Dire Wolf Digital has done an amazing job adapting Leder Games’ award-winning asymmetric game. The digital version is by far one of the best ways to learn how to play the physical board game. The tutorial scenarios are well thought out and cover the basics as well as some light strategy for any newcomer or a rules refresher for any veteran of the physical version.
The Switch version utilizes the controller in a way that feels natural. You can zoom in/out of the game board using the ZL/ZR buttons and highlight your cards and actions using the control stick. Highlighting is extremely helpful, especially when choosing which opponent to battle. I’ve made many mistakes on my Android version by touching the wrong faction and initiating a battle I didn’t mean to.
Alternatively, the Switch’s touchscreen can be used to play the entire game, sans controller. This is a nice touch that I wish more Switch titles had.
The animation is great and brings to life Kyle Ferrin’s original game artwork. It look sgreat on both handheld modes and on the big screen!
I love that Dire Wolf Digital has included a crossplay/cross save feature across each edition of this game. Although it does require an account to use. The Friends List is helpful, though I wish I could utilize/access the Nintendo Switch friends feature as well.
There are a few negatives with the Switch edition:
Most glaring is the omission of the chat feature. I realize this is probably more to do with the Nintendo eShop rules, the chat feature is something I would consider to be essential to the game. Much of the strategy revolves around making alliances and deals with others around the board and that entire aspect is lost on the Switch version. On the other apps, it is text only which is already a bit of a hindrance but it does work. With crossplay, there is a good chance you will be playing against people who are using the chat function, but you will not be able to even see it.
As someone who already owns the game and expansions on both Steam and Android, I wish I could’ve bought a complete version on Switch that had both expansions included. While I can log in with my Dire Wolf Digital account and sync my progress on the challenges, I cannot access the ones that have the expansion content until I purchase it. Would have been nice to just include The Riverfolk and Clockwork Expansions into the base Switch version.
I would consider The Riverfolk Expansion a must for this game. It adds 3 new vagabond variations and two new factions – The Lizard Cult and The Riverfolk Company. But for the $9.99 price tag, it’s hard to recommend on Switch because of the absence of the chat. It severely hampers the Riverfolk Company (the otters) the most as their scoring relies heavily on selling their cards, mercenaries, and riverboat services.
There are also a few slight formatting issues, where the text will display over all of the layout, but I anticipate that is something that will be fixed soon.
Overall, the Switch version of Root – Digital is fun, exciting, and portable! It’s a great way to play Root on a trip with the pass and play option, online play, or try your hand at some unique scenarios in challenges. It is available now on the Nintendo eShop, as well as the App Store, Google Play, and Steam. You can also check out the physical edition from Leder Games.
The Nintendo Switch Verstion of Root – Digital is a 9 out of 10 stars!
Kyle Dodson is a writer, comedian, Rock Solid Podcast producer, Batman aficionado, facial hair connoisseur, and oxford comma supporter.