Published on March 11th, 2024 | by Lyla Saudi

Tenderfoot Tactics Switch Review

Tenderfoot Tactics Switch Review Lyla Saudi

Summary: A strategic RPG that may take some time and patience but will yield some good rewards.



A party of goblins, granted magic by an ancient spirit, wanders the archipelago, fighting a terrible Fog. Wield elemental power with repercussions in this open-world tactics RPG.

For a generation, the terrible Fog – one vast, voiceless, and cruel spirit – has been eating the once thick forest of the mainland. Now, with nowhere left to call home, and granted magic by the friendly spirits of the archipelago, one small party of would be adventurers sets out. Find a way to save the goblin towns of the rocky coast, discover the truth about the Fog, and, if possible, put an end to it.

Tenderfoot Tactics, the 2020 release from indie studio Ice Water Games, has now found a home on the Nintendo Switch. This well-rated tactical, turn-based RPG is a unique gaming experience, for people who love all things mystical and magical.

In a video game era where we have come to expect a lot from open-world games, Tenderfoot Tactics, with its calming art style and minimalist screen content provides a different experience. This is not the detailed world of the GTA, nor does it have the busy screen of Witcher 3, the depth of characters of Baldur’s Gate, or the combat complexity of Final Fantasy… but that’s what makes this game interesting. It is not a big blockbuster open-world experience, instead it is unique, ethereal, and (very) open-world where your imagination is allowed to fill in the gaps.

You control a band of goblins, and your mission is to end a mystical threat. But with limited information, and only a general hint of ‘something is to the west’, you head out blindly into the world. While the first intuition is to be frustrated at the limited markers and confused by the lack of direction, you come to enjoy the games encouragement for you to ‘just keep moving’. There are allusions to environmental features to explore, but the lack of detail adds to the mysterious journey full of unexpected encounters.

As you explore the world, your group will level up as you find items and defeat opponents in combat. Your group will start as generic classes but will branch out and evolve to give you a wider range of options. The compact, turn-based tactical battles feature a randomly generated battleground with evolving environmental terrain. After choosing your combat order and start positions (and as you delve deeper) you will find the combat options are relatively advanced… however, I can’t say I was ever truly captured by the process and I haven’t decided if I like that the amount of damage is always known and you never ‘miss’.

The art style is the first thing that hits you. The boxy shapes, the pastel colors, and the limited detail immediately paint a feeling which signposts the game ahead. The world is being swallowed by up a magical fog and as a result, when you move through the various spaces, hills will undulate, trees appear and disappear, and shapes shift as you move quickly forward. The sparse detail encourages a speed of movement through the mystical world.

A completely original soundtrack suits the game’s misty environment. There is a fun and thematic change as you enter combat which helps contribute to sense of danger your group is automatically in. The sounds throughout certainly suit the mysterious fog that drapes across your screen.

Final Thoughts?

The controls are fairly simple, and the experience is a good challenge, which will require you to engage. You never lose your progress (as there is no absolute death), and when you lose (or flee) combat, you can return to your latest home point. It is challenging but not punishing, which provides a balance which suits the overall style of mystery. I like the unique experience that Tenderfoot Tactics offers the player. The dreamy, eerie, and etheric world is well formed and encourages a dream like meander through the space. The enchanting visuals are the hero of the game which makes the world well worth the exploration.

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