Score: 9/10 | STRATEGY | CASUAL | TURN-BASED
“The casualness of Civilization VI is perfect for a console like the Nintendo Switch to pick up and play from anywhere. However, the word casual should be taken with a grain of salt.”
Strategy games have always brought me a mixture of satisfaction and stress, but usually more stress than anything. My experience with Sid Meier’s Civilization VI however was far from stressful. Not only was it a relaxing way to kill a few hours but it ended up becoming an addiction. No matter what I had on my to-do list I was constantly telling myself “One more turn” one too many times. With its recent release on the Nintendo Switch, conquering as the most powerful civilization is literally in the palms of your hands.
As somewhat of a virgin to Civilization, only dabbling in the 2nd game 20 odd years ago, I had a vague idea of what to expect. For those who are unaware of Sid Meier’s marvelous creation, Civilization VI is a turn based strategy game by game developer Firaxis Games originally released back in 2016. Playing out similar to a large-scale board game, your role as a powerful leader is to explore, command and grow your civilization to reign supreme over all others in the land. All in 500 turns or less. It doesn’t follow any sort of story campaign either so the casualness of Civilization VI is perfect for a console like the Nintendo Switch to pick up and play from anywhere. However, the word casual should be taken with a grain of salt.
Becoming the greatest civilization comes with a large learning curve. It became obvious early on that upgrading buildings and training different units weren’t the only things that were going to make me supreme ruler. In the first hundred turns I was already juggling a well built army, ever expanding technology, government policies, science, trades, beliefs in a higher power, culture and general happiness of my citizens. And this was before I got to meet the opposing civilizations standing in my way.
As friendly as they seemed, I knew these famous powerful leaders like Cleopatra and Alexander had ulterior motives if I didn’t keep them happy. Difference in governments, religion or how I interacted with them could turn very pear shaped, very fast. Being met with a surprise war is not fun unprepared, but was probably the only time I broke a sweat.
Beyond 100 turns, my civilization started growing bigger and I started spending a lot more time making decisions. This is where “One more turn” really kicked in. I became so invested in making sure I was covering all bases of my civilization. With each turn I had a new unit to train, government policies to swap around or a new Wonder of the world to build before anyone else. As I’d reach the 300 turn mark, my eyes would gaze up at the clock in the corner of the screen in shock. After realizing that I’d already been playing for 2-3 hours, I admitted to myself that this game was going to be dangerously addictive.
However, you’re not always going to make it to 500, 400 or even 300 turns. Unsuccessfully balancing your civilization and the power you hold will end your game early. Starting out as a new player will come with a lot of trial and error. You won’t get it right every time and that’s completely OK. Personally I found fun in developing new strategies and approaching scenarios differently from previous games. I’d even mix it up with how I’d perform as a leader. Sometimes I’d be co-operative and open to making alliances, other times I’d be the greedy leader refusing to open my borders or share my wealth. Not every turn is going to be the same and makes for great unpredictable gameplay.
Unfortunately, 500 turns is too much for a full charge of the Nintendo Switch in handheld. If you know you’re not going to be near a charger, not only can you save your game, but you can also have a crack at the smaller 60 turn scenario games. These are like campaign missions that have you completing a specific objective to win. The Nintendo Switch version features all the scenarios from the original release and its DLC’s, including a non-combat scenario that has you exploring Australia.
In regards to how well it performed on the Nintendo Switch, it met some initial expectations. The game struggled only a little bit in handheld, mainly in the late stages of a game when I would setup trade routes and had a lot happening on the screen. It’s also a no brainer that the graphics wouldn’t meet the standards its PC version holds. They aren’t horrible although I did prefer looking upon my ever expanding civilization while the Switch was connected to my TV. Like it’s iOS version, touch screen controls have also been included. While it makes controlling some functions of the game smoother, it felt awkward trying to hold the Switch in such a way. Using the Joycons instead felt a lot more comfortable and fluid.
The main letdown with the Nintendo Switch release though is the missing support for online multiplayer that Civilization VI’s other versions include. Instead, we’re left with a local multiplayer option, meaning you and up to three other players have to be playing in the same room.
However, bringing Sid Meier’s Civilization VI to the Nintendo Switch was a smart move and is a title that should be part of every Nintendo Switch owners collection. Being able to take this game wherever you want makes it the perfect companion for something like a long commute when you need something to pass the time. And as steep as the learning curve can be, it’s easy to pick up on all it’s different mechanics and won’t take you long to catch the #OneMoreTurn bug yourself.
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is available now on Nintendo Switch as well as Microsoft Windows, Mac and iOS. I’m giving it a 9 out of 10.