7 Entry-level sports video games for the gaming noob

Oct 7, 2019

SO you got yourself a new, shiny game console and you’re itching to play your first sports simulation title.

The obvious options are plenty and pretty defined. There’s FIFA for soccer, Madden for football, The Show for baseball, and 2K for basketball. But those are pretty heavy titles that require you to spend a lot of time mastering intricate controls and increasingly deep mechanics and that might not be suited for someone new to gaming.

If that’s the case, then here are a few entry-level sports games that can get you started before you transition to the big leagues.

Mario Tennis Aces

Despite its cute appearance, Mario Tennis Aces is one of the best tennis titles you can play. The game is easy enough for anyone to pick up and play immediately but also provides some depth once you start progressing your skills. The single player mode will keep you interested for a bit, but it’s really when you start battling it out with friends (or strangers online) that you’ll get maximum enjoyment out of this game. This is definitely not traditional tennis but we should stress that the competitive nature of the sport including the many tense moments that arise from a particularly long rally or when the scores are close at the endgame are definitely present. Tennis purists might roll their eyes at the many over-the-top shots you can perform in Mario Tennis Aces but get over its cartoony presentation and you’ll find a solid sports game at its core.

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Platform(s): Nintendo Switch

Tokyo 2020

The 2020 Summer Olympics is less than a year away. And while the real athletes are deep into their preparations, couch olympians like us can play Tokyo 2020 the game. There are over 20 events in the game which includes track events such as the 100 meter dash and the 4 x 100 m relay, field events like the long jump, aquatics events which include 100 m freestyle and 200 m individual medley, and other events such as judo, basketball, boxing, and beach volleyball just to name a few. There’s definitely a ton of content in this game to keep you occupied until the real thing kicks off in a few months. Each event plays differently and has its own mechanics but none are too complicated to play. If you’re a Switch owner, you can also look at another game called Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games which will be released in November and should provide you with a similar experience.

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Platform(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

NBA 2K Playgrounds 2

We recently published a review of NBA 2K20 and in it, we touched a bit on how complex the gameplay can get. But if you don’t want to put in the time and effort to learn how to run plays and execute dribble moves but still want to play a game of basketball, then NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 might be your thing. Old-school gamers will instantly be reminded of the classic NBA Jam franchise when they see Playgrounds 2 because of the exaggerated gameplay. The 2-on-2 gameplay is simple enough for those unfamiliar with basketball sim games to start getting buckets immediately (though it might require a handful of playthroughs to get the timing of the shot meter right). This is a game you can sink a lot of time into especially if you want to level up each individual player and unlock the complete roster.

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Platform(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

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    Golf Story

    We know that golf is not the sport for everyone but trust us when we tell you that Golf Story is a must-play title if you own a Nintendo Switch. It’s more of an RPG than an actual golf game but the golf mechanics at its core, while simple, is surprisingly flexible. Just like any RPG, you can get better equipment and improve individual skills while going through a very entertaining storyline. There’s a lot of content in this game including a lot of side quests (most of which will ask you to complete tasks using the many golf-related skills you’ll pick up during the game), an Atari-inspired golf video game, and even multiple rounds of disc golf that will keep you engaged.

    Platform(s): Nintendo Switch

    Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled

    Crash Team Racing has always been the distant second to the immensely popular Mario Kart series. But the newly remade Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is definitely not a racing game you should sleep on. The visuals of this remake are legitimately good and, compared to the latest installment of Mario Kart, feels a bit faster. That this game is available on the three major consoles (as opposed to Mario Kart being a Nintendo exclusive) is just one more reason for us to recommend this over the competition. So if you’re having trouble earning your licenses in Gran Turismo, then perhaps it’s time to move on over to team Crash.

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    Platform(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

    Windjammers

    Is it Ultimate frisbee? Is it beach volleyball? Is it tennis? Is it table hockey? We honestly don’t know but what we’re certain of is that Windjammers is an absolute blast to play. Originally released as an arcade game in 1994, it has since found new life on modern consoles after being released on the Playstation in 2017 and for the Switch a year after. Windjammers is a strange hybrid sports game that has stood the test of time and is worth trying out if you want a fresh sports gaming experience or just want to replay an arcade classic.

    Platform(s): Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Nintendo Switch

    Rocket League

    Speaking of strange hybrid sports, if you haven’t tried Rocket League yet, do yourself a favor and immediately purchase a copy now. To put it simply, this game is soccer played with rocket powered vehicles. We know how it sounds and we had apprehensions before playing it but we were more than pleasantly surprised after we did. The weird combination somehow worked and while there can be deep strategy involved among high-level gamers, the core gameplay is easy enough to grasp and is very satisfying to play. There are plenty of modes and DLC’s to keep you hooked including hockey and basketball variants that tweak the mechanics a bit to provide you with fresh experiences should you get tired of the main game mode (which is highly unlikely). This game extends its enjoyability with online play (and is one of the few games that supports cross-platform gaming) but even offline on single-player v AI or split-screen mode is more than enough to keep you gaming for a long time.

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    Platform(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, Linux

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