Wingspan – Review
Follow Genre: Strategic card game
Developer: Monster Couch
Publisher: Monster Couch, Stonemaier Games, indienova
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac
Tested on: PC

Wingspan – Review

Site Score
7.9
Good: Beautiful illustrations, Lovely music and sounds
Bad: Only North American bird species are included
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Wingspan is a PC adaptation of the popular and beloved table-top game Wingspan. At first glance, this game looks beautiful and relaxing, but at its core it’s a strategic card game for which you’ll need to put your brain to work. This game has been developed by Monster Couch and published by Monster Couch together with Stonemaier Games & indienova.

Story

Since this game is basically a board game, there’s not much of a story. However, the tutorial does introduce the environments you play your birds in, to be your nature preserve, which makes what you do feel more important. The narrator of the tutorial also reinforces the vision of you regulating a preserve for your birds, and in the main menu you’ll be able to view your older sanctuaries again (past games).

Graphics

The graphics of this game are beautiful. Just like the board game, this game has gorgeous and colorful painted imagery of the birds and the environment. The player avatars are pretty colored pen-drawings, often with funny elements incorporated. When setting up a new game you’ll be able to choose your player color, avatar and the looks of your preserve.

The birds on the cards are static when you keep the cards in your hand, but they start to move when you place the birds in your preserve. The animations are simple movements of the original image, but they do make the birds feel more alive. Sadly, the bird species you’ll encounter in this game are North American species only; there’s no option to choose birds from a different continent.

The preserve has three habitat types you can visit: forest, meadow and water. All are beautifully painted and animated. Switching between the environments will zoom in and out, making it feel like one big sanctuary. There’s also an option to view all three environments at once, which is more reminiscent of the board game. You’ll also be able to view your opponent’s game.

The animations of the UI are really well done and helpful. Cards will pop up as you move your mouse pointer over them, making them easy to read. The game makes it clear what you can do at any time, and at which phase of your game you are. This game is quite complicated and it’s a lot to take in at first, but the UI is quite comprehensive so it’s easy to find things.

Sound

The music in this game is amazing, very relaxing and tranquil. This game also features many sound effects, helping with immersion. Whenever a bird card is played and placed into your preserve, a short sound file will played which tells you a bit about this bird. As you interact with the bird cards you’ve placed in your preserve, you’ll also hear the calls of that bird. There are also many nice and cute sound effects accompanying all actions you take in the game, like rolling dice or shuffling through cards. The tutorial is fully narrated.

Gameplay

Wingspan is a strategic card game. Despite its relaxing appearance, this is a really challenging game! You’ll be able to play this game against an AI or Automata, or both local and online against real players.

The end goal of the game is to gather as many points as possible, and to win you should gather more points than your opponent. There are many ways to earn points: playing bird cards, reaching goals formulated for each round, reaching bonus goals, having eggs on bird cards, and food gathered by birds.

Each bird has a point value, but this value can also increase if the bird gathers food. Individual birds can gather food from the bird feeder, from the environment, or by hunting or scavenging. Food is often gathered on the bird card increasing its value, but in some cases the food will get added to the player’s food stash. Food from the environment will always be added each turn once the bird is activated. Food from the feeder needs to be available, and whether a hunt is successful, depends on the size of the bird. Scavengers will prey on your opponent’s success.

To play a bird card, you need to make sure you’ll be able to pay its cost, which is a certain amount of food. There are five different types of food and those are made available in the bird feeder through the rolling of a set of dice, so not all types will be available all the time. Luckily there are many different ways to gather food, so you’re not entirely dependent on the birdfeeder for your food.

You’ll have three different environments in your preserve: forest, meadow and wetlands. Activating the forest biome will allow you to gather food from the birdfeeder, activating the meadow will allow you to place eggs on your bird cards, and activating the wetlands will allow you to pick more bird cards which you’ll be able to play later.

When you activate one of the biomes, you’ll also activate all the birds played in it, and the special powers of these birds will come into effect. This could be gathering food, adding extra eggs, allowing you to get extra cards, etc. The more birds you have in a biome, the more special powers will come into effect when activating that biome. Also, for each bird added to a biome, the effects of activating that biome becomes more powerful; you’ll be able to get more food, gain more eggs or get more cards.

You’ll have several goals to work toward, which should be completed in a certain number of turns. These goals are the same for both you and your opponent, so you can see how fast you are both progressing towards these goals. There are also individual bonus goal cards you can pick each game, which will also gain you extra points if you manage to reach that goal.

The game consists of four rounds, each with its own sub-goals. You should always try to work towards all goals; both the goal of the current round and the future goals. Each round has fewer turns per round, since your preserve gets gradually stronger as it gets filled with birds, and you’ll slowly work towards all the goals. At the end of all four rounds, all the points you and your opponent earned will be added up, to reveal the winner.

All bird cards you’ve played throughout all of your games will be added to a gallery accessible through the main menu, where you’ll be able to watch the card and learn a bit about the bird.

Conclusion

Wingspan is a beautiful game and plays great on PC. The beautiful graphics, tranquil music and nice animations provide extra immersion in the world of Wingspan. This game is recommended for people who like challenging card game, but also enjoy a relaxing atmosphere. Wingspan on PC is a good replacement for board game nights in times of Corona, whether you play with your friends or against automata.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Wingspan - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

1 Comment

  1. 3rd-strike.com | Wingspan (Switch) – Review
    January 24, 2021, 00:01

    […] bringing us a successful PC version of Stonemaier Games’ Wingspan, developer Monster Couch has brought their version of the board […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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