Publisher: Forever Entertainment
Platform: Switch (reviewed), Android, iOS, Linux, Mac PC
Release Date: 30/8/18
Price: £22.49 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this game
What the developers say
Lead any country in the world to global domination in various game scenarios.
Shape your country’s political system and determine its relations with other nations.
Deal with internal and external affairs and face threats from natural disasters, terrorism, financial crises and more.
Make use of common political instruments in your international relations, including spy tactics and espionage to directly influence other nations’ internal affairs.
Take the moral and ethical high road in your dealings with others, or not…
High replay value ensured by a broad decision tree in all matters, as well as diverse mini-scenarios and random events.
New Power injects fresh content and realism into the world of Realpolitiks. A mini-scenario featuring an actual nuclear threat, Non-Governmental Organizations that try to influence politics and new features for creating larger territorial units are all highlights of this DLC.
Politics can be a divisive subject, so it’s easy to see why there are very few political sim games. Realpolitiks aims to plug this gap in the market with a grand strategy style simulation game focused on modern politics. First released on PC in March it’s now made its way to the Switch via mobile platforms, but how has it fared in the transition?
Looks & Sounds
Grand strategy games are often not particularly exciting graphically (except for Stellaris), and in that vein, Realpolitiks isn’t anything to write home about either. The majority of the time you spend looking at maps or menus, although I have to say that I felt the interface design left a lot to be desired. I’ll talk more about this later when we get to the gameplay, but for now, let’s say that the graphics are okay. There’s some good design work in the loading screens which portray current political figures as caricatures, but none of that came over into the actual game.
The sound is much the same, and nothing stuck out to me at all. After the first hour or so with the game I started playing it muted so that I could listen to my music. It’s not bad, but it isn’t good either.
Gameplay & Replayability
I was quite conflicted before writing this review as to what to say here regarding the gameplay in Realpolitiks. On one hand it’s really impressive that they managed to squeeze a grand strategy game onto the Switch. The game runs very well and only stuttered once in all my time with it.
Unfortunately, Realpolitiks is let down in a few areas that made my time with the game not very enjoyable. The main one for me is that the control scheme is terrible. Opening one contextual menu requires you to click in the left stick, which also controls your virtual mouse cursor, so of course, you often end up moving the cursor when trying to click. It’s insane that this was chosen when there are SO many buttons on the Switch controllers. The game has touch controls, which I used a few times, but found the writing on the screen very hard to read when I did so.
Also as I mentioned above, this is a virtual mouse cursor game, which honestly I feel reserves it a special seat in hell. I’m of the opinion that if your game requires a mouse input, it should only be on a system which supports that. Most strategy games on the console end up being redesigned to reflect the different control input, and I think that would have benefitted Realpolitiks.
In terms of replayability, if you enjoy this game, there’s a lot to play. I tried out several of their scenarios and completed a couple of games and would particularly recommend the one set after a nuclear war where you’re forced to build back up after the fall of civilisation.
I will say that your mileage with this game may vary based on how politically active and knowledgeable you are. I tend to keep up with the news, and I understand a lot of political nuances, but if you are the sort of person who is entirely disinterested, you might not get on with this at all. The tutorial for the game is quite poor, so I found myself looking to Reddit and other sources when I had questions about what to do.
This is a game that is extremely tough to recommend. On the one hand, it is technically impressive that the Developers squeezed grand strategy to a portable console, but I think they could have done a lot more to make the transition work. If you’re interested in politics and like the concept of this game, I would expect that the PC version will be the way to go.
You can purchase Realpolitiks on the Nintendo eShop at the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Realpolitiks-1425377.html