I’ve never been a huge fan of paying attention to history, I’m more the sort of person to look forward and imagine what the world will be like in years to come. So step forward Civilisation VI on Nintendo Switch, which in many ways is the perfect game for me because not only does it give me a history lesson but it also allows me to continue to look to the future, plus it’s bloody addictive too.
If you’ve never played a Civ game before then what you are missing out on is one of the best strategy games around. The whole premise is to take control of a leader from history and build your civilisation. You’ll start off on a barren, unexplored land, before building your first city and then expanding far and wide, all while trying to beat others to the punch when it comes to developing new technologies such as farming, arms, electricity, nuclear weapons, social media and more.
Of course, there will also be conflicts and alliances formed along the way, so not only are you trying to fend off war but trying to be diplomatic too, all while still trying to one-up everyone else at the same time.
Fitting Civilization VI on to the Switch is no mean feat, but it turns out that this is a wonderful way to play. When I play this game on PC I can never pull myself away and now that’s even more the case. Wherever you go you can take the Switch, so the only thing that stops me from playing is when it runs out of battery, which has happened on at least a few occasions when I’ve been playing in handheld mode.
The developer seems to have done a wonderful job of the Switch port. All of the text is easily readable, while you can zoom in to each of your units or cities to see the action close up. Controls are a mixture of both JoyCons and also touch controls and it’s pretty intuitive, especially if you have played a Civilization game before. There are a few small issues, such as pop up boxes occasionally getting in the way of the action, while the screen can judder slightly when you are scrolling across your regions, although to be honest this isn’t too noticeable, or it wasn’t for me at least.
If you are new to the game then you will be able to make use of the included tutorial mode, while there is also an advisor on hand to guide you through some of the more complex parts of the game. Given that games can often last 500 turns, the developer has also thrown in a Scenario Mode where you must rush to expand your empire as ‘Alexander the Great’, while other scenarios are also available giving you the option to jump in and finish the game at a much faster pace, which is ideal for on the go play.
Of course, if you are anything like me you’ll be hooked on the main mode, starting on a plain piece of land, before expanding your empire in a race to the finish. The ‘L’ and ‘R’ shoulder buttons are useful here, giving access to the menus for tech and civics trees, which in turn helps you set your government policies, research tech and interact with other leaders, be that to trade, declare war, make peace or just invite them over for a cup of tea.
Speaking of leaders, they’ll occasionally pop up to tell you what they think of you, looking great in all their animated glory.
The action during the game is pretty seamless. Combat is turn-based and takes place before your eyes, so whether you are invading cities or taking part in some ship to ship combat you’ll get an idea of how the fight is going, allowing you to send some reinforcements in that direction if need be. When it comes to building cities the same applies, with everything you create sprawling up before your eyes, be that builders creating farms, settlers forming new cities or even you, as ruler of these lands, creating new units such as ships, wonders or many of the other things you can build to ensure your empire stays ahead of the pack.
When it comes to the presentation on Nintendo Switch Handheld mode for Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, the developer seems to have done a brilliant job, although it’s probably audio which stands out most, almost inspiring you to be the best leader you can be. The music is constantly there in the background and is different depending on which period you are in. Of course, the game looks fantastic on the big screen too, but there’s just something special about being able to play a game this fun in your hands.
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is a fantastic addition to the Nintendo Switch library. It brings one of the best games on PC to Nintendo’s handheld with little compromise. Sure there’s no online multiplayer and the Rise and Fall expansion is missing, but everything else about the core game is present and correct, especially in that it’s as addictive as ever, in fact probably even more so.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*