When your father, the King, dies, it falls to you to lead your people against pillaging Viking hordes.

An island-hopping strategy game from developers Plausible Concept, Bad North’s design emphasizes minimalism. Starting with two squads of ordinary Militia units, players guide their armies in defense of islands in their kingdom, earning gold for saving buildings and new items and squads for saving islands from multiple waves of Vikings. Gold can be used to develop Militia into versatile Infantry, tactical Archers, and defensive Pikemen, and their increased power and the player’s brilliant tactics will be needed as they travel deeper and deeper into their kingdom, facing larger and larger Viking hordes. When they are inevitably overcome, they must begin their campaign with a new army on new islands, which are never the same twice. Bad North got a surprise release on Switch this week to kick off Gamescom 2018, and it’s a smart and efficient strategy game which feels better to play with the touchscreen than a gamepad. This accounts for Andrew’s (@playcritically) initial struggles in his first campaign, which you can watch the first hour of below.