Wargroove is here, and people might see fans of Advance Wars-style games across the internet celebrating. This is a tactical game with a lengthy campaign, an arcade mode, puzzle levels, an editor that lets you make and share solo campaigns and maps and multiplayer maps across platforms, and both local and online multiplayer. It’s very well executed and quite fun, and a big part of that is due to how much personality is packed into the game. The distinctive commanding officers and their respective armies are all so detailed and unique, with their abilities, appearances, and attitudes enhancing thing and perhaps helping people when determining who to choose and which sorts of tactics to learn and employ.
The big way Wargroove stands out is with its commanding officers. The sides you’ll see when heading into Wargroove are Cherrystone Kingdom, Felheim Legion, Floran Tribes, and Heavensong Empire. Like Advance Wars, each faction has commanders representing it, each with a unique special ability that can help turn the tide. Every character has a backstory and their own unique attitude with some fun nuances to them. What sets them apart is that unlike Advance Wars, they take the field and sometimes have skills that only affect themselves, a small number of their own units, or an area, rather than the entire map and force for an entire period of time.
This means certain factions can have specific hallmarks. For example, Cherrystone Kingdom is full of supportive commanding officers who have a positive effect on their troops. Caesar “inspires” the four units immediately next to him, resulting in a Fire Emblem-style Galeforce move that allows the four units to act again if they had already used their turn. Emeric places a Cherrystone that increases defense for friendly units in a specific area as long as the gem is active. Mercia can use Healing Aura to restore up to 50% health to the units in a select area around her. Heavensong’s CO abilities have movement in common. Koji can send out two Sparrow Bombs that can move, occupy space, and explode to deal damage. Ryota’s Blade Dash allows him to dash through enemies, dealing damage and perhaps traversing more land than usual. Tenri sends out a tornado that can actually move a selected unit to another space within a certain range. You could look at an army, have a general idea of some commonalities their COs may share, and then work with that.
Wargroove‘s Arcade mode also helps to bring these people into the forefront. This is an alternative story mode present in addition to the campaign where you choose one of the officers you have unlocked (by working your way through the campaign.) You go through five opponents and follow a storyline about a rather hazardous weapon, with each allowing you to spend more time with a commander you may like and learn more about their attitudes and relationships with other COs in a different sort of situation.
It can even feel like the standard units in Wargroove have more personality. This is because each one of them has its own special nuances that allows them to be more effective in certain situations, allowing for critical hits. The spear-wielding units, known as the Dreadspear, Heronguard, Pikeman, or Stabber, deal critical hits if you make sure they are constantly next to another unit of that type. This might make them feel a little more personalized to a person than, say, the Advance Wars Mechs that are a comparable unit. Likewise, someone might find themselves getting more attached to using certain sorts of units, like the mage type Alchemist, Thunderbear, Shaman, or Warlock, because of their effectiveness against air and certain ground units, ability to heal nearby units for money, and critical hits if placed in a spot where they have at least three additional defense.
The unique character designs and codex entries for each of these sorts of units also helps add extra definition. While each army has the same types of air, ground, and sea units, each unit type has its own identity. This means they have unique names, histories, and appearances, and you might even see the individual units in a battle with different hair and skin colors, due to some randomization. Take the Gloom Giant Floran unit. Its codex entry paints it as a naturally occurring entity from the Great Tree that is a gentle protector when not in battle. Heavensong’s equivalent giant is an Oni, a mechanical battle puppet along the same lines as the commander Koji’s. Cherrystone Kingdom’s Golems are made of stone and each contain a Cherrystone inside. Meanwhile, the Felheim Revenant is a shadow bound inside armor with curses to fight at a commander’s bidding.
This kind of extra care could help people lean towards certain armies for both aesthetic and strategic reasons. Knowing your general units will function differently and the main choices for favoring a region could be based on character designs or specific commander abilities could cause people to explore an army they might not otherwise choose or attempt to work with certain characters because, say, the Heavensong Empire’s Shiba Inu dog units are endearing. There is a lot of personality here, and it all works toward making this tactical game stand out.
Wargroove is immediately available for the Nintendo Switch, PC, and Xbox One, and there is cross-play compatibility for custom creations and online multiplayer. It is also heading to the PlayStation 4. If you are looking for some custom maps, Siliconera currently has a few one player and two player maps available and is working on a campaign. You can find “Tanks? No Tanks!!!” with the code S275DHYF, “Puppy Surprise!” with 22VHF5AD, and “Bean Island 2: Bean There, Done That” at 473DYNHW.