You had me at German folklore. Battle Brothers is a quaint experience, one that revels in its board-game aesthetic, with top-down characters that appear almost like pieces with only their heads and shoulders on display, moving from hexagon to hexagon in this tactical RPG's grim and gloomy aesthetic. Cobbled paths and luscious swamps with palm trees and insipid snakes, Battle Brothers takes you on a journey you won't want to put down.

Gameplay

It's all about war, right? So naturally, troops are important. No, they're vital. They're what makes up this 'battle' so-to-speak, and that means getting to terms with them, honing them, and directing them to paths that would better suit the team. They gain levels individually, and you improve them individually, gearing towards a role-based strategy, pushing certain soldiers into the sneaky dagger-clad assassin club, while also peer-pressuring others into being heavy tanks that, like in any good RPG, divert attention unto themselves. They either have some strong armour or a hefty amount of resilience. Either way, they take a lot of hits, and they deserve a pat on the back for it - if they haven't had too many, that is.

So, why do you have troops? That's a good question, me - you have troops because you run a mercenary company. You go from city to city, recruiting and training new meat, and that means you need precious, precious gold to fund their wages. Otherwise, they won't work. This isn't a voluntary sitch. With your merry band of sellswords, you can travel the world, visit new cities, kill orcs - what's it with every RPG and their mothers depicting the green-folk as bad? Leave 'em alone - and, as you would when you have excess gold, trade. That way, you can get better medical supplies, ammo, tools and food. Sure, you pay their wages, but you oughta feed them too.

The intricacies of running a mercenary guild feels akin to handling your brotherhood of assassins in, well, Assassin's Creed 2: Brotherhood, only amped up to ten and made the focus. It's a treat. What more, this little romp lets you customise and I am a sucker for some customisation. You can go to the barber to change their looks and give them unique names. Why not give your band of red-shirts some personality? The more grief, the merrier. As for the expansion - which was kindly provided on top of the main game for this review - it only serves to elevate this fantastic RPG experience, transforming it from a decent adventure into a full-blown treasure trove. More enemies, more challenges, more fun.

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Story / Personality

I already touched on the personality a little in the opening - I admit, I was eager to divulge my love for these cute little hunks and their iron-clad gear. Heads and shoulders, no knees and toes, a bold strategy, but one I can surely appreciate. Fields littered with corpses can get a bit cumbersome and, while it does play on that German folklore that I do so adore, the only gripe is that it somewhat divulges into its greyed out colour palette to boot. I get it - it's a grim, war experience. It's a little depressing and moody, but Skyrim sucked all the joy out of grey filters and I never looked back after cutting them out with mods.

Graphics / Art Direction

Too grey, but crisp and smooth; the only major downside is the UI and UX which feels a touch amateurish in its overt attempt to feel rustic and old-timey. The wooden board with the yellow text atop clashes while the font feels generic fantasy and uninspired. In-game, when you're not perusing the back of chopping boards with chalk scrawled across them, there's a nice pastel feel to the world that has it feeling like a painting placed on a table with some board game pieces slopped on top. To clarify, that's a good thing, and the hexagonal layout only makes it all the better. Still, the UX feels a touch cluttered and early 2000s, but there's a charm to it.

Final Score: 86%

I'll admit - I went into this expecting little. A tactical RPG that, while pretty on the exterior, I wasn't overtly optimistic about. Luckily, those expectations were immediately proven wrong, and within hours of lying in bed, starring at my Switch, wondering where the time went, I discovered a fantastic must-have. With a touch more budget and a little more polish, Battle Brothers could be a top-tier entry into its genre. For now? It's a wonderful little indie that deserves a slot in your library.

Thank you for checking out our Battle Brothers Switch review, thank you to Plan of Attack PR for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: