The Nintendo Switch has tons of games that span across a massive range of genres, from super fun platformers to addictive racing titles to classic RPGs. One genre that I’ve never really paid attention to much however has been the RTS genre. RTS (Real Time Strategy) is actually a genre I enjoy a lot but I’ve only ever really played on PC. So when Northgard made the jump to the Nintendo Switch, it felt like the right game to give the RTS genre a shot on the Switch.
Northgard is a Viking-themed RTS created by Shiro Games. Based on a land that has been recently discovered by the Vikings, your job is to conquer these lands, grow your community and essentially survive. If you’ve played the Civilisation games before then Northgard has a lot of things similar to those. And with three modes to choose from – single player, story mode and multiplayer, Northgard has plenty of options for nearly every RTS fan.
Firstly, we’ll talk through the story mode. When a regal horn and the map to Northgard are stolen from you, you have to set out to reclaim what is rightfully yours. With eleven levels in total, each coming with their own cutscenes, I found it really invaluable to play the story mode first. It’s a really great way to get to grips with the controls and gameplay mechanics. I always worry that RTS games can be a little overwhelming with the large number of mechanics that are usually involved. The story mode helped me to navigate a lot of this and wrap my head around it in a way that was easy to understand and fun. Each level has a set victory condition which also helps you to get to grips with all the mechanics. In all, I really enjoyed the story mode. I did struggle to complete some of the harder levels further on in the story but I enjoyed retrying them.
While the story mode is a lot of fun, there are only 11 levels in total. Thankfully much of Northgards meat comes from the single player and multiplayer modes. In the single player mode, you can choose to set up a small, medium or large map that has you compete with AI components over land and resources. These AI opponents are surprisingly diverse with different strengths, weaknesses and tactics making this single player mode have a lot of replay value. It’s a great way to hone your tactics before taking yourself online.
With the multiplayer, it’s pretty much the same as the single player experience but you play with other players online. I didn’t really experience any issues in terms of lag but I did have to wait a while to actually make matches online. Hopefully with continued pick up of this game, more people will play online because it is a lot of fun. Nearly everyone I played against was far superior at the game than me so I didn’t last very long!
The main thing about Northgard is all about building your communities and expanding them. You start with only a few villagers, assign them skills and then continue to build on these skills, grow your population, give them skills and so on. It’s not just a simple case however of growing your population and giving them jobs. You have to think about how you are going to ensure that your community will survive under any condition. Seasons plays a big part in this so there is a lot to think about. Your citizens (or clans) have a happiness meter (like in Sim City) and you also have to keep on top of this to ensure that they are happy and productivity continues to be strong.
Visually, Northgard is a very pretty game. The cutscenes are well presented and in a really cool art style while the Northgard world has surprisingly a lot of detail to it. If you zoom into your community, you can see a lot of the little intricacies that you wouldn’t otherwise see. There are lots of varied landscapes in the world from massive swamps to stunning snow covered mountains – Shiro Games have done a really fantastic job porting the game to the Nintendo Switch. In terms of controls, I was a little concerned how the game would play without the use of a mouse and keyboard. I’ve always RTS games play best on a PC but I actually found the controls quite intuitive.
- Lots of replayability
- Great story mode to get you started
- Good graphics
- Not always easy to get an online match
Developer Shiro Games has successfully transferred this soup to the Switch with a lot of fantastic ingredients making this a really great dish.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.