Wargroove Is The Game Advance Wars Fans Have Been Waiting For

Can you believe it’s been over 10 years since the release of Advance Wars: Days of Ruin? With Intelligent Systems busy churning out Fire Emblem games and making the most of that series’ new found popularity, their Advance Wars series has fallen by the wayside since the Nintendo DS’s heyday. I think that’s dumb, other Advance Wars fans think that’s dumb, and most importantly, Chucklefish think that’s dumb.

That’s why they’re making Wargroove.


To put it bluntly, this could quite easily be an Advance Wars game with a fantasy subtitle and be a Nintendo Switch exclusive. It’s got the same feel and style to its turn-based tactics, to the art style and the way that the fights between units are determined and visualised.. It isn’t though, and that means it’s free to come later this year to PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.

Intelligent Systems should be feeling so flattered by all of this that they need to have a sit down, but that’s not to say that Wargroove doesn’t have a few fresh ideas to add to the mix. Wargroove takes a leaf out of the book from other strategy games with hero characters, adding your army’s leader as a unit to field in battle and making them more powerful, more resilient, and giving them special abilities. The one caveat is that if they fall in battle, you lose just as hard as if the enemy captured your HQ, adding a risk and reward element to each battle and making you very, very aware of your enemy commander’s position.

Quite a few have been revealed so far from the game’s four factions. Queen Mercia charges into battle with her great sword, and supports nearby units with a boost of healing, while Greenfinger of the Florians (a crossover race with Chucklefish’s Starbound) rides into battle on a tree-like horse and can summon a wall of plants to act as a temporary barricade. There’s some great strategic opportunities through these characters, and it puts a new and refreshing spin on the CO powers of old, even as Days of Ruin took half a step in this direction back in 2008.

They’ve also considered the flow and balance of the game to suit a slightly faster pace. Capturing buildings still provide resources for you to spend on recruiting more units and play a major role in spreading your influence and exerting territorial control over a map, but they behave slightly differently once captured. They’re much closer to actual units here, and will damage attackers just a little bit in retaliation, but they only have 10 health, meaning that they can be captured quicker, and are much lower than this when first captured.

The tactical battles can quickly sway back and forth on you. My one hands-on fight seemed to be going in my favour, as I spread up one side of the map and held the enemy back on the other with Greenfinger’s barricade, but as they broke through, my units fell in rapid succession. You need to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses, take into account the positioning and range of attacks, and so much more. Lose a unit, and it’s a pain to replace when you can only spawn one per turn from training buildings, but you can pay to reinforce them at your captured cities, taking some health from that structure and boosting their own.

Again, the pixel art here is impeccable, showing real artistry and character. The little sprites bop in time on the battlefield, while the combat breaks out higher resolution artwork as each unit attacks and defends. It’s bright, colourful and cute across the board, such as with the adorable little Quagmutt units.

All of this will be wrapped up with a multitude of ways to play, with the single player story mode and AI battles supplemented by four player online and local battles. The map and campaign editor put all the tools into players’ hands as well, letting you not just create maps and battle on them, but string together your own stories and tweak the game’s rules along the way as well.

Wargroove might predominantly be an homage to the Wars series that Nintendo and Intelligent Systems have left to catch cobwebs, but that’s fine. It looks tight and polished, capturing the happy-go-lucky Advance Wars vibe of old, it’s got a few neat little gameplay ideas of its own, but most importantly it scratches that turn-based tactical itch.

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  1. I need this in my life.

  2. Shut up and take my money

  3. I loved Advanced Wars, black hole rising was my favourite GBA game! This looks like its a bit more fantasy based rather than military units from the 2 screenshots?

    • It’s a fantasy setting, so yeah, it’s soldiers, archers, knights and trebuchets as opposed to soldiers, RPGs, jeeps and tanks.

      • Would you describe it as more medieval than fantasy though, or is not realistic in that sense?

      • It’s got necromancers and a race of tree people. ;)

  4. I’ve enjoyed Tiny Metal and that’s the nearest thing we’ve had to an Advanced Wars game, especially as that’s still modern military rather than fantasy or whatever. Unfortunately they’ve still not got the multiplayer mode ready, although they say it’s coming eventually.

  5. hopefully on android too! would pay full price – this sort of game is best suited to mobile imho.


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