Mostly delightful and sometimes punishing, Bad North is a fun alternative to more complex strategy games.
A streamlined real-time defence game with a wonderful knack for dread.
By taking a genre that thrives on its deep mechanics and attempting to streamline it into something anyone can pick up and play, we're left with an experience that doesn't wholly appeal to anybody. It sucks because there was so much potential here, and it ends up shooting itself in the foot before it really has the chance to bear fruit. With some updates and balancing, Bad North could, one day, deliver on its promise. Right now, however, it just feels like a wasted opportunity.
Bad North has a lot of potential, but it wastes most of that by doubling down on simplicity over depth. In many rogue-lite games starting a new run is an exciting prospect, as you know your newly acquired player skill will carry you through, but the slower pace here makes it feel a lot more like having to do the hoovering again because someone ate a pastry with no regard for your nice clean carpet.
Strong in art style and founded on an interesting premise, Bad North is not deep enough to entertain for a long time.
Review in Italian | Read full review
A minimalist's take on the real time strategy genre, with a strong pick and play quality that doesn't quite do enough to bridge the gap between novices and veterans of the genre.
All Bad North needs, really, is a little bit more consistency within the random, because currently it’s an experience that I want to go back to, yet am frustrated by.
For what it lacks in scope, Bad North makes it up with an addictive, rewarding roguelike strategy gameplay layer.
Bad North succeeds in making real time strategy accessible to everyone with easy to grasp controls and a straightforward set of tactical choices. However, some may be put off by the difficulty of the latter half, and with just one mode of play at launch, it's a pretty light package. Aside from the occasional bug, the game runs very well, and the miniature battles make for a compelling experience. If you're looking for a streamlined strategy title you can play in your downtime, Bad North is an imperfect but solid solution.
Minimalistic and consistent real-time strategy game, which lacks some variation in the long run.
Review in German | Read full review
Bad North feels a lot like a mobile title in terms of its limited scope, tight focus, and simple controls, and that makes it a fantastic fit for the Switch in portable mode.
A slice of Viking strategic combat right out of the heart of Scandinavia's indie development scene, Bad North joins the likes of Element at the vanguard of a new wave of smart yet intrinsically accessible real-time strategy titles. With enough enemy variance to convince you you're playing an interactive episode of the Vikings TV show, this endlessly entertaining sea of bitesize battles will teach you to fear - and love - the sound of the oncoming horde.
A lack of variety doesn't mar an otherwise captivating game - it's a compelling strategy and tower defence game.
On the surface, Bad North is a simple puzzle game, that gets increasingly challenging and emotional with each island you defend, resuting in an addictive strategy roguelite.
All in all, Bad North's gameplay is very engaging and keeps you on your feet. Despite some weakness in the narrative department, most design choices pay off. It is a polished experience that has kept me entertained for a good amount of time.
Endearingly minimalistic and simple enough without compromising potential depth, Bad North works surprisingly well with its premise, but is ultimately held back by from reaching the greatness it easily could have attained. A roguelike RTT is an interesting concept, but the title does suffer from a lack of traditional level design once the difficulty curve begins to spike. On top of that, freezing can occur when returning to the world map after a mission. Autosave ensures progress is never lost, but it's nonetheless frustrating. Bad North is not a bad RTS by any means, offering a fairly strong first half, but a lack of cohesion between difficulty and level design makes its back half less palatable.
It's a rare example of where the randomisation of the roguelike structure doesn't feel like a lazy excuse to ignore level design. Rather, it provides a canvas to allow some of the cleanest and engaging tactical action that we've seen in quite some time play out.
Bad North is, broadly speaking, a hard game to recommend even if I came out the other side enjoying it. The style and thoughtful minimalist reworking of the real-time strategy game is exemplary, but the unrelenting back half of the roguelike adventure can sour a good time. I can wholeheartedly recommend Bad North if you fall into either of these camps: someone who's into a novel RTS twist on the good old-fashioned hard-as-hell roguelike or someone who can chill out to a brutal yet serene RTS that has some rough edges.
Bad North, however, continually keeps you coming back for more as its beautifully simple designs and gameplay features make it so easy and accessible. It’s perfect for a quick game here and there.
Throughout my 10 or so hours of gameplay, I can definitely say that Bad North has a lot to offer, especially for its price point, though I feel like $10 would be the sweet spot as opposed to the $15 it asks for. With endless amounts of different islands to play with, a simplistically pleasant art style and easy to learn controls, even a RTS stranger like me can find things about Bad North to enjoy. Plus they have an extra edition of the game out right now (The Jotunn edition) that has more stuff added, so if you’re looking for an easy to pick up, hard to master RTS with a medieval flair to it, this would be a good option to consider. Turns out, Bad North isn’t that bad.