There are two things you should know about the game of India Wargroove, which comes out on Friday in PC, Switch and Xbox One. The first is that it's a smart, demanding turn-based strategy game that's basically Advance Wars for modern times. The second is that you can play as a puppy wearing armor.
I played the early code Wargroove in the last week, and I like it very much. The basics are simple: In each mission, your army of color units will stand against the enemy army of color units, whether they are tree-hippies or furious skeleton warriors. You give yourself a lens – secure the base, assassinate the enemy commander – and a handful of units, then tell you to go and fight. You move units on a grid-based map, one at a time. Sometimes you could break one of your units into an enemy unit, and then you will see the short animation of the two who are going to her, and then one or both will suffer the damage. Each unit has its own strengths and weaknesses: Pikemen are strong but slow. Alchemists are easily killed, but they are devastatingly damaging the flying units. And the dogs are delightful.
A modern player may think it sounds a lot Fire sign, but really, Wargroove emulates Advance Wars, similar to the Nintendo series, which has been asleep since 2008 Fire sign, each of your units is a unique character and you start each mission with the final count. Compared, Advance Wars (and subsequently, Wargroove) will replace you with a phalanx of helpless troops. You can use those units to capture cities that create gold at every turn, and you can use this gold to buy more soldiers. The stronger the unit, the more expensive it will be.
What this means, you are always making interesting choices. Want to buy a cheap pikeman or save a more expensive knight? Do you want to get into a fast wagon to move your units closer to the fray, or lean with the archers and play defensive? And what about your commander, who is much stronger than a normal unit, but ends the game if he dies? Should she really be on the queue?
Wargroove is a game that requires your full attention. No matter what unit the first swing gets, the tide of the battle can change, so you will have to pay attention not only to where your enemies are, but how far they can move on to the next move. It's a wonderful brain experience that may feel slow in times – for a tip: TURN OFF combat animation! – but never boring.
To feel how Wargroove games, you can watch Kotaku video producer Paul Tamayo is playing on a mission here:
There are a few things, Wargroove which upset me. This is a challenging game and if you can not track where each enemy can potentially move further and which unit balances what other units you will not have a good time. Generally, I'm a big fan of difficulty-failure missions made several times more satisfied when I finally got around them-but sometimes the game takes cheap shots. It's not fun to lose a mission Wargroove because AI was allowed to multiply a lot of random units from now on.
You can not save the battle and there is no button to return, which means that a single misclick can bounce the whole game. WargrooveThe missions are very long, so sometimes it can mean an hour of progress. It's not fun again.
Still, Wargroove is a very good game full of intelligent missions and charming characters. (The story is rudimentary, mostly taking place during short cuts before and after each mission, but it's nice.) Victory in a hard battle is always satisfactory because winning is always the result of your own good decisions. And a top-down view combined with a mere addictive character makes it the perfect game for Switch.
You can also play as a puppy wearing armor.