Wargroove is a fantastic strategy-arcade game, period. From the core gameplay to the cute, lively sprites, this game barely needs a written review, I can just recommend this game as surefire buy for gamers who like this genre even in the slightest.
We mainly follow a girl named Mercia and her path of fighting rival nations, teaming up with others and finding the path to ruling her nation. The story is surprisingly full of personality as the conversations are simple, comedic and to the point. The characters are interesting and the plot line takes the player down a main path and side stories to allow the player to enjoy various story elements when she or he wants.
This game takes inspiration from various other arcade strategy games and adds a number of twists, perfecting the gameplay along the way. With well placed learning tools and great pacing, the game stays interesting and deep while never feeling sluggish or dull.
The basic mechanics of building an army, capturing cities and destroying enemies is perfected here. The balance of unit types, strengths and abilities is almost mind blowingly perfect. I love how well the game is self balanced while allowing for creativity in attacks and defenses, never feeling like I had to play a certain style in order to win.
Other than the main campaign, there is multiplayer (local and online), a custom content creator, an arcade mode and puzzles. The local multiplayer supports four players and feels just like playing a board game like Risk or Axis and Allies. With custom maps, settings, various heroes with specific and unique abilities and a wide variety of units, the multiplayer has a lot to offer and feels different every time. The online multiplayer works like playing chess with a pen pal, take your turn and send it to your opponent. This allows for playing with a friend online quick or long depending on the desires of the players.
Arcade is just a mode that pits the player versus AI that gets increasingly more difficult for five rounds. The arcade doesn’t have much depth otherwise, but it is a great add-on for those that just want to hop in and play a quick couple of games and practice playing random levels and opponents.
Creating maps and even whole campaigns is surprisingly easy. I didn’t master any of the storytelling elements, but making your own level and putting them on a map for players to work through is pretty amazing and a fun addition to allow players to make their own stories and epic battles. This tool has a lot of potential, a person could make their own story or recreate all of Lord of the Rings if they wanted.
Lastly, the puzzles are a fun and fresh look at the game that really puts players to the test on their army management, map awareness and other more advanced skills. Another thing to mention about the game is how well it keeps track of every campaign, arcade and multiplayer match. If you turn off the console, exit the game or quit abruptly to play a different mode, the game will save automatically. The next time a player goes to any of those modes, it will put up a screen with options to continue the last game in that mode or start a new one. This is a wonderful quality of life addition because it really allows players to play as much as they want and then hop off or on without worrying about losing progress.
Wargroove is very charming and looks great the entire time. With cute menus that have characters moving around in the background, well crafter sprites and unique factions that vary in appearance and color and slick battle animations, this game is a treat to watch every moment.
All of the music is also surprisingly entertaining throughout the battles. The sound effects and slight voice