WarGroove is the AW-inspired game we Deserve

Avatar image for Ovirew
#1 Edited by Ovirew (8992 posts) -

So WarGroove came out yesterday. I was interested in this game back before I got my launch Switch. Almost two years later, it arrived the day after I got my new Switch.

At first I was skeptical. I knew I wanted to try the game, but was worried it would feel like a "poor man's" Advance Wars. After all, most games in a similar vein to AW that I've tried just differed too much to be as fun as the classic.

I'd have to say developer Chucklefish Games has come the closest yet to that beloved gameplay of Advance Wars. The gameplay isn't a carbon copy, and there are noticable differences. This is not a bad thing though - the core game is solid enough that the changes help to give WG its own identity.

One thing you notice immediately is that capturing bases works differently in WG. You can't move units onto bases, only adjacent to them. And bases can heal damaged units for a price, also damaging the health of the base to restore a corresponding number of health points to a unit.

Commanders, the WG answer to AW's CO's, also work differently than in most Wars games. They are an actual unit on the battlefield, stronger than generic units but with their own sets of units they have weaknesses and advantages to. Their Groove powers are this game's answer to CO powers, typically effecting a small area on the battlefield. But unlike AW, the player's army receives no passive unit specialties or stat changes. Instead, some Commanders offer bonuses to certain types of adjacent units.

Both bases and Commanders restore health slowly each turn. Other units do not.

Critical hits, something that was randomized in AW, does not rely on luck in WG. Instead crits are a bonus that comes into play based off of the strategic placement of specific units. For example, pikemen gain a critical and defensive bonus when adjacent, and rangers will always crit unless they move before attacking.

The fantasy theme suits the AW style of gameplay well, something that shouldn't be too much of a surprise to Fire Emblem fans, but does a fantastic job of fitting the AW style of gameplay. Soldiers are your infantry, pikemen are your mechs, cavalry are your tanks, archers are your artillery, and so on.

The characters are story are likable enough, even if the cast isn't as lovable as the characters from Wars World. A quick look at the game's informative Codex shows off the 12-or-so characters you'll meet across the story's four kingdoms, and delves a bit into each of their back-stories and gameplay differences. If Mercia doesn't appeal to you with her plucky personality and Andy-like healing ability, and Ragna doesn't inspire laughs with her failed attempts as a rival and her dragoon-like spear jump ability, then maybe you'll be happy to know that you can play as the goodest boye of all, Caeser - a canine commander who can inspire troops with a second-wind.

Having played a couple of hours, I am very happy with WarGroove. It is a definite recommendation to Advance Wars fans, or even someone who has never played an AW-like game but would like to do so.

I recommend playing in docked mode for the campaign at least, as reading the in-game text in handheld mode seems like it would be hard on the eyes.

Avatar image for mandzilla
#2 Edited by Mandzilla (4084 posts) -

Thanks for the write up Ovirew! I was already hyped for this game, but reading through your post there just made me even more excited to play it. I like that they stuck to the formula but at the same time made improvements here and there.

Currently playing through AW: Dual Strike and then onto Dark Conflict, so hopefully by the time they're completed Wargroove might be on sale. :D

Avatar image for Ovirew
#3 Posted by Ovirew (8992 posts) -

@mandzilla: np, glad you are enjoying these kinds of games too!

Dual Strike is probably one of my favorite games ever. I actually really liked that the story shifted to Jake and Rachel fighting their own skirmish against Black Hole in Omega Land while the others were rebuilding their continents in Macro Land and Cosmo Land. I liked all of the new additions to the game, it felt like the ultimate version of AW.

Days of Ruin was not a bad game by any means, but it sought to be a little more realistic and less cartoony than the others, leading to a dreary story about war. I liked that Intelligent Systems tried some different things with DoR/DC, but for me the setting of Wars World and the CO's there embodied the funness of the gameplay, without dwelling too much on the horrors of bloodshed. I remember one cool thing was this motorcycle unit that had light guns on it, that was pretty cool.

But yeah, WarGroove is pretty awesome. I'm still really early in the campaign, but I've gotten to play as the three Cherrystone characters. While I'd love for IS to take a break from FE after "The Three Houses", and make a brand new AW game for the Switch, WG is filling a gap that has seriously needed to be filled.

Avatar image for mandzilla
#4 Edited by Mandzilla (4084 posts) -

@Ovirew: Absolutely, have always been a huge turn-based strategy fan. In some ways they remind me of an old game based on British history called Battlefield Academy. In that you had to manage supplies, use terrain and unit counters. I think you can still play it on the BBC website. xD

Dual Strike is incredible. Like you say, the characters really make the game. Yup agreed, it's almost like a Pokemon Yellow or Crystal for the original GBA Advance Wars games, an ultimate edition yes. Really enjoying playing through it now. :)

Hmm yeah, I've heard Dark Conflict/Days of Ruin went in a more dark and gritty direction. A lot of people seem to prefer Dual Strike for the reasons you mentioned there, but I will keep an open mind while playing it. Quite liked the idea of having a realistic and depressing AW to contrast alongside the cartoony fun Dual Strike lol.

Hey well glad to hear you're enjoying WarGroove so far! I hear it's really excellent so I'll bet there's many hours of fun ahead for ya. Damn right though, after The Three Houses they need to show AW some love instead of neglecting it.

Avatar image for Ovirew
#5 Posted by Ovirew (8992 posts) -

I guess the game made back its development costs in the first 3 days on sale. Nice.

They announced bug fixes, more scene-skippy features, and new content will all be in the works, as well as some DLC.