. It boasts intuitive yet deep gameplay and an invitingly involved single-player campaign. In terms of visuals, it's a beautifully rendered 3D game that, while not realistic when it comes to the characters, is indeed realistic with the playstyle.
In other words, you can enjoy a fantastic baseball game right on your handheld console anytime, without worry. Is it one of the best Switch sports games ever? Some argue it is - it's up to you to give the final verdict though!Download Super Mega Baseball 3
One of the most enduringly popular online multiplayer games in any format, Rocket League hits that sweet spot between arcade immediacy (it's car football!) and engrossing, lifetime-to-master depth.
Rocket League is an entertaining game that will be super easy to get addicted to - unlike in other football games, you can customise your car and play with up to 8 other players. It's brilliant, and the best part is that it's cross-platform too. So, no matter if you play it from Switch and your friend from a smartphone, you can team up and try to score some goals.Download Rocket League
Tennis World Tour 2
The game is essentially tennis for your Nintendo Switch. It's a simple game where you create your own player, and play either in the Career mode or in various tournaments. It's fun and engaging, and you can even compete with other players in the Ranked mode.
Now if you love tennis, you're probably to enjoy this game a lot - the graphics and physics are absolutely fantastic and Tennis World Tour 2 feels realistic for a Nintendo Switch sports game.Download Tennis World Tour 2
The classic SNES tennis game gets another chance in the sun with Nintendo Switch Online. It remains a deeply tactile, if rather bare-bones, tennis offering. The game is fantastic if you want a more retro approach to a sports game, and it has fairly simple controls and pixelated graphics.
Without many other features to distract you from playing, you can shift all of your attention towards the gameplay aspect of the game and stick with that. But if you are looking for something a tad deeper and with more features, then you can always check out another tennis game for Switch, Tennis World Tour 2, or even Mario Tennis!Download Super Tennis
Football Manager Touch 2021
Playing the most in-depth football management game on your Switch feels slightly magical. Neither the touch display nor the Joy-Cons are ideal for control, but this is still an awesome sports game. You don't actually need to love football to enjoy this game, as long as you love simulation games.
You can create a team of players from pretty much any team (as long as you can negotiate a good salary for them and afford it, obviously) and come up with ingenious tactics to win more games and earn trophies. So, make sure to check it out since it's one of the greatest sports games and football games in general for Nintendo Switch.Download Football Manager Touch 2021
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
OK, so it was made for an Olympics that never took place thanks to COVID. But Sonic at the Olympic Games is still a lovely collection of sporty mini-games. You can partake in a number of competitions, and all of them feature fan-favourite characters, such as Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Not only that but also taking into consideration the fact that you can play in competitions of up to 8 players, it makes it a fun activity if you have some friends who love Olympic games and are competitive.Download Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Neo Turf Masters
Another SNK classic comes to Switch, with an arcade take on the stuffy sport of golf that will appeal to all-comers. Even if they don't have a proclivity for private clubs and silly trousers.
The game feels like the most retro of games you could play in 2021, so expect big and pixelated images, simple features and a good feel to really get you into the mood. It's a golf game that looks like it belongs in the '70s, but that doesn't mean it isn't fun. It's not the most immeasurable sports Switch game, but it's an experience worth having if you love golf.Download Neo Turf Masters
Mario Tennis Aces
Nintendo's exaggerated take on tennis comes to Switch, and it's an arcadey hoot for multiple local players. The single-player campaign isn't so hot but never mind that. If Mario is the character you'd rather play within each game, then Mario Tennis Aces have more than enough games to give you your sports fill for the day.
We even have some Mario Tennis tips to help you improve at the game and a Mario Tennis Aces review for your reading pleasure. Check them out and decide if you're ready to dive into this colourful sports game!Download Mario Tennis Aces
What The Golf?
What The Golf is a golf game in the loosest sense of the word. Or perhaps it's the ultimate golf game. This, after all, is a game where the identity of the ball, club and hole will differ drastically from one hole to the next.
With pastel colours and a feel-good approach, this game is there to put a smile on your face with its silly interactions and adorable campaign mode. It's not a sports game that takes itself seriously to be honest, but it's the most fun one out of everything. Definitely, something anyone and everyone should play!
Want to improve? Don't miss our What The Golf? tips and tricks!Download What The Golf?
The kind of simple, cheap game that's all too easy to overlook on the Nintendo eShop, Pure Pool is nonetheless a very well-put-together take on everyone's favourite pub game. It's a no-frills experience with on-point physics and crisp graphics.
It might not be as hyper-realistic as we might have hoped, but it's still brilliantly made and looks smooth enough to call it the best pool game on Switch. It's also great for 2 players to enjoy locally and since it offers so many game modes, it's probably the best on the market.Download Pure Pool
An unusual roguelite spin on the downhill mountain biking sub-genre, Descenders has you pedalling and stunting your way around procedurally generated stages. Maybe it is raining or snowing, but you really want to adventure into a beautiful mountain bike quest? Then there's no better (and safer) way than to play this immersive game.
