In Bad North, we have an RTS for those who usually don’t get on with the genre.
In our little team of two here at Get Indie Gaming, one of us rather enjoys a good real-time strategy game. For them, the harder, the busier and the more things happening on screen to take note of the better. I on the other hand feel quite the opposite. I’ve generally kept RTS games at a good arm’s length. I’m not saying I dislike them, rather I find playing them an all too stress inducing experience and one that’s far removed from what I’m looking for in any given video game play through.
In Bad North, out now and dropped just before Gamescom on the Nintendo Switch and coming to other consoles, PC and mobile soon, we have an RTS with roguelite elements that’s been stripped right back to the bare bones of the genre. It’s all rather simple. You’re tasked with marshalling up to four army units around a procedurally generated island to see off hordes of faceless invaders. These insiders arrive by Viking longboats and appear out of the fog at various rates and intervals. There’s very little else to contend with and certainly none of the more usually tasks normally found within traditional RTS games.
Simple but Effective Control Mechanics
The control method is equally as simple. You move your units from one spot on the map to another and on the Switch, the controls work wonderfully well when used in conjunction with the touchscreen. Touch the screen where you want your troops to go and use the pinch and zoom functionality to get the view of the gameplay best suited to your needs.
As for the gameplay, I easily get into a rhythm and use the panning and zooming abilities to track the enemies as they approach the island, always trying to stay a few moves ahead in my thinking. Mistakes are easy to make and it’s easy to find yourself overrun with your units decimated and your buildings in ruins.
Progression comes via spending coins you receive from successfully defending the buildings on an island during the battles. These coins offer upgrades by at first offering a new unit and then a range of skills you can level up as you go about your business. That said, your enemy is also able to get hold of new skills and equipment such as shields to accompany their swords or archers of their own which naturally enough makes them harder to deal with.
In a nice touch, Bad North uses a type of turn-based system which helps keep things at an even pace. While you decide where to move your troops, the on screen action slows to an almost standstill thus giving you space and time to better plan your course of action.
I spent the best part of 10 or so hours with Bad North over this weekend just gone. While I’m unlikely to be a RTS convert long term, it’s been a truly enjoyable experaince that looks wonderful with the subtle colour palate and given the scrore, sounds just as great too. Ultimately this is one RTS I’m likely to come back to many times to come.
- Developer: Plausible Concept
- Publisher: Raw Fury
- Platform: Reviewed on Nintendo Switch, copy purchased from the Nintendo eShop
- Availability: Out now on Nintendo Switch, coming to Xbox One and PS4 August 28th, PC in 2018, iOS and Android TBD.