That Switch is a console out of the ordinary is now very clear, and we are certainly not talking only of the stratospheric numbers that it has managed to obtain in stores: its hybrid nature automatically makes it a sort of mystical artifact in the eyes of a fan Nintendo long-standing, a machine where the glories of the Japanese company can coexist in peace, regardless of whether they belong to the history of its fixed consoles or that of laptops. This concept, in some ways, has been confirmed by the great N itself, which has already given new life to many of its most famous brands by exploiting the potential of this curious creature, and has announced that it wants to make it the new home of titles historically linked to double thread to "classic" portable, such as Pokémon e Fire Emblem. Among the many names already confirmed, those sadly stumbled upon the many obstacles to development (Metroid, alas ...) and those that still belong to the fantasies of gamers, but one that is particularly loved by strategy enthusiasts is missing: Advance Wars. And for those who do not know what we are talking about, know that it is a splendid turn-based strategy born from the same Intelligent Systems of the Fire Emblem mentioned above, and whose success in our part has in some ways guaranteed that the wonderful fantasy series was published in the West. Now, Advance Wars certainly didn't boast the complexities of modern Fire Emblems, but the wonderful balance of its mechanics, the intuitiveness of its formula, and the perfect management of its campaign have made it a small cult, whose latest "official" legacy it was that Battalion Wars which had very little to do with the original titles of the saga (and without the Intelligent Systems at the reins). With hardware like Switch available, therefore, the times were quite ripe for his return, and with the parent company determined to continue on the path of Fire Emblem with "Three Houses", British developers thought about the project: those chucklefish to which we owe the discussed Starbound, as well as several other quality games in publisher form. Wargroove is the name of this spiritual successor to Advance Wars and, despite a setting very different from modern wars, we assure you that it is worth keeping an eye on.
Wargroove opens with the murder of a ruler, and a young princess suddenly forced to save her land from a terrible threat. A preamble to a fantasy epic, which can easily give birth to unpredictable and dramatic situations like never before. Yet the purpose of the chucklefish it was the creation of a title as close as possible to Advance Wars, as explained, and excluding the only one Days of Ruin the Nintendo series has always painted war with light and playful tones, rarely tipping the scales towards tragedy. The events that see the brave queen Mercia protagonist, therefore, almost immediately take a comic turn, underlined by undead warriors who cannot accept defeat, commander dogs capable of saving entire inhabited centers from bandits, and by a very simple narrative line, where most of the clashes arise from total communication incapacity of the protagonists or ridiculous misunderstandings. It is a sensible choice once contextualized to the nature of the production, therefore we cannot but appreciate it, even if we would have liked a more original background plot.
Everything we have described above only serves to propose a campaign in six acts, where Mercia meets numerous leaders belonging to various peoples, in a desperate attempt to defend themselves from the undead army led by the necromancer Valder. The missions are not very many, we specify, but their duration is more than sufficient, because they gradually become more and more demanding and complex, they are managed to explain the characteristics of the various units available and introduce the player to their best tactical use, and are varied just enough not to get bored (also thanks to a series of secondary missions well integrated into the whole). Furthermore, you will hardly complete them in a single session, because they are largely brutal even at the normal challenge level.
Yep, you got it right: Wargroove doesn't mess with the at all difficulties. The title has sudden peaks already starting from act three, and from that moment on it is a crescendo, in which theartificial intelligence enemy constantly attacks you mercilessly, and reacts smarter than expected to most of your moves. Don't be fooled by the simplicity of the mechanical, in short, because this title is basic only in appearance, and its structure - is in all respects one turn-based strategy where each unit has two actions available (one of which for movement) and each faction makes use of the same identical troops, diversified only from a stylistic point of view - requires a considerable study of the positioning of armies, and a perfect exploitation of the skills available to the player to dominate. The system, however, has slightly changed compared to that of the Advance Wars (which in any case have a certain age, and undoubtedly required a general rejuvenation): each faction is in fact equipped with various commanders on the field, which regenerates some life points every turn, and can take advantage of a Groove ability of considerable power (these powers were also present in the Intelligent Systems titles, but the commander was not in battle).
The presence of such powerful warriors is an important factor to take into consideration, as their stamina makes them perfect for gaining a quick benefit in certain encounters - especially if you are starting at a disadvantage in troops and resources - but at the same time if you discover them excessively. you risk lose instantly the game, and we assure you that the artificial intelligence tends to dump everything it possesses on him as soon as he takes one step too far. Of course, not everything is absolutely flawless: with the increase in units, and the entry into the field of air and aquatic troops, the enemy tends to become more naive, and it becomes quite natural to control it with a purely defensive strategy of consolidation of the territory ( the resources are obtained by conquering houses scattered around the map, and defending them is essential to win). Going through endless shifts, however, will deprive you of high scores, limiting you to a single star by mission. L'epilogue real title, so to speak, requires 100 stars, and if you don't do everything perfectly the campaign ends with barely fifty of these, so don't think you can beat around the bush too much if you want to see the ending (or to be able to adjust towards the low difficulty, because doing so locks the score to a single star).
Just to clarify how the experience is centered around experienced players, keep in mind that in Wargroove there is no rewind. Missing a move will most likely mean losing a unit, so you need to stay on track at all times. If that were not enough, the game automatically saves every turn, and therefore - even if it is possible to exit the game and return to the point where the last battle was interrupted - there are no manual saves and it is not allowed to reload to correct last minute tactical errors. You miss a mission by mistake after hours of play, and you will have to repeat it completely: no discounts, no mercy. However, if you find yourself taking only one star per mission regardless of your efforts, know that at least you can get additional stars for the epilogue in the two extra mode of the game: le challenges he puzzles. The former are battles leading the various commanders of increasing difficulty, while the latter are single-turn battles, in which you must achieve victory by understanding exactly what moves to do. Eye, we have not said that these are health walks: they are designed to put you to the test in turn.
Little to say instead from a technical point of view: the Chucklefish are now experts in the pixel art, and Wargroove is a real feast for the eyes, with characters beautifully characterized despite the retro look, and cutscenes to each high-quality battle or conquest. In the long run, in all likelihood, you will choose to eliminate these cutscenes from the options, as they greatly lengthen the battles and some clashes in the final phases can go on for a very long time, yet it is nice to see how the team has worked hard on elements that most some of the players will simply choose to cut. Ah, one last treat: if you are dissatisfied with the overall longevity, keep in mind that Wargroove has a great map editor and campaigns, whose creations can be put online by the community. Should the fanbase grow exponentially, expect a plethora of extra content in the coming months.
It will not be the most original of the strategic ones, since it follows with almost absolute fidelity the mechanics of the historical series to which it is inspired, but Wargroove is really an excellent fantasy transposition of Advance Wars, and is able to offer a truly satisfying experience to who loves challenges. true, the balance of difficulty in the game is not perfect, and especially the final stages can be boring for their brutality, but it is a title that does not deliberately discount, well-kept, and full of passion and respect for the works of the Intelligent Systems. Highly recommended for anyone who loves the genre and owns a Nintendo Switch.
- Basically, it's Advance Wars in fantasy
- High difficulty, which will satisfy purists
- Intuitive system, but more elaborate and difficult to master than it seems
- Good artificial intelligence ...
- ... which loses a few hits when the units become more numerous
- Some imbalance in the difficulty of the campaign