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 is an RTS that will surprise us by how simple and addictive it is, ideal for fast games, but that involves a difficulty with its roguelike elements and its permanent death. If you like RTS, it is mandatory to try it, and if you want to approach the genre in a simple and simple but effective way, Bad North will also give you the opportunity.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
Bad North is a fantastic pick up and play strategy game (a genre I’m usually terrible with). With difficulties to suit most gamers. Simple controls and tons of replay value. This is a game I’ve returned to again and again. I can’t guarantee playing this game will prepare you for an actual Viking invasion. But I can assure you there is plenty to love whether you want a quick gaming session or a long night in defending from invaders. Once your done with that you may also want to play a bit of Bad North.