Feeling lost without 'Advance Wars'? 'Wargroove' is here for you

Feeling lost without 'Advance Wars'? 'Wargroove' is here for you

It’s been just over 11 (!) years since the release of Advance Wars: Days of Ruin on the Nintendo DS. In those ten years, the strategy franchise’s sister series rose to incredible heights, as Fire Emblem took the Western world by storm with a number of Nintendo 3DS titles, a musou spinoff game and a mobile title in Fire Emblem Heroes. So where the heck is Advance Wars?

That question is at the core of what developer Chucklefish (Starbound) has in place for Wargroove. This turn-based strategy game is littered with homages to the Advance Wars series, but it quickly charts a path for itself, with a colorful cast of characters and a fully-formed narrative that fans of the former could only hope for in a future release.

Wargroove is exactly the game you want it to be — and more.

The animation of the game’s many levels and its characters feels right at home undocked on the Switch. The colors are bright and the sound is poignant, all touchstones of Advance Wars now evolved here in the world of Wargroove.

The setting in Wargroove isn’t modern military, though, as it leans way more into the fantasy DNA that it’s a game like Fire Emblem. Knights, dragons and others fill out your and your enemy’s rank. Oh, and there’s a dog commander. A dog commander.

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The game’s campaign has plenty of meat on it, with a number of modes set to support it — from a multiplayer suite to custom games, with an editor and everything already in place for fans to create plenty of user-generated content.

Sure, there are moments in the game’s mostly typical adventure that seem to drag on, but they’re held together by smart writing and a self-referential attitude. Despite its cute overcoat, there are darker themes at play, with things like assassination, xenophobia and more all woven into the game’s plot.

Wargroove can also get extremely difficult at times, and its staggered introduction of new units and gameplay elements continuously offers a puzzle for the player to solve. Lategame levels are a lot less straightforward, and honestly have more in common with a game like Into the Breach than Advance Wars.

As a feather in the hat that is the Nintendo Switch’s indie game library, Wargroove certainly stands out — and it’s the perfect palette cleanser for what is sure to be a crazy 2019 for gaming.

Wargroove is now available on PC, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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