The Civilization series has a strong legacy of high quality strategy titles dating back to 1991. Along this journey 2K have been proactive in exploring platforms outside the most logical PC setup, seeing releases hit consoles and handheld devices with Civ Revolution in 2008 offering a 4X experience more tailored to the controls available on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. With the most recent title in the series making the jump to consoles 2 years since glowing reviews on the PC it is extremely satisfying to see a fully fledged port with only one slightly baffling grievance.
Aspyr also have a legacy with the series, having ported the titles to Linux, Mac and mobile platforms for many years now to great success. Previously the Revolution series had been ported to Nintendo DS and Playstation Vita with the platforms limitations impacting the play experience to varying degrees. With Civilization VI, Aspyr have been given the time to port across to iOS devices with a focus on retaining a fully featured experience, delivering amazing results with the large step down in hardware capability. This port made the move onto Switch a no brainer decision once it became evident the Switch would continue to fly off shelves, especially with a clear lack of competition in the 4X genre on the device.
If you are looking for the full Civ experience on your Switch you are in luck, Aspyr have once again knocked it out of the park with a great playing port that plays surprisingly very well even deep into a game. Camera movement feels smooth without massive frame rate drops and load times are in the ball park of what you would expect. Being able to play in handheld mode for 2 or 3 hours at a time is quite impressive, something I had been wishing for since the days of Revolution 2 on the Vita. Controls options are smart and fluid, further improving implementations seen on Vita and most recently iOS, having the option of touch screen along with the usual sticks and buttons always leaves you feeling in control. The UI is quite large in handheld mode, practicality over field of vision, but it melds into the background fairly quickly once you start racking up turns.
The biggest, strangest omission is multiplayer, with only local battles playable. Considering Nintendo Switch Online is up and running it’s an odd choice to forego this feature which would bolster discussion surrounding the title into the future. Most bizarre is hotseat play being missing in action. One of the big marketing strategies for the Switch was the idea of playing as a group on the one device. Having a running office game of Civ on standby for lunch breaks would’ve been a great sales point, I can only hope 2K and Aspyr were waiting for the Online service to move passed any teething issues and will come back to these features in a later update as they would make the Switch version of the game an almost perfect thumbs up for fans of the series. The first expansion pack, which was released this year on PC, is also absent but the minor DLC packs are thankfully included rather than in the store for sale.
THE NINTENDO SWITCH VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW. A DIGITAL REVIEW CODE WAS PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER.
It's Civilzation on Nintendo Switch in all its glory. It's full featured, plays great with the Switch control schemes and is addictive as ever.