If you’ve ever played Konami’s Track & Field series (also known as Hyper Olympic in Japan), you’ll no doubt remember the intense competitive aspects of these titles. Super Sportmatchen channels the spirit of these classics and has a slightly less serious tone. This is a single and multiplayer game focused on winning – whether it’s placing first, setting the fastest time or being the last competitor standing.   

Super Sportmatchen doesn’t waste any time getting the proceedings underway. Upon boot-up, you are prompted to select one of two modes (a random mix of sports or a pre-selected bunch), including the option to play with other players or A.I. opponents (including the power to change the difficulty setting) and the additional ability to play in teams in a tournament format. You then select a character from one of the many different nations and you’re off.

The selection of sports offered includes classics like the 100m Dash and hurdles and much weirder events such as throwing a capybara with a parachute strapped to its back. The quirky theme prevalent throughout Super Sportmatchen really gives it a unique sense of charm and personality, which will definitely help if your memories of this type of game aren’t so fond. There’s even a referee who’ll make the odd comment on each player’s performance from time to time, and a variety of animals involved that can help or hinder how well you perform.

Each of the ten sports is easy to learn, but much like the real deal you’re going to need to practice if you want to win on a regular basis. The controls for these sports mostly require timed button presses. Each one typically requires different inputs and is a lot easier to understand if you stick to a single Joy-Con. In events such as River Dodge, it’s as effortless as moving left or right with the analog stick, whereas other events can be slightly more complicated - such as the 180M Hopp-Ball requiring you to hold and charge each bounce and also the Wall-Climb, demanding precision presses.

The different events are all timer based, with the clock counting up or down, depending on the sport. Some events are also less predictable, with random events and bonus points up for grabs based on how you perform. For example, in Animal Feed (a target mini-game), a mole might pop up out of the ground, allowing one player to earn additional points.

No miniaturised sport is necessarily better than another as each maintains the same level of quality. There’s an interesting mix as you move to and from modified court events such as Hoops (a take on basketball featuring the addition of power bars), various track and field events including Boll Toss (a spin on shot put) and Pillow Push (a light-hearted take on several Olympic combat sports, in which you must knock your competitor off a platform using a pillow, as you may have guessed). The A.I. can be tough if you’re playing any of these games alone, but it’s not necessarily impossible to beat if you practice.

Recognition must go to the developer for including online leaderboards for each of the sports. Many games of this nature seem to fall short in this department. Thankfully, that’s not the case here. It means there’s still a reason for solo players to improve their personal best – however, it still may not be enough to sustain long-term interest. If you do have friends and family on hand, the multiplayer is admittedly the area this game excels in. It’s quick and easy to start a game with two-to-four people and if it’s a close contest, it can be extremely engaging. This is the primary reason as to why you would want to add this title to your Switch library.

The sound and visuals further enhance this retro throwback. The pixel artwork is reminiscent of the NES years and the music captures the passion of every sporting moment. There’s a great sense of build-up as an event begins, and both the music and sound stay on queue as the competition unfolds. All of this does a great job transporting you to this bite-sized world filled with cute animals and tiny humans, and for a minute or two you might even forget you’re playing this title on such a modern device. It’s recreated those classic gaming vibes perfectly. 

Conclusion

Super Sportmatchen deserves some praise for including online leaderboards to help prolong the replay value of the individual experience. A lot of games of this calibre fail to add this feature. Competing against the A.I. will definitely get old, fast, so this is a great way to sustain interest. For some, this still might not be enough. The main contest here is the local multiplayer. Provided you have friends or family around, this is another one of those titles that is fun for brief sessions in between more prominent multiplayer titles.