Gordian Quest Switch Early Impressions: Cards In Your Hand

Anyone who has read the game’s description will know Gordian Quest is a grab bag of ideas. You have your classic D&D elements, gameplay reminiscent of Darkest Dungeon’s battle lines, and exploration akin to The Banner Saga‘s — with card mechanics thrown in for good measure. There is a lot to juggle there, and in bringing this conceived-for-PC title to Switch, the developers have once again managed to keep everything in the air.

I’m still early in the game’s story, and though I’ve played enough to feel assured the gameplay is sound, I’m less certain of the narrative. The opening rushes me into a tutorial then to a land threaten by supernatual foes. Before jumping into act one, I did get to pick my leading character from a list boasting everything from a knightly warrior to a instrument-wielding bard. I settled on Ida the druid, draped in daggers.

And while the choices offer something exciting for all types of players, I have yet to feel connected to any one of the possible protagonists. The narrative unfolds in bursts of actionable objectives — people to talk to, battles to fight. Combat is easy to pick up and there are a few facets — like synergetic movesets — that throw in an element of strategy. It’s not overly taxing at this point of the game, but might become more complex further down the line.

However, the characters never get a moment to build a bond with the player early on. No backstory cutscene, no meaningful monologue, which makes it tough to care when they take a beating in a battle. Fighting, upgrading skills, and gaining loot are so far the compelling element to the game. Though, these are all pretty compelling.

Like many games first envisioned for PC, the title’s myriad of menus and button inputs must have made designing a Switch version difficult for the team. And while I noted the PC-leaning design, the Switch experience is sound. The devs found clever ways to integrate shortcuts and add easy access to everything the player might want.

Gordian Quest‘s Switch debut hit its mark. Anyone who was waiting for the game to make its way onto the portable console can now take their first steps into the adventure, as the game is out on the Nintendo console today.

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