Review – Wargroove

I may not be a big fan of turn-based strategy games, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy playing Advance Wars on my DS back in the day. The intuitive controls, simple gameplay, somewhat interesting story, and map editor were all great features on this early DS title, definitely my favorite from the console’s first couple of years. That is until the release of my beloved PSP, which eclipsed my interested in it until the eventual release of Pokémon SoulSilver more than half a decade later.

Even though people loved the Nintendo Wars games, the Big N itself doesn’t seem to care much about them, but we don’t need to worry about that. That’s what a good chunk of the independent gaming scene is for: picking up a cherished but neglected gaming idea from the past, making a spiritual successor out of it, and releasing to the masses only for the big companies to realize, “huh, guess there was a market for these games afterall”. Enter Wargroove, the best Advance Wars type of game not called Advance Wars that I have ever played.

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Ain’t that nostalgic?

Saying that Wargroove reminded me of Advance Wars is a tremendous understatement. This IS Advance Wars, just with a medieval coat of paint and a new anime-ish animated intro. That means that the game retains the simple turn-based point-and-click interface, the same animation style, the same fact that a unit’s attack lowers the more it gets beaten, and so on. Is this actually a bad thing? Not exactly. The gameplay in these titles was already good enough, so there was no need to fix what wasn’t broken.

The main difference, at least in the PC version, is the fact that you can play the game in its entirety with just a mouse. Everything is set up in a way that you can access the entirety of the game’s menus with either the right or left mouse buttons. Wargroove is ridiculously intuitive, partially thanks to an excellent first couple of tutorial levels that teach you everything you need to know in a very safe environment.

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A lovely editor to bump up the replayability factor to infinity.

The overall amount of content is also pretty impressive for a budget title. Not only is the campaign fleshed out, complete with cutscenes and some instances of voice acting, but the game also offers an instant action mode, a challenge mode, and a map editor, just like Advance Wars before it. There is a lot here to captivate you for hours.

With that being said, even though Wargroove is amazing, I think it has some small flaws. The graphics and sound are pretty good, but while the former looks a bit stretched on a PC screen, the latter doesn’t wow at any given time, just getting the job done. The main issue for me is that a computer isn’t the best option to play this game. No, there are no gameplay issues whatsoever, but the fact that a Switch version of Wargroove is also available with the same amount of content, I don’t see a reason to pick the PC version unless a computer is the only gaming platform you own. Wargroove even supports cross-play, making the PC version even less essential.

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I did and you got ravaged, ya noob.

Wargroove is a fantastic reminder of how great Advance Wars used to be, as it does little else than painting the classic Nintendo titles with a brand new medieval art style. Its gameplay is excellent, its controls are fluid, and it features a lot of bang for your buck. Just grab the Switch version instead, if possible. Not only does it feature the same amount of content from the PC version, but you can also take it on-the-go and even play against PC players thanks to its cross-play functionalities. This little indie gem is a must.

 

Graphics: 8.5

An art style that tries to emulate the look and feel of the Nintendo Wars games. I have to admit that the developers have succeeded at that, even though the sprites look a bit too stretched on a computer screen.

Gameplay: 10

As easy and intuitive as a PC game can possibly be: all you need to use is the mouse.

Sound: 7.0

It’s far from bad and the voice acting is actually pretty good, but it’s not really the most amazing thing present in the game. It gets the job done and that’s it.

Fun Factor: 8.5

Great controls, easy gameplay, an interesting story, lots of modes, and even a map editor. There’s a lot to enjoy in Wargroove, but I’d agree that it’s best suited for the Switch, not a PC.

Final Verdict: 9.0

Wargroove is available now on Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Wargroove was provided by the publisher.

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