Wargroove-Review Wargroove Review

   30/01/2019 at 18:28       Chris OToole       0 COMMENTS. - Score 5/5
 - PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, Tactics

Review by Ashley Fiddes.

 

What to say about Wargroove, anyone who has ever played a turn-based tactics game (ala Advance Wars) will know the basics. You summon troops, capture bases which give you cash every turn which is used to summon more troops to capture more bases and give you more cash. Eventually, you build a big enough army that you move your troops against the enemy and crush them (or just as likely, if you are me, get crushed by them). But, drilling down to such a base level of understanding does not give Wargroove the credit it deserves.

It is not just a turn-based tactics game, it is a very good turn-based tactics game.

The characters and art give the impression that this game will be cute and relaxing and in the first few missions, this seems to be the case. But by the end of Act 1, the big bad appears and you are tasked with rescuing the townspeople whilst slowly being overrun by more and more forces of evil. Eventually, after the townspeople were finally gone from the map, I had a mad scramble to get the commander across to the exit. To do this I found myself throwing unit after unit at the growing horde of enemies and watched them being devoured, again with a cute animation of a ghost leaving their disappearing bodies. Eventually, she escaped, and I was awarded 1 star. This single star stared at me disapprovingly as I was sent back to the overworld map. Instead of moving forward, as I have done in many games, I found myself heading back in, in an attempt to get the 3 stars I felt my commander (Queen Mercia of Cornerstone) deserved.

You see, each mission you are able to gain up to three stars for a perfect performance, these stars unlock concept art in the extras menu, which is a really nice reward and something to aim for when playing the game.

Eventually, around act three, I had to concede that getting more than one star was currently beyond me, I was throwing myself too far forward to defeat the boss or destroy the stronghold as quickly as possible and getting overwhelmed. You see, I have played a lot of tactics games in the past, but that doesn’t mean I am any good at them. My natural game style is to be as aggressive as possible, which when you are faced with three quarters of a map full of enemy soldiers seems to be a bad move. Thankfully, this game has me covered with some fantastic difficulty options, do you want a little more cash at each turn (or a lot), just head into the options and turn up the dial. If you are finding the map commander is getting overwhelmed, you can turn damage taken down. This slider allows you to drop damage down to only 20% of the usual, not that I ever felt the need to be that overpowered. I dropped damage taken down to 60% midway through Act 4, the punishment for doing that the max stars you can receive is locked at 1. All that means is I know I will need to head back in at some point to unlock the other two stars, if I am brave enough. Additionally, if you find the game too easy, you can increase the difficulty using the same three sliders – damage, cash and groove.

Groove is a unique skill that is possessed by each of your commanders and range from summoning an ally to your side to summoning winged bombs that you can use to detonate next to enemies causing considerable damage. It is a useful skill that can turn the tide of a battle if used correctly or can cause you to scream at your switch when used (far too often) poorly.

As you progress through the story you are challenged by a number of enemy commanders, some of which become allies in the future, others become a constant thorn in your side. Before and after each of the battles you are treated to a quick scene setting up the situation as you see the commander chosen for the mission coming face to face with the enemy. My favourite of these scenes (in Act 4) revolves around Maru and really made me smile. These scenes are fun little moments whilst managing to push the story along at decent pace.

By completing the main campaign missions you unlock a whole raft of extra things to do in the game, from a number of side missions, the first that unlocks sees you as commander doggy dog as you rescue a village from being kidnapped (I managed to get all the villagers killed during the fight but it’s the thought that counts right?) and beating that mission unlocks the commander doggy dog arcade challenges. Additionally, by beating one of the middle acts you unlock puzzle mode which gives you one turn to beat a map and can be super tricky but satisfying when you finally pull them off.

Finally, you have a multiplayer mode and a create your own map/campaign mode. These two modes really seem to be where the game will have its legs and I look forward to trying other people’s creations, mine were either far too easy or far too hard.

So far in Wargroove, I have managed to complete the main story (using a lower difficulty) and have played some of the puzzles/ side missions. From this I can tell you that it is one of my favourite tactics games that I have ever played, clearly helped with the accessibility options allowing me to beat the game (by covering up my tactical deficits with its difficulty options) as well as a vast array of different units and commanders to use in battle. The only slight disappointments I have had are the slow turn speeds, each of the unit’s movements are deliberate and time consuming and skipping them means holding a button down for 2 seconds. Late on in the game I found that you could skip the attack sequence using the options but in truth I didn’t want to skip them, just for them to be sped up. Additionally, you will find most maps only allow you to use one commander per battle and you can start at a major disadvantage and be quickly overwhelmed. These small gripes do nothing to dampen my enthusiasm though, and I can see myself coming back to Wargroove throughout the year attempting to get those three stars.

 

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