Wargroove - Review

Author: Biagio "Shinx" Etna
Date: 2020-07-31 00:16:48
Nintendo Switch, recently at the center of numerous speculations about a new "slim" re-release, certainly does not lend its side in terms of the number of indies available. However, there is a clear difference between the flood of games that crowd the e-Shop and Wargroove, the turn-based strategy published by Chucklefish. The British game does not hide its sources of inspiration, on the contrary, it is a proud standard-bearer and from the first moments of the game one senses the enormous dormant potential between its strings of code. Although also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, Switch seems the perfect container to accommodate this wonderful mosaic of pixels and it is precisely the version for the Nintendo console that we are going to analyze. Wargroove opens with the most classic of coups, tracing many clichés of fantasy matrix without being cloying or redundant. The characters of the game represent real icons, and the narration focuses more on the chorality of the story rather than on the introspection of the individual protagonist. The result is a very enjoyable fairy tale with medieval hues, which thanks to a refined aesthetic frame and a rich and profound playability imposes itself as one of the best turn-based strategy of the last few years.

Wargroove has the advantage of showing us its qualities in a painstaking and gradual way, in perfect line with its excellent learning curve. By carefully adding so many small "playful bricks", the title leads us to manage an immense army in a fluid and stratified way, but never so complex as to be frustrating. In this regard there is a sort of encyclopedia always available, to draw on both for the narrative context and for the gameplay elements. The excellent localization in Italian only amplifies this welcome feature, which is proposed as something far more encyclopedic than a simple in-game manual.

The fights follow closely as Intelligent Systems has shown us over the years with Advance Wars first and then Fire Emblem. There are troops to move within limited scenarios and fights that trigger whenever you come into contact with the enemy's range of action. Here too there is no lack of counterattacks, promptly anticipated (with obvious margins of approximation) from a preliminary screen. This helps us in the planning phase, even if the heart of gameplay is marked by the conquest of villages and the management of one's fortress. The latter is able to generate money useful to hire new militia, making the clashes very dynamic.

Regarding the stratification of the gameplay, the terrain and the weather conditions play a very important part in the positioning of their units. The predominant element, however, remains the economic micro-management of the troops, capable of opening up a truly remarkable range of choices. Conquering outposts and villages gives us the opportunity to recruit new soldiers, but everything has a price: for this reason, defending your bases - like assaulting enemy ones - is an essential feature to get the better of your opponent. The number of recruitable units is vast and really well characterized: it ranges from simple infantry, through pikemen, archers and cavalry, but there are golems, assault ships, ballistae and flying dragons.

Each race then has its own unit, beautifully designed and animated. The death of the commanders leads to instant game over, but their strength fully balances the handicap. In addition to greater power and resistance to blows, the various leaders can accumulate energy and use it to launch Grooves, particular moves with various tactical functions. The fights can be customized by intervening on our stamina, the money earned and the accumulation of Groove points, a very intriguing way to change the level of difficulty. In this regard, the campaign is never frustrating, even if there are certain missions that are a little devious, which flood the battlefield with new enemies.

The single player is also enriched by mini-campaigns to be tackled with all the generals of the game, and there are also specific tests to enrich the offer, in which it is necessary to win in one turn. In addition to this powerful amount of content, a multiplayer mode, both local and online, capable of truly entertaining you for hours. The tactical heart that beats under the game structure artfully set up by Chucklefish makes the clashes with human opponents always very tight and balanced. We will not be at the level of chess, but we are close to it.

To top it all off, a very powerful editor, which gives players the same tools used by the developers to create the game. Thanks to the possibility of crossing their destinies also with PC and Xbox users (a romantic way to describe the cross-platform) the offer proposed by Wargroove is nothing short of cyclopean, and the title stands proudly as one of the biggest surprises of this beginning of 2019. In spite of battle royale, triple A and singer company.

I played Wargroove on Nintendo Swich thanks to a code received directly from the development team. I carried out the test mainly in a portable version, but also using a Samsung LE32B460B2W / XXC TV. I have recorded over 35 hours of gameplay, but between challenges, additional mini-campaigns, multiplayer and editors, longevity is almost infinite.