Disclaimer: This preview was made possible by the generosity of Monster Couch, who provided a Steam game key to Open Seat Gaming. Our opinions are our own based on several plays of the game.
Resources for the Board Game: If you’re checking out the app, then we are going to assume you own the board game – even though we know that’s not always the case! You can learn about it from our review here on Open Seat Gaming, or you can check out these reviews and overviews of the game from our friends in Punchboard Media.
A Six Pack Review from Draft Mechanic (Podcast).
Board Game Gumbo’s conversation (video) with designer Elizabeth Hargrave.
Table for ONE’s written review.
Our Review: Wingspan was one of our favorite games from 2019, so when we got the opportunity to preview the app, we took advantage of it. And as you may expect, it’s absolutely stunning. Obviously, the bird art is the same as in game. But, let me talk about the other visuals and audio cues that they added to it to make it atmospheric.
First, the backgrounds. You can play on one of 4 seasonal backgrounds, and right now (while I write this) there’s a Halloween background. I expect that will rotate out eventually and be replaced with a Christmas or holiday themed background in the future. Each of them brings a flavor of your favorite season, which makes it fun and allows you to pick what you want.
Every bird in the game has some animation associated with it, and you also hear its call when you play it or do anything with it (for example, lay an egg or use an egg from its clutch). The bird calls are not overbearing, and you can adjust the volume. You can also choose whether or not you’d like the narrator to say the name of the bird and the flavor text off of the card.
Those aren’t the only audio options you have, either. The game has lovely background music that adds to that Zen feeling that you get when playing the game of Wingspan physically. And, ask my wife, I am usually not a big fan of video game music – I typically turn it off and listen to something else when I’m gaming. But, with Wingspan, I’m cool with leaving it up and running.
The interface is incredibly intuitive – you understand where you should be placing things and how you want to take care of it. The tutorial helps you to get the swing of things at first, but it actually makes a lot of sense if you just look at it. Granted, that’s from someone who already knows how to play the game – I Imagine that the tutorial is much more helpful if you’re just trying it for the first time.
I am still trying to understand the Automa gameplay, but Sarah played it several times and really enjoys it. She says that she probably won’t need to play the physical game with the Automa anymore, because the digital version streamlines it and makes it a lot quicker to play.
There are also standard AI’s, which are getting tweaked in terms of difficulty. So, you can play a regular game with AI’s if you’d like, but I prefer the challenge that comes with playing with other people. There is also online play, but we didn’t try that yet. That’s a whole new world of gaming to try!
Also, it works really well at both 2 and 4 (which is what we’ve played it at) in terms of pass and play. Even with each of us playing 2 “players,” it was easy to see who was playing what, and the game reminded us of what the other players did between our turns.
At the time that I finished this review, Steam said that we had 39 hours of the game played. So if that doesn’t tell you my thoughts on it, I’ll tell you them now. The digital version is absolutely true to the board game in terms of game play, appearance, and feel. It’s fabulous, and worth every penny.
Try, Buy, Deny: If you love Wingspan, you’re going to love the app. It’s a really great implementation of it. It looks fantastic and it really makes the game come alive. Also, if you play the game solo a lot, the app makes it even easier for you to do so anywhere. It automates all of the parts so that you can get a game done quickly without the setup and tear down. It’s 100% a buy for lovers of the game.
Learn more about Wingspan Digital here.