Wingspan review for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: Xbox One, PC, PS4
Publisher: Monster Couch
Developer: Monster Couch
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-5
Online: Yes

I?ve never played Wingspan, the board game. Apparently it?s a very popular, very well-loved tabletop board game, but honestly, I?d never heard of it going into playing this Switch port.

I wish I could say that playing the game on the Switch had turned me into a convert, and that I was here to proselytize about how wonderful it is. Really, I do. It?s a lovely game with all kinds of pretty bird pictures and a very soothing score.

But if, like me, you go into Wingspan not having played it before, chances are you?re going to find it incredibly hard to figure out what?s happening at any given moment.

The blame for this can be placed squarely on a very dense tutorial that conveys a lot of information without ever fully telling you what you?re actually doing. Like, I got that I was supposed to lay eggs and pick up food and…do something with the many bird cards you?re picking up, but it never tells you what the goal of all of it is. I had to Google it, and look outside the game, to discover that your goal is to attract as many types of birds as possible to your wildlife preserve.

Knowing that at the outset probably would?ve made everything a whole lot easier.

(Mind you, I should probably also note at this point that I am spectacularly bad at any board games that involve more strategic thinking than, say, Ticket to Ride, so my failures at this game may not entirely be attributable to a significant flaw in Wingspan?s tutoring.)

Mind you, if you can pick the game up, you should find Wingspan to be, as it promises, enjoyably relaxing. The more birds you attract, the more bird sounds you hear, until it feels like you?re listening to a forest. Couple that with a gorgeous art style that looks like Audubon come to life, and you can see why Wingspan has so many devotees.

But seriously, don?t go in expecting the game to be that easy to pick up. Wingspan on the Switch is probably great if you?ve played it before — or, at least, if you can use any of the many handy guides you can find online as a how-to guide — but if you?re a newcomer looking for a fun board game to pick up and play, this one may not be it.

Monster Couch provided us with a Wingspan Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B