The Kingdom rush the series is no stranger to the Switch, although it is certainly more popular on mobile devices. Kingdom Rush origins follows in the footsteps of its predecessors, delivering straightforward and accessible tower defense gameplay with engaging visuals to boot. It’s surprisingly engaging once you get the hang of the mechanics, but whether you choose that on Switch over your mobile device ultimately depends on your overall affinity with the genre.
Taking place in a setting of high fantasy, you control a legion of warriors defending their kingdom against the brutal Gnolls. The play cycle is quite simplistic; you spend coins to build towers at designated points on the map. As you take down enemies, more coins will be added to your stash, allowing you to build more towers and improve your current constructions. It is so easy to pick up, and with both the touchscreen and face buttons available as input options, it’s a truly intuitive game to pick up.
The towers themselves come in a variety of forms, and where you place them on the map can turn the tide of battle. Archers are really good at taking out small enemies from a distance, and the Rock Throwing Tower is great for damaging bigger, tougher enemies. Each turn can be upgraded multiple times, adding more troops or boosting their overall attack power. Between battles, you can also spend points to apply permanent buffs, making later levels more manageable.
You also have your own hero to deploy among your regular troops. You can order these characters to move to any point on the map, adding a slight element of real-time strategy to the game; we have often found that leaving them as the last line of defense against stronger enemies is the best use of their skills. You also have the option to unleash special attacks against enemies, which can change depending on which hero you are using. These can get you out of sticky situations, but recovering them can often leave you vulnerable if you’re not careful.
Kingdom Rush Origins does a lot of good, but it also has one major flaw that plagues the experience. The gameplay is really slow overall; There are frequent times when you’ll just stare at the screen for long periods of time, waiting for enemies to waddle across the screen. It’s only until you get to the last waves of enemies that the gameplay flow starts to pick up a bit. It’s a laborious experience, and we think shorter, more intensive levels would be hugely beneficial.