As a hybrid portable, home console, the Nintendo Switch will attract every type of game genre, across multiple price points. Originally invented in the late 19th century in England, the game was known by the name Reversi at the time, although the modern iteration and ruleset are recognized as Othello. The last time I’ve played Othello in video game form was on the NES, although I’m sure it is available on most, if not all mobile platforms. As the cheapest game available to date on the Nintendo Switch eShop, Othello features local two-player multiplayer, and sixteen levels of computer difficulty if you prefer to play against the AI.
If you are unfamiliar with the board game, the rules are quite simple and are played with two players or two teams. Comprised of 64 blocks, split across an 8x8 grid, players use stones with black and white sides. The goal is to dominate the board with your chosen color, either by having the most stones in your favor when all 64 squares are filled or by wiping out all stones with the opposing color. Pieces are flipped when you trap opposing the opposing colored stones between two of your own color. When this occurs, you flip the stones to your own color, capturing them in the process. It doesn’t matter if you capture horizontally, vertically or diagonally, as long as you have a stone of your color on each side.
Adhering to certain strategies, such as never letting your opponent acquire corner squares is one way to victory. The Switch version of Othello includes two-player local multiplayer ith each player using a single Joy-Con. If you are playing against the AI, you can choose to use a single Joy-Con or both in the grip. Othello does not support the Pro Controller, and even when using two Joy-Con controllers in the grip, you are limited to using the analog stick. The AI has plenty of difficulty options. However, I found the computer difficulty to be inconsistent. I wanted to test my merit against a level 16 CPU, and strangely enough beat it twice in a row. In fact, it didn’t even require much effort, as a couple of mistakes by the AI led to a quick victory in less than ten moves. The third game, however, ended with the computer controlling all 64 squares. In that match, I was prevented from even taking turns, as your turn is skipped if you are unable to flip at least one piece.
If you are playing the Nintendo Switch on the go, you can use the touch screen controls. The game is quite barebones, however. There isn’t even an options menu for you to adjust any of the settings. The single in-game music track will repeat forever, and there are no options to alter the background visuals. There is no online multiplayer, and I’ve already mentioned the lack of Pro Controller support. Using a mulligan, you may take back your previous turn, although you can spam the ability to go back as far as you wish. The other option lets you highlight squares on the game board, showing you what possible moves you have available to you.
Othello on the Nintendo Switch is a no-frills representation of the classic board game. There are only two different music tracks in the game, one for the menu, and one when you are playing. The lack of Pro Controller support is dumbfounded, but for the price, it is hard to dwell too much on the lack of options.Note: The Othello review is based on a digital Switch copy of the game, provided by the publisher.