Othello

Othello Review

Enjoy a game of Reversi on your new Switch

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Switch on

ESRB Everyone rating

Some board games stand the test of time and are still fun to play in an age when we can enjoy them digitally. Othello (AKA Reversi) is one such game so invite a friend over and let's check it out.

Othello screenshot 1
I wonder where I should place my next piece...

From Boggle to Monopoly, almost every classic board game has seen life on a video game console. In fact, I originally played Othello on my NES when I was a kid. It was great fun forming strategies and playing against my family. So, playing this new version in 2017 is quite a nostalgic experience. For the unfamiliar, you play Othello by placing circular pieces on the board that flip the other player's pieces if you can form a straight or diagonal line through to another one of your pieces. Once you fill the board, the pieces are counted and the player with the most wins. That being said, you could end the game early by converting all of the pieces on the board to your colour but that'll only happen when you're playing with someone far less skilled. Overall, it's simple and strategic fun that you can enjoy solo against the computer or with a friend.

If you decide to play against the artificial intelligence, you'll be surprised by how capable it is. I consider myself rather skilled at Reversi so when I cranked up the difficulty to see if I could beat the computer at the highest level of challenge, I was impressed that I couldn't win no matter how hard I tried. Considering there are 16 difficulty settings, finding your perfect match can be quite enjoyable.

Othello screenshot 2
Nothing beats playing with a friend!

Unfortunately, this iteration of Othello is very bare-bones. On a visual level, it's clean and easy to play. However, I would have loved to see some graphical themes or characters to bring some personality to the equation. This lack of flashiness is okay if you just want a simple game of Reversi but in a time when there are so many modernized takes on classic games, it's kind of disappointing.

On top of that, there are only the two modes (solo or multiplayer). There is nothing to unlock nor are there any variations to the core gameplay. Even the NES version featured an option to change the time limit. To be fair, you can toggle whether to show where you can place pieces and also undo moves. That being said, who would ever turn the former off and why would you ever do the latter? Surely, you'll feel like a cheater. In the end, I wish there was more variation. They could have at least added a time limit.

Othello screenshot 3
I don't think I'll ever win against a level 16 CPU

Othello is a classic board game that holds up well after all these years. However, this version is so bare-bones that you may as well pick up an 8-bit iteration as it'll probably be more fully-featured.

  • + Reversi fun that you can play against the computer or a friend
  • + The artificial intelligence can be extremely challenging to beat
  • - Very little content is included
  • - It's merely simple Reversi without any character or flashiness
  • - No additional options or rules
5.2 out of 10
Official trailer for Othello 0:31
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