I’ve been a fan of strategy games for a very long time. I’m also a graphic designer and have a sweet spot for great art and beautifully crafted experiences. When I first heard about and saw the first concepts for Bad North, I just had to check it out.
Bad North takes place in a Norse inspired universe. Your goal is to explore as many islands as possible; find new allies and powerful artefacts as you defend the land from the vicious attacks of incoming barbarians.
As straightforward as this sounds, there’s a lot more to Bad North than meets the eye. The seemingly simple and endearingly looking game unpacks its complex tactical mechanics as you progress in the game.
You start off with two parties composed of a specific number of units. Parties have the ability to move around the islands without many restrictions, but so do enemies. Choosing your path and unit placement around the islands becomes extremely important if you want to mount a successful defense.
Basic units can acquire one of three specializations: Pikemen, Knight and Archer. Each one of these comes with stats and equipment as well as with upgradeable special abilities, adding a layer of unit composition to the game. Upgrades can be bought by defending islands and collecting gold from each of the buildings. If the enemy destroys one of these buildings, you’ll lose the chance to profit from it.
Specializations are important as you’ll be facing different enemy units that can be weak or strong against some of your specialized units.
An island’s terrain and surface can be used to your advantage during engagements. But time is of the escence and reacting timely to incoming enemies is important as it will take time for your units to move from point A to point B. There are building structures in every island which you can use to heal the parties that have suffered losses.
But beware, parties are innactive during this process and you can face the situation of falling a few men short during a battle if you decide to heal at the wrong time.
Weather also plays a role in range and effectiveness of archers. Windy environments, for example, can affect the reach of a shot if your archers are placed in the wrong location.
Items can be found after defending an island and can aid you in battle by calling in reinforcements and boosting your fighting capabilities. Each party can carry one item. Items are also subject to upgrading.
Bad North is an unforgiving game. Once all of your parties die, your journey starts all over again.
But don’t lose hope just yet! Fleeing the island is an option. You can use the enemie’s boats to evacuate your most battered parties to save them from death. Abandoning the island all together, however, comes at the cost of not receiving any gold.
Additional parties can be found when you aid islands against incoming enemy attacks. But gold is scarce in this hostile word so choose your upgrades wisely.
All in all, my hype for this game was met with more than what I expected. This title by developer Plausible Concept mixes tactics, real-time strategy and tower defense elements into a seamless gaming experience. If you’re into all things strategy games, make sure to grab this title. Bad North is now available on Steam and is purchaseable in all major consoles.
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