It's going to give you the same adrenaline rush as the real deal would, albeit a tad toned down. It's perfect even for ranking on the leaderboards and competing with friends on various tracks.Download Descenders
Ring Fit Adventure
Can you even consider keeping fit a sport? As the only game on this list that will get you out of breath, we're willing to give Ring Fit Adventure a pass - especially as it wraps its exercises up in such a slick, fun adventure game. You will need the actual Ring-Con™ and Leg Strap for your Switch, but if you have them, you should definitely consider fitting this into your daily routine.
Especially now that we need to stay inside the home more often, it's ideal for breaking a sweat and keeping in shape. It's a unique addition to our list and a healthy one at that!Download Ring Fit Adventure
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is a much simpler and more arcadey take on b-ball than the mainline series, with a pronounced NBA Jam feel to its bobble-headed two-on-two action. It feels like street basketball played by pros - what could be wrong with that?
It's fun, colourful and filled to the brim with action, and you can have 4-player online matches to find out who the best player is!Download NBA 2K Playgrounds 2
Super Blood Hockey
Remember when ice hockey games were fun? Super Blood Hockey does, with its arcadey top-down 16-bit gameplay and OTT combat sports edge, this game takes the cup for the most bloody Switch game on the market - at least, a pixelated one.
It's heaps of fun, and you can't deny that its super blood-y approach makes it more fun than a normal, realistic hockey game would be.Download Super Blood Hockey
Okay, so Golf Zero plays more like Super Meat Boy than any golf game you've ever played. But the aim is still to put the ball in the hole, and it's brilliant fun, so it makes the cut. It's simple enough to enjoy even if you're not an avid golf player, and the entire concept of the game is simple, yet heaps of platforming golf fun.
You can read our Golf Zero review where we've clearly mentioned that although the game is not your typical golfing experience, it's something that you'll find easy to enjoy. Check it out!Download Golf Zero
PGA Tour 2K21
An altogether more serious and authentic take on the sport of golf than can be found elsewhere on this list, PGA Tour 2K21 is for all the would-be McIlroys out there. The game has probably the best-looking graphics we've seen on a golf game, and that's only the icing on this golf cake.
The gameplay is all about developing your player and winning tournaments, as well as discovering all your hidden potential as a golfer. It's easily one of the top sports games on the platform.Download PGA Tour 2K21
From the title alone, you probably know what to expect. Pretty much the only basketball game you need on Switch, with a comprehensive range of single-player and multiplayer features. Just ignore those horrible micro-transactions, and you've got yourself the best sports game on Switch - ever.
You can choose your roster of players and just enjoy the stunning animations and interactions. It's an extremely well-done and competitive game, so be prepared to face off other players in entertaining five on five matches.Download NBA 2K21
New Star Manager
Like the thought of managing a football team to glory, but can't get on with Football Manager's dry realism or hands-off matches? Pocket League Story could be the accessible alternative for you, particularly with its more interactive matches.
If you're not sure whether or not this game is for you, you can read our New Star Manager review, where we mention all the things you should know before playing it - or you can watch our video review instead!Download New Star Manager
Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions
Linked to a classic manga series, Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions takes the slightly drab sport of football/soccer and imbues it with a rare narrative spark and a decidedly arcadey take on the sport. It's essentially like taking part in the anime (or manga) yourself.
It's filled to the brim with action and the visuals, moves and character animations are top of the line. It's probably the best football game for Switch, especially if you love the original Captain Tsubasa story.Download Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions
Knock 'Em Down! Bowling
Everyone knows that the best thing about Wii Sports was the bowling. Knock 'Em Down! Bowling basically gives you that motion control-driven classic and fleshes it out with endless variations and animal avatars.
It's a cute game, but don't let that fool you - it is so easy for things to escalate and become a competitive fest in a matter of seconds, so it'll always keep you on your toes. Knock 'Em Down! Bowling can also be played in teams and have up to four players, so it never gets boring!Download Knock 'Em Down! Bowling
Go Vacation arguably gets the closest yet to a Wii Sports follow-up on Switch, with bright motion control-infused takes on 50+ sporting activities, including tennis, volleyball, and skiing.
The setup is Kawawii Island, which is as close as it gets to 'kawaii island', and it wouldn't be wrong in that regard. It's an adorable game that revolves around various sports, and if you have some friends willing to embark on this adventure with you, it'll be a lot more fun. You can read our Go Vacation review if you're curious to learn more!Download Go Vacation
Let's get this straight: FIFA 21 on the Switch is a lazy, cynical, half-baked effort compared to other console versions. But where else are you going to get a big budget, fully licensed arcade footy experience on Switch?
At the moment, the Legacy Edition adds a bunch of more features, including a Campaign mode, tournaments, and even brings back the Women's International Cup (that was once cancelled). Is it fun? Sort of. Is it football, essentially? Definitely. Is it one of the best Switch sports games right now? That's up to you to decide.Download FIFA 21