Developer: Bandai Namco
It shouldn’t be too surprising that Go Vacation seems like a throwback to a previous generation of Nintendo games — back to the Wii, when the success of Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort led to seemingly every publisher trying to get in on the act with some kind of minigame collection. After all, Go Vacation on the Switch is actually just an an updated version of Bandai Namco’s take on the genre, which was also named Go Vacation.
Consequently, it also shouldn’t be too surprising that much of the praise — and, more relevantly, much of the criticism — the games got a decade or so ago still applies here.
On the positive side, this means the games on offer are generally pretty easy to pick up and play. Whether you’re skydiving, skateboarding, horseback riding, or partaking in any of the dozens of other sports available here across four resorts, it’s not going to take you long to figure out what to do. Moreover, because the level of entry is so low, Go Vacation is the sort of thing you can play with pretty much anybody — even if the Joy-Cons don’t have quite the same feel as a Wii Remote, and even if playing the game solo on handheld mode can be a little frustrating at times for reasons I’ll get into in a moment, it’s safe to say that it’s a game you could play with anybody, from pretty much any age group.
However, those are also some pretty major weaknesses of the game too. Sure, the minigames are easy to pick up, but that also means they don’t offer all that much depth. You can increase the difficulty a little, but that only does so much — you’ll still feel like you’re doing the same old thing over and over again before too long.
The same goes for the controls: if you were fond of motion controls, you may be happy to see them embraced again today, but if you didn’t — and I have to admit that once I got passed the initial wow factor, I came to loathe the very notion — then Go Vacation will have you remembering why the Wii sometimes seemed more like a fad than an innovation. It’s kind of neat the first time that, say, you steer your skydiver into position by physically moving your controller in that direction; by the fifth time you’ll just wish you could use thumbsticks like a normal person.
I feel like it’s also important to note that Go Vacation offers more than just minigames: you don’t just get the different collections of games at each resort, you also get the physical resorts themselves, where you can befriend people (and dogs!), take photos, sit down at restaurants, and buy new clothing. I’d be lying if I said I cared about any of that very much, but I’m sure that some people do, and for those people, this game has a lot to offer.
But again, from a broader perspective, everything about Go Vacation seems like it’s trying to import the hottest gaming trends of 2006 into today. If you still feel nostalgia for that era, then check it out, but if you’d rather that motion controls and the like stayed firmly in the past, then you’ll probably want to steer clear.
Nintendo provided us with a Go Vacation Switch code for review purposes.