- Developer: Dire Wolf
- Publisher: Dire Wolf Digital
- Release Date: 29/07/2020
- Price: $14.99 / £14.49
- Review code provided by Dire Wolf Digital
Introducing: Sagrada Switch Review
I’m a huge collector of dice and as a hobby I make stained glass windows, so when Sagrada came along it seemed like a perfect match. Sagrada is about using colorful dice to create stained glass masterpieces, unlocking your inner artisan. Little did I know, it’s also based on a board game of the same name. Let’s jump into the review and see if all the pieces fit.
Sagrada is a dice-drafting game that gets straight to business. There’s no narrative or story to keep tabs on. That is, aside from brief mention that your artistic creations are being crafted for the Sagrada Familia Basilica. The Sagrada Familia is a Roman Catholic temple in Barcelona. The architecture is magnificent and the stained glass windows are gorgeous. Construction began in 1882 and is still in progress. It’s easy to see why it has inspired the game. Sadly, there are no details about this wonderful monument within the game itself.
Fulgor del Cielo
Sagrada contains 23 campaign levels and an assortment of modes. Though Sagrada is based on a board game, it falls into the puzzle genre and requires a bit of strategy. A series of dice are automatically cast at the beginning of each turn. Each level has a pattern with specific requirements. Some slots require a set color while others may demand a specific number.
The main rules prevent you from placing two dice of the same color next to each other. Likewise, you cannot have two of the same number touching. Once the dice are cast, you take turns with your opponents by selecting which dice you want to place on the board. Once the dice are used, the next round starts. There are ten rounds for each level. New dice are rolled every round. The early stages are fairly easy, but difficulty grows as you progress. Each level comes with different challenges to improve your score, usually requirements of sets or runs. Traditional stained glass tools can be used to alter the dice to find a fitting form. Deciding when or if you’ll use them adds another layer of strategy.
The varied modes are pretty self explanatory. Campaign is played against the AI on preset levels. Taking first place will award you with three stars which will in turn unlock succeeding boards. The Versus AI mode gives you a little more customization in difficulty and number of AI players. Solo mode is played against yourself. Your unused dice are tallied at face value and determine a target score to beat. Pass and Play is just like it sounds. You and up to four players can draft on the same console and pass around the controller or Switch.
Sagrada is easy to pick up and play. It’s not a suitable party game due to its slow pace but it’s worth having for relaxed group sessions. My kids and I enjoyed Pass and Play so much that we looked for places to buy the direct board game. Sagrada is a pleasant puzzler with enough modes to keep you entertained for hours. The gameplay can be repetitive for longer gaming sessions. The challenge to unlock all three stars and take first on every level will add later replayability. Aside from that, multiplayer is where Sagrada shines. There is an online mode and the community looks fairly engaged. Every time I jumped into the lobby there were a handful of games preparing to start. Unfortunately, they were password protected so I couldn’t drop in and bedazzle the other artificers. Hosting my own match never yielded any results either. Maybe they were intimidated?
For a game that’s inspired by an exquisite temple, I was a little let down with the graphics. The dice look fine and have a faint glow, but the background looks like an early-2000s rendering from a flash game. I was also disappointed that when the levels were completed, your work didn’t transform into a faithful rendition from the Sagrada Familia. Despite its lack of flourish, Sagrada gets the job and the art style doesn’t ruin the game. Additionally, there’s a colorblind mode which makes it more accessible.
The sound holds up a bit better. Peaceful music plays in the background and sets the stage for a relaxed sitting. The dice rolls are authentic with appropriate background effects. Overall, the music and sound effects are what you would expect and do a nice job tying the package together.
From a technical aspect, Sagrada only froze on me once. There were some other oddities. One example is that you can’t scroll down on the leaderboards unless you take the Switch out of the dock and use the touch screen. It seems like an oversight during development. There were also a few times when trying to navigate around the main screen during a match where certain areas wouldn’t respond. The unused dice are placed at the top and some tools can grant you access to them. However, the selection icon would disappear and you have to guess which dice you’re trying to select. Other times, I would try to select a tool and it would lock up. The game didn’t freeze per se, I could hit the cancelation button and try again.
A few technical hiccups and the basic graphics made Sagrada feel cheaply developed. That’s not to say it’s a bad game. I had a lot of fun puzzling through the various levels. The added multiplayer made the game more endearing and ensured it will find a permanent place on my memory card. It’s easy to learn and will take some strategy to master. After nearly ten hours of training myself on its intricacies, I invited my son to play his first game. I was ready to destroy him. Sadly, I lost. This goes to show you don’t have to have real stained glass experience or hours of practice to win.
- Decent puzzle game
- Fun for family and friends
- Dated art style
- Minor tech issues
Sagrada is a cost effective option for the board game guru who wants a digital fix on the go.