Wingspan flies from the board to the console with a surprisingly good adaptation of their proposed card game in which we manage a nature reserve of birds.
After a couple of months available on Steam , Wingspan comes to Nintendo Switch with the responsibility of being the adaptation of an adaptation: originally this game was born for board and table , but Stonemaier Games, its original distributors, decided to seek help at the Monster Couch studio to make it a digital experience . Thanks to this collaboration we can now enjoy this card strategy title in which our objective will be to attract birds to our nature reserve .
With our deck of cards full of birds of all kinds have to be developing a nature reserve in turn and compete with other opponents in games where they can participate from one person to profiles fives, both controlled by the artificial intelligence of Wingspan as other humans in local or online multiplayer . There is also a game mode, Automa, more focused on solo games. A string of options that is multiplied when we discover the variety of games that we can execute in Wingspan through its possible strategies.
It is a beautiful game, and that is, perhaps, what is most striking.
A convoluted game of birds
But first, let’s start at the beginning: Wingspan is a board game and as such its adaptation to the virtual environment is not easy to achieve . The deep systems of this type of proposal sometimes fit better with the usual schemes of the video game, but at other times the adaptation is so crude that it is hardly worth it. In this case, the board game has been redesigned with panache, but also keeping the due similarities with the original; This means that although it is a game that engages and convinces as we play new games, it cannot help being somewhat obtuse in the early stages .
Although Wingspan tries, getting into their systems is far from easy or intuitive : their tutorial, an important part of the game, is too guided for a player not to lose interest in the middle. He has many things to explain and it is understandable that he wants to do it in the most exhaustive way possible, but it requires willpower and patience on the part of the person in charge because, during the explanation, he practically ceases to be so and only follows the character’s footsteps that acts as a guide.
You can activate the help at any time to explain what you are seeing on the screen.
Going through the tutorial is a must , although not mandatory, especially if you have never heard of this game and have not tried its board version; Even if you have, it is also advisable to take a walk through the test game because Wingspan has redistributed all processes, actions and menus in a very specific way . So much so that there is quick access – by pressing the right joystick on Switch – to some indications that explain what each part of the interface that we see on the screen corresponds to. This can be activated at any time and will help us remember some basic premises.
The truth is that the general management of Wingspan , of our actions and decisions, and the movement through the menu,It ends up being more natural than it seems at first : the Switch buttons each have their function, very specific, and that is strange in these times, where a virtual pointer controlled by a joystick is placed and to play. It is appreciated that the interface has been translated with such care to the console controls, although at first it takes a little to adapt.
Challenge and calm in the same game
It will take a while until we have gotten used to moving around the Wingspan screen , and even so when we do, we still will not have learned to play: understanding the rules of this game is the most basic part of its proposal, since then it comes control of the strategies that will make us gain an advantage in the game . The Wingspan scenario is divided into three habitats and each of them will allow us to do a specific action, although we can only do one in each turn: play birds, lay eggs, get food, draw cards …
At the end of each game, each player’s points are automatically counted.
Without wanting to go too deep into your systems, to get points in Wingspan it is necessary to pay attention to a good number of variables that at first can be even overwhelming, but later they reveal themselves as a range of possibilities in which to choose with calm provided by not having time limits . We can play slowly, developing strategies that suit us well without even worrying about our rivals, whose fields we do not have to visit.
There is a curious balance here between the most complex challenge and the most peaceful calm; while we play we can propose strategies that focus on getting feathers , which are points that are counted at the end of the games, or on overcoming the random challenges that arise in each round. But we do everything calmly: there is no hectic game, there is no rush or obsession to win. The reserve is filling with birds with all the calm that we can expect from an environment like this. Perhaps, and to put a but, there is a certain slowness in the way in which the AI plays , which is slower than expected and slows down the pace of the game a bit, no matter how slow it should be.
You can choose how many players you want for each game and the difficulty of the AI.
Neither are the multiplayer modes well designed , especially the local one on Switch, since its control scheme remains rigid, preventing it from being played with the Joy-Con in horizontal format . That takes away a plus that could have come in handy, especially in these times: it could be a good title to spend the occasional afternoon with friends at home, as an alternative to the board game, but force to share the command and passing it from hand to hand, something that not only affects comfort, but also the social distancing so present in our days.
The best of Wingspan : from the master moves to its beautiful graphics
The best of Wingspan comes when we begin to see clearly some of our strategies that the game puts us to egg. Each bird has a power that is activated at a specific time, depending on the ability, and we can take advantage of that to enhance the actions of each habitat . It is a constant give and take of resources that forces you to establish a new deck in each new game and stick to a strategy from the beginning, although it also allows you to modify the course of your plan depending on what cards are coming out or how they are going. playing your rivals.
Apart from that, of course, one of its most successful facets is aesthetics: both visually, with magnificent illustrations of birds that earn integers when they move, and at a didactic level, with curious facts about the birds that we are playing , Entering Wingspan is surprisingly interesting even if it is your first contact with ornithology. Nor is it an educational game, but it is true that it treats avian knowledge with respect and gives a pedagogical touch to each game. In addition, the game extras allow us to rejoice a little more in each bird, also enjoying, again, its beautiful design.
Winsgpan has an extra that gives us more information about the birds that we have played in the games.
I have to admit that the first time I faced Winsgpan, I did so with prejudices based on two things: my little interest in birds and the constant doubt that a board game can be adapted to the virtual environment without making sacrifices that hurt the experience. That, added to its obtuse opening bars, did not help me to quickly become attached to this peculiar game. However, based on patience, Wingspan unfolds its wings to show you its best and most plastered feathers . It is then that I did discover that whoever approaches this bird calmly will be able to enjoy an experience like few others: a mild challenge, with a well-designed deep difficulty and a spectacular graphic section.