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Can you play Switch Sports on a Nintendo Switch Lite?

The massive success that the Nintendo Wii became was largely due to a single game: Wii Sports. This game, which came bundled with the console itself, helped introduce the concept of motion controls to the largest audience possible by pairing it with activities that most (if not all) people were already familiar with. If you knew how to bowl in real life, you could do it in the game. Over a decade later, Nintendo Switch Sports has released on the Nintendo Switch to continue that tradition of easy-to-pick-up, motion-controlled sports fun for the entire family. This new version brings a host of new sports, features, and ways to play that can create a whole new wave of fun memories like Wii Sports did all those years ago.

Being a primarily motion-controlled game, Nintendo Switch Sports naturally needs the use of Joy-Cons to play. However, there are multiple versions of the Nintendo Switch on the market, with many people opting to pick up the cheaper, handheld-only Lite version. This edition has the Joy-Cons attached to the console itself, leading to some games not being playable on the portable-only version of Nintendo’s hit system. But what about Nintendo Switch Sports? If you’re wondering whether or not you can still enjoy this sports package on your Nintendo Switch lite, here’s the answer.

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Can you play Switch Sports on a Nintendo Switch Lite?

Two sportsmates play badminton in Nintendo Switch Sports.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Yes, you can play Nintendo Switch Sports on your Switch Lite, but there are some catches. In order to play Nintendo Switch Sports on your Switch Lite, you must have at least one pair of traditional Joy-Cons that are not attached to the system. The ones connected to the screen obviously can’t be swung or moved around as needed, so you have to have a separate pair that you connect to your Switch Lite. Having a Pro Controller won’t cut it, either. If you don’t have an extra pair of regular Joy-Cons, you will need to purchase some with Nintendo Switch Sports to play it.

You also need to be aware that, unless you’re playing specifically on TV Mode, which of course requires you to have a standard Switch in its dock, then you won’t be able to play many multiplayer modes. This is for safety reasons, we assume, since playing a game of, say, tennis with someone else would require you both to stand dangerously close together while swinging your Joy-Cons around. This applies to games like tennis, badminton, volleyball, and chambara. However, there are sports like soccer and bowling that have turn-based local multiplayer modes, which you can still do on your Switch Lite. You can still play online games with the Switch Lite, which would allow you to play any sport in multiplayer in Nintendo Switch Sports.

The other downsides are ones that just come with the limitations of playing a game on the smaller device, though it would technically also apply if you tried to play Nintendo Switch Sports in tabletop mode with a regular Switch. Most notably is that the screen size is quite small and hard to see for most games, plus it might be difficult to find a proper and stable place to set up your Switch Lite to play.

So, while you can play most of Nintendo Switch Sports on your Nintendo Switch Lite, you will have to invest in extra Joy-Cons and possibly miss out on the most fun part of the game: Simultaneous local multiplayer. If it’s your only option, it’s better than nothing, but it’s not the best way to experience this motion-controlled hit title.

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Jesse Lennox
Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more…
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