One of the games that will say goodbye to Xbox Game Pass on September 30th is Bad North: Jotunn Edition, the most complete and polished edition of that rarity by Plausible Concept that surprised in its debut of the Nintendo Switch eShop for the month of August 2018, coming out shortly after in the rest of the systems.
I do not remember when I tried it on PC (it was a gift in the Epic Games Store at the end of 2019), but a few days ago I wanted to remember it from Xbox One to see how far I could go this time without destroying my houses and see how well it defends itself with the controller. And the truth is that nothing bad.
Minimalist strategy, frankly original
It should be clarified, first of all, that the PC version already had optional control by command, but of those I chose the mouse, as it is very comfortable for a real-time strategy game: by clicking on the left we select, with the right we move the troops and if we keep the left we move the camera, leaving the mouse wheel for zooming.
Bad North had a peculiarity in its proposal, since despite offering battles in real time, when we are going to give orders to our squadron separately, time slows down a lot to give us time to perform properly (and above all, accurately) each action. And this, in advanced sections of the campaign, becomes indispensable, as we have to control the flanks of each island.
The objective could not be simpler, in appearance: to defend the houses from the Viking assault with a maximum of four troops. And defending those houses was of vital importance, since they gave us money by securing the island, being able to use the coins to upgrade our soldiers. As stone, paper or scissors, we could specialize them (with money) in three different classes (Infantry, Lancers and Archers), each with a weight advantage over one of those three.
Logically, everything was getting more and more complicated, after all, it had a roguelike spirit that gave it a lethal randomness as we went into the immensity of the ocean, trying to select the island most in accordance with our needs with the few clues that the game released by means of icons. And trying to amortize, in more advanced sections, our equipment, to make the most of the only turn we had in relation to the number of units (troops) remaining. Because these, in addition, could die.
Bad North, an indie that deserved more fortune
Fortunately, through the Holy Grail, we could reverse that permanent death in one of the troops, but that kind of objects were of limited use and the important thing was to watch over the health of each commander in the middle of the battle, to cure them by entering the houses. That and taking due advantage of the unique ability of each class.
With command I was pleasantly surprised, on the other hand. While the standard layout has not convinced me, having to navigate between the bumpers, I have found the option of selecting the digital crosshead as a direct shortcut for each troop much more practical. When we memorize the position of each commander in the command, it becomes very natural to move around.
I still find it a very frenetic game, despite its deceptive appearance, partly because of that minimalist proposal with battles only on tiny islands, which again proves that not everything is invented within the roguelike. A genre in itself that does not stop pecking at other styles. The pity is that they are going to remove it now from the Xbox Game Pass and it doesn’t have a discount in the store, because I was starting to get fond of my commanders with special features, one of the novelties introduced by the Jotunn edition, with a codex from which you can also consult all the objects and improvements of each class. Apart from a harder enemy, mines and so on. Yes, it is still recommended.