[Nintendo Switch] Battle Brothers Review

by EdEN, Owner

Battle Brothers from Ukiyo is a turn-based tactical RPG set in a medieval fantasy world. Learn more in our Battle Brothers review!

Battle Brothers from Ukiyo Publishing is a turn-based tactical RPG set in a medieval fantasy world in which you’ll be leading a group of mercenaries towards fortune and glory. As you travel through the map of the particular seed you get, you’ll be able to take on contracts that will reward your efforts, visit towns to rest, resupply and hire more men to your group, locate spots that you might be able to loot or end up in a battle against a hostile party, which is when the game switches into the turn-based side of things.

During your time with Battle Brothers, however short or long it might be, you will be taking on a procedurally generated campaign that will test your abilities every step of the way, even at the lowest difficulty setting! Speaking of difficulty, before you jump into action, you can pick between the Beginner, Veteran, or Expert difficulties, and can even mix and match these three settings for the economic difficulty and the combat difficulty, as well as select how many funds you start with. And if you think you have what it takes to conquer Battle Brothers, you can play in Ironman Mode, which disables manual saving and has the game automatically save your progress in one file and one file only. Once all members of your company die, so will your save!

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On the economic side of things, for the Beginner difficulty setting, the contracts you take on will pay more, and you’ll get a chance to carry more resources at once. Veteran is what the developers consider the standard difficulty setting. And then we have Expert, which will have contracts that pay less, and if any member of your group leaves, it will take all of its equipment as well. Combat is self-explanatory, since the higher the difficulty, the more challenging each battle will be, with more enemies to defeat, which can be troublesome. As for the starting funds, the more crowns and resources you have when you being your journey, the easier things will seem.

After a rather long initial loading sequence, while the game generates the world you’re about to explore, you will get sent into the tutorial scenario so that you can learn all of the basics, as to not send you to your own death right away… because death is already all around you! The tutorial scenario is called The Last Battle, and for a good reason, since you’re left to command the remaining members of a larger group of mercenaries who thought they knew better, only to be ambushed by the band of raiders – and its leader – who you had been hired to track down.

Each of your party members – and your opponents – will be shown as a small bust on the battlefield. Once you’ve selected a character, you can decide to move it around the area based on how much AP it has available. Moving adds to that character’s fatigue, which can end up being bad news if your opponents surround you and you’re too tired to take care of things. As each character receives damage, it will change the way it looks to reflect this so that you can tell at a glance who is gravely injured.

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Moving around the battlefield is only part of the equation since you will also need to make good use of the skills available to each character so that you can attack from a short or long-range distance, hoping to lower each of your opponent’s armor gauge so that you can deal some proper damage to lower their health and eventually land the killing blow. Succeed, and those that survive will get some experience points, as well as any loot left behind by those who were not worthy enough to defeat you.

You will need a strong and loyal group to stay alive in the world of Battle Brothers, and that won’t come cheap! You can hire new mercenaries to your cause so that you can diversify what your company can do by mixing some melee fighters, some long-range attackers, and others that can offer support when the time is right. You’re going to have to pay them upfront to hire them and then keep paying them a daily wage in order for them to work by your side. Be careful about who you hire, because if you cheap out and hire low-level men without any equipment of their own, it might end up being more expensive for you to properly outfit them than it would have been to just hire someone with a higher upkeep cost who knows what they’re doing!

You will not only need a good group of men by your side to complete the many contracts you can take on, you will also need to train them, using your gold to mold them into better fighters, buying new weapons and armor so that they can take a beating while still dishing out some proper damage. You can also buy arrows for your archers, tools, and supplies to repair weapons, armor, helmets, and shields after a battle, medical supplies to heal wounds on the world map, ground grains, and cheese to eat along the way. Do remember that food will spoil after X days have passed, so be sure to visit a town to resupply as needed.

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Something interesting is that you get a chance to select what the game refers to as a Late Game crisis. What this means is that at some point later in the campaign – after around 70-80 days have passed in your campaign – a particular crisis will start. You can leave this either set to random or pick between one of four crises with the added element of being able to choose if cities, towns, and castles can be permanently destroyed during one of these crises, which will certainly change your odds of survival!

As for the crises, you can pick between Nobles at War – a ruthless war for power between noble houses -, Greenskin Invasion – during which greenskin hordes will try to destroy the world of man -, Undead Scourge, which will see the ancient dead rise to take back the land -, or Holy war, which will pit the northern and southern cultures in a fight to the death. Depending on how good you are, you can survive a crisis, but this only means that a new one will be selected at random by the game after enough days have passed.

Battle Brothers is an addictive turn-based tactical RPG that you’re either going to love or hate. It offers a ton of customization options, a considerable challenge – even at the lowest difficulty setting – and lots of stuff to manage and balance – food, weapons, armor, and equipment, training your group of men, keeping them happy, paying their daily wage, completing contracts to earn a living, surviving the deadly crisis (or crises) you will run into, and more – which is why this is not going to be for everyone.

Battle Brothers Review - 4

Battle Brothers is out on Nintendo Switch with a $29.99 asking price. You can get the game on its own or go all-in with the Complete Edition, which includes the base game along with the Beasts & Exploration, Warriors of the North, and Blazing Deserts DLC packs, which add new legendary locations, new lands, new opponents, crafting, new weapons and armor, new contracts and events, an arena, new banners, and even new music! The Battle Brothers Complete Edition is available for $60.98.

This Battle Brothers review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Ukiyo Publishing.

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