The Kingdom Rush series is no stranger to the Switch, though it’s certainly more popular on mobile devices. Kingdom Rush Origins follows the footsteps of its predecessors, delivering straightforward, accessible tower-defence gameplay with pleasant visuals to boot. It’s surprisingly engaging once you get to grips with the mechanics, but whether you pick this up on Switch as opposed to your mobile device is ultimately dependent on your overall affinity with the genre.
Taking place in a high-fantasy setting, you control a legion of warriors defending their kingdom against the brutish Gnolls. The gameplay cycle is fairly simplistic; you spend coins to build towers at designated points on the map. As you take out enemies, more coins will be added to your stash, allowing you to build more towers and upgrade your current builds. It’s so easy to get to grips with, and with both the touch screen and face buttons available as input options, it’s a really intuitive game to pick up.
The towers themselves come in various forms, and where you place these on the map can turn the tide of the battle. The archers are really good for picking off smaller enemies from a distance, and the boulder-throwing tower is great for damaging bigger, more resilient enemies. Each tower can be upgraded numerous times, adding more troops or bolstering their overall attack power. In between battles, you can also spend points to apply permanent upgrades, making later levels more manageable.
You also have your own hero to deploy amongst your regular troops. You can command these characters to move towards any point on the map, adding a mild element of real-time strategy to the game; we often found that leaving them as the last line of defence against more powerful enemies to be the best use of their skills. You also have the ability to unleash special attacks against enemies, which can change depending on which hero you’re using. These can get you out of sticky situations, but their cool-down can often leave you vulnerable if you’re not careful.
Kingdom Rush Origins does a lot right, but it’s also got one major flaw that sours the experience. The gameplay is really slow overall; there are frequent moments where you’ll just be staring at the screen for extended periods of time, waiting for the enemies to waddle their way across the screen. It’s only until you get to the later waves of enemies that the flow of gameplay starts to pick up a bit. It’s a lumbering experience, and we reckon shorter, more intensive levels would be extremely beneficial.