I had first heard of Wargroove around the time is came out a number of months ago. While I liked the reviews of the game, I didn’t have the chance to play it until recently. As a fan of tactical games, including the turn based variety, I wanted to give this game a go. Now that I finished the game, I have a fair amount to say about my experience with it. So, let’s get started.
The first thing I noticed about this game was its strong resemblance to the game that almost certainly inspired it, Advance Wars. Both are turn based tactical war games, where you capture buildings to gain more funds to recruit more units to fight for you. Similarly, both games have the goal of capturing the opponent’s headquarters (called a stronghold in Wargroove). In fact, many of the units that your army consists of function similarly between both games.
That’s not to say there aren’t differences between the two games, though. The main difference is the setting. Advance Wars features modern day warfare, while Wargroove is a medieval style fantasy. There are a number of other differences too, such as the inclusion of commanders, which is a strong unit that has a “groove”, or special power that that they get to use from time to time. If a commander is taken out, that player will lose.
Another neat variation that Wargroove has is how this game handles critical hits. In Wargroove, critical hits always occur when a unit is positioned in a certain way, causing more damage. The basic swordsman unit always does more damage when fighting next to his commander, while the lance wielding units always do more damage when next to an allied lance user. The game has a lot of information to read through, but everything you need to know is available if you want to look into the strategies that work best.
The best parts of the game are when the game rewards you with a win when you discover the best strategies that turn the tide of battle. The AI of the the game is rather smart and will frequently try to set up critical hits and to avoid the critical hits you are setting up, so you do have to plan carefully. Luckily, the game does allow you to alter the difficulty in three ways: you can lower the damage taken, increase the money earned via buildings under your control, or speed up your commander’s groove meter. This feature is great for new players, or for anyone struggling in one way or another, due to one or more specific game play challenges. I only had to use this feature once about halfway through the story, and the rest of the missions were at the default settings.
The game overall feels well-crafted, with a number of units having strengths and weaknesses to one another, and only a few units are really strong. Like a good game of chess, making the right move at the right time is immensely rewarding, while making the wrong move can punish you harshly.
On top of the game’s story mode, you have an arcade mode, where you play against five armies in a row, and a puzzle mode, where you are given a specific scenario where you have to win in one turn. Both are fun diversions, but the core game play is the main appeal of the game.
Most interesting is the map editor, scenario editor, and multiplayer functions. Just like Advance Wars, you can create your own maps. Wargroove’s scenario editor takes this one step further, and allows you to make your own version of story mode, complete with character dialogue settings. Both your maps and scenarios can be shared with other players, online. If you like, you can also play against other players, both locally or online, to test you strategic skills.
While I haven’t played online yet, it has come to my attention that doing so is similar to chess by mail. Once a match is set up, each player makes their moves separately (each turn could take a while) and the waiting player doesn’t have to be online as the active player make his move. As far as I know, the game doesn’t notify you if your opponent has made their move, but it is a nifty way to handle an online turn based game.
While I have enjoyed this game quite a bit, perhaps the only complaint I have is the visual character designs. For whatever reason, these characters don’t stand out for me. Even their personalities aren’t particularly striking either, and as a result, I’m slightly less attached to the game as a whole than otherwise possible. In the end, this game is a good substitute for the absence of the Advance Wars series, and is worth a look if you enjoyed those games.
Here are some play recommendations:
- Start with the main story, each portion of the game is introduced slowly enough to get used to the game.
- If a challenge is too hard, tweak the difficulty until you complete the mission.
- You may periodically want to try out the arcade and puzzle modes, once they are available.
- Explore the map editor and scenario editor at some point. If you like it, be sure to tinker around with it and share your creations with others.
- If you have friends with this game, be sure to try the local and online multiplayer options.
- You need to earn half of the rank stars to get the real ending. There is a false ending before that, and if you feel deflated from that ending, you might want to take a break from the game before attempting to get this challenge. (At the time of this writing, I have yet to achieve this. An update on this article, or a new article may be added in the future, if or when I finish this part of the game.)
Now for the Pros and Cons:
- A well-crafted and balanced tactical strategy game.
- Good music.
- Difficultly adjustments keep the game approachable.
- Online play allows you to play at own pace.
- Map and scenario editors are really nice touches.
(Author’s note: The following trait doesn’t fit easily into the pro or con sections: The game feels very similar to Advance Wars. This is either good, as those games were high quality, or bad, as the experience might not feel that new to those who played Advance Wars before Wargroove. I feel that some players might feel one way or the other about this trait and it should be noted before anyone buys this game.)
- Characters don’t stand out in this game.
- The game’s false ending made me feel deflated (possible con).
- Some of the voice acting is a little off (thankfully, not all of it, possible con)
8.5/10 A great strategy game
I should note that this game has a range of 8.2 to 8.8, depending on personal tastes. If you don’t like turn based strategy games, this score would be lower than that.
And that was my review of Wargroove. So, what did you think of this game? Did you prefer Advance Wars over Wargroove? Do you have a favorite unit or character from this game? Did you try the online features, and do they work well? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this review, be sure to hit the like button. You can also subscribe via email to stay up to date with That’s All Games. Until next time, have fun gaming!