Time waits for no man, and the same could be said to the people that pitched the idea of a turn-based fantasy tactics combat titled Wargroove, as clearly Nintendo would not be revitalising their famous Advance Wars franchise anytime soon. Chucklefish creation is combating against the nostalgic love fans have for Advance Wars with its challenging yet fun missions, stunning pixel-art, and a robust level editor creation system that suffices to create your own campaign.
Wargroove gives you a unique faction-related commander to control in the field, which is a stark contrast to Fire Emblem company of heroes, alongside a handful of gold that is adequate to start building your army. This is the same for your enemy, though more often than not, they have a small force out in the field or a more starting capital. Ultimately, this challenges your tactical wits and prowess on the battlefield.
Every unit has their strength and drawback, and with each new unit encounter, Wargroove would outline their characteristics and have a small measure of unit introduction for you. A dog unit is an effective measure to deal with infantry, but it is less potent against a spearman – do not worry about dogs dying in battle, they simply run away upon its defeat. I appreciate the extent Chucklefish goes to expand the game’s lore, and even though fundamentally every unit in each faction – there are 4 factions by the way – shares the same unit type, Chucklefish went the extra mile to give every unit of each type an unique background information and makes them visually distinct from each other. Case in point, an infantry unit belonging to the Cherrystone Kingdom is called Swordsman, and the same infantry unit is named Dreadsword in the Felheim Legion.
Wargroove | Chucklefish
The commanders, on the other hand, are a special existence within the factions. Not only are they powerful and look good, but they also possess special ability called Groove. Each groove is unique and are tied closely to the commanders’ personalities. Ragna is a wild commander and her Groove allows her to jump around the map and the bloodthirsty Sedge is able to instant kill any unit below a certain health threshold and attacks continuously. My personal favourite is queen Mercia, her caring personality allow units to recover their missing health.
It is to no surprise that a more cynical player would regard their army to be entirely disposable; as a battle cannot be won without any sacrifice, but the same treatment should not be applied to the commander. A commander’s defeat signifies the end of the battle and it is best to not forget about that fact when you are in the thick of the fight. Yet it is not the only road to victory, though it is the path that is most travelled. The other route consists of occupying the enemy HQ, and at times, it is easier to achieve victory through this manner rather than hunting down the enemy commander.
They say luck plays a crucial part on the battlefield and having such a gorgeous lady smiling by your side at the critical moment can make a man be on cloud nine. But such a fortune cannot be found in Wargroove and it only favours the bold. You do not have to worry(or hope) about critical strikes occurring at random, as it can be triggered under the right circumstances. For example, a spearman will trigger critical damage when it stands next to each other and a swordsman will crit while standing next to the commander. This makes positioning of the unit to be an integral part of the tactical aspect; because if you can cause a crit to happen, so does the enemy.
Wargroove | Chucklefish
With that being said, the A.I skill is not at the level where it will make you cry foul, but it is not an incompetent buffoon either. It will not easily fall prey to bait tactics and will circumvent it if possible, and it would not be a surprise when it makes the hunter become the hunted. Should the A.I proved to be too difficult or easy for you to handle, you are able to adjust its difficulty via the options menu.
It is easy to pickup Wargroove; its objective is clear, the controls are simple, its campaign story is rather cute, and its bright and colourful pixel art style makes the game all the more alluring to play. The most odious part of the game though is that some campaign missions may take an hour or so to clear. But luckily for the players, Chucklefish has patched in a save point for you to utilise in the middle of a fight. You do not have to redo the mission from the start when you fail, as you can now load your last save point.
Outside of Wargroove campaign, it also has an arcade mode, puzzle mode, multiplayer and a level editor for you to delve into, and these varieties of game mode form a meaty package of replayability value. Arcade mode is a series of short skirmishes and puzzle mode is a fun yet frustrating mode to play in; as you are required to win the battle within a single turn.
The level editor, on the other hand, is best reserved for those that have time and creativity. Not only are you able to create your own map, but a full-length campaign too, complete with your own cutscene. I have laid my hands on it for a couple of hours, coming up with a story and map design, but I reach a hurdle which I have yet to cross; I do not how to set the conditions for victory for the map. I will not know how long till my beloved project will come to fruition or even see the light of day, but until then, I will make do with the works of others.
Wargroove | Chucklefish
Wargroove is a fantastic game to fill the hole of longtime fans of the Advance War series, and it is a battle that is easier to win as compared to Tiny Metal. Though it may take some time to get rid of the habit to subconsciously compare Wargroove to a dead series, I have no shadow of a doubt that Wargroove is a great game in its own right.
Platform: PC (Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One & Nintendo Switch
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