Dev: League of Geeks
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
Armello is an extremely charming board game port that stays pretty loyal to its source while providing gorgeous visuals to take you through each hour-long (or so) session and really bring the details of the game to life. The game plays out like a mash-up of Civilization and Magic: The Gathering lite, stitched together by a loose narrative that works really well for this approach.
As I mentioned, each session is about an hour long but every time you play, you get a randomly generated map which changes the dynamic of the game drastically between each session. In single-player mode, you will take control of a chooseable character and face off against 3 randomly chosen AI characters, competing to be the first to overthrow a tyrannical king. Each character comes with a unique ability and stat set, each suited for one of four different paths to victory. The game was surprisingly and satisfyingly different with each session I attempted, which kept me coming back for more even when I (more often than not) got my butt handed to me.
The graphics are great to look at but look admittedly more impressive on the smaller handheld screen than on my 52 inch TV. The fantasy world full of adorable anthropomorphic (and brutally violent) animal characters feels great to explore and the art style of the board game is carried over with great respect. Sound-wise, the music is pleasant and sound FX never felt too awkward. That being said, nothing jumped out at me as particularly impressive either.
Perhaps this game’s biggest drawback is its pacing. Waiting for 3 other turns plus the king’s action can feel like a drag, despite being able to play certain cards at any time and a barely noticeable “quick turn” option. This is where the handheld switch console shines. Its great to be able to put it down after a turn and pick it up at your leisure to play your next turn. This is a great game for that switch owner on the go (gamer dads check this one out for sure)!
Overall, I have really enjoyed my time with Armello and I plan to keep it installed and pick it up when I need a quick casual gaming fix. It feels like a well thought out strategic card based rpg but you can play the whole thing in less than an hour and take your time with it. If that’s the kind of thing you might enjoy, I highly recommend getting your hands on Armello for the NIntendo Switch!