While Elon Musk has certainly become a more controversial figure these days, that shouldn’t dissuade you from checking out the Switch port of The Battle of Polytopia. You aren’t going to find anything particularly groundbreaking about the game, but you will find fun, if you can squint over some of its more problematic elements.
The Battle of Polytopia places you in charge of one of sixteen factions all vying for control over the world known in-game as the Square. Be warned, however, four of the sixteen are free of charge. If you find that one of the other tribes strikes your fancy, you’ll need to enter the world of micro-transactions.
I realize that this is starting to sound repetitive, but plot is hardly integral to The Battle of Polytopia. Polytopia is a 4X strategy game, so really, it’s just about the four X’s: explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate. As such, The Battle of Polytopia does just what it says on the tin.
Editor’s Note: Enjoy our previous review of The Battle of Polytopia on the Steam platform.
The Battle of Polytopia offers randomly generated maps, so you’ll never play the same game twice. As with all 4X games, you’ll need to pay close attention to the terrain types because that will determine what your tech tree will look like and how you position yourself. Remember, you are going to have to defend your territory.
Expect your game to last around 30-ish rounds. That gives you a fairly sizeable amount of time both to explore as mentioned above but also to expand your holdings while building in just enough of a time limit to force you to consider your decisions carefully. Remember, you’re building an empire here. Polytopia does offer a creative mode in which you can take over a huge map, for those players looking to scratch a completionist itch.
As expected, you’ll take the resources you discovered while exploring and use those to build settlements that extend your influence. Every time you move up a level, the game will offer you a choice of two different buffs. What’s nice is that there’s not really a wrong choice you can make here, depending on your playing style. I’ve experienced more than my fair share of analysis paralysis, but I found the choice easy to make.
When I say that you’ll take resources, boy, howdy do I mean it. Most of these games don’t seem to have a concept of sustainability built into them. You go and cut down your trees to build your homes, and there’s rarely a mechanic in which you plant trees to keep that resource in supply. Polytopia doesn’t either. The game takes a simplified approach to creating supply lines. Everything you need, you acquire with stars, but the stars are resources that you must extract from your surroundings. That said, your only real challenge is to unlock research functions that will make that extraction easier.
Ah, exterminate. Here’s where Polytopia gets interesting. There is a healthy amount of combat required, but there are no surprises in terms of how it’s structured. The units are well balanced and versatile, so much so that there’s nothing that isn’t useful. The super units are also powerful but competitive, and seemingly, no one faction comes out entirely ahead of every other. Your research and technology tree will be key here because your terrain will influence which unit is a better choice and when. However, Polytopia doesn’t require that you have a long-term strategy going into it because by the later levels, you’ll have unlocked everything you’ll need anyway. The game doesn’t penalize you, therefore, for making a less than stellar selection early during gameplay.
In fact, Polytopia doesn’t really penalize you for much. The title is therefore geared towards providing players with the 4X experience without offering a lot of the same roadblocks that more traditional entries in the genre do. It’s nice not to have to worry about whether a single choice will doom your empire. Battle of Polytopia is a game that’s about playing for fun without being overly taxing. As such, it’s a great title to pick up when you wish, possibly even in your Tesla.
Stray Thoughts From Behind the Keyboard
- Yeah, the tribes are caricatures, so be aware of that when you go to play.
- The art style is super charming.
- One word: battleships. You wouldn’t think they’d be as fun as they are, but man.
- Solid Switch port, which given the nature of the game and graphics, isn’t surprising.