Last month, the Wingspan Oceania Expansion finally arrived for Monster Couch’s digital version of Wingspan ($9.99). With it, this digital version is only one expansion behind the original physical board game, the Asia Expansion. It is obviously too soon to think about that coming over, but with the Wingspan Oceania Expansion, the digital version has gotten a huge upgrade in quite a few ways. I’ve been playing it on and off since launch on both iOS and Steam Deck, and also more-recently on Xbox Series X to see how the game feels across platforms. For this Wingspan Oceania Expansion digital review, I’ll be focusing on the iOS version, but also covering how it is on the other platforms I played it on.
If you’re new to Wingspan, I recommend getting only the base game for now. The Wingspan European Expansion is a good addition in content, but Wingspan Oceania Expansion does a lot more as indicated by its asking price. I don’t recall how long it was, but the opening games of Wingspan were quite confusing as a newcomer. The in-game tutorial is very good, and there are a lot of custom game options you can use to play against the AI before heading online. Once you are comfortable with Wingspan and like it a lot, the expansions are easy recommendations, but Monster Couch needs to offer a discounted bundle on mobile like it does on PC.
The Wingspan Oceania Expansion freshens things up with its Nectar food, new alternate player board, new end goals, new achievements, and nearly 100 new birds from Australia and New Zealand. The Nectar addition is probably the biggest change to Wingspan since the base game with how much flexibility it gives you. The changes to game flow also make Wingspan feel fresh now, but the way Nectar affects things is the highlight. I don’t want to oversell the expansion, but compared to the European Expansion, this feels like what you’d get in a major game update coupled with major DLC together.
Nectar is probably the biggest reason to grab the DLC barring more birds. Nectar can be used to substitute other food in many situations, but also as a means to raise your chances of winning through the Nectar scoring mechanic added. The way nectar is implemented pushes you to do more than you usually would in a turn, or at least that’s how I feel ever since I got back to Wingspan after a few months of not playing it to play the Oceania Expansion. The alternative board is also a welcome addition, and I’ve been opting to play more games with the Oceania Expansion enabled rather than focusing on the base game when playing online across platforms.
As with all DLC reviews, I also like to cover how a game feels with its recent updates. Wingspan on iOS still has a few of the issues I covered in my original review back in 2021. Barring those interface or control issues I’d like sorted, it plays brilliantly both offline and online. I even tested it through custom games and matchmaking across platforms. On iOS and Steam, Wingspan sends push notifications correctly when it is your turn, and takes you right into the game on clicking. I tested online custom games on Xbox, iPhone, iPad, and Steam Deck with no issues. The online system works perfectly, barring one annoyance. There’s no way to add to any sort of friends list or favorites menu right now. This means you need to keep typing your friends’ in-game name to invite them to a game. I hope this can be fixed in the future.
While I love this expansion and the state of the game right now, the iOS version needs some work. There is still no controller support despite Wingspan being available on consoles. If we assume this was built for touch screens only, it still has some issues there as well like not being able to tap anywhere on the screen to progress dialogue during tutorials, or touch targets being a bit too small for certain menus.
The Wingspan European Expansion felt like good DLC for an amazing base game, but the Oceania Expansion feels like an actual big expansion that adds to the experience across the board (no pun intended). The new Nectar food type, board, and birds accompanied by the new music all make the Wingspan Oceania Expansion an essential if you’re comfortable with and enjoy the base game. The asking price is definitely higher than expected, but this is an easy recommendation. I just hope Monster Couch gives the iOS version a bit more attention to make it feel more tailored to the platform. It has always looked amazing on modern iOS devices, but a bit more can make Wingspan feel truly special.
‘Wingspan’ Oceania Expansion Review Score: 4.5/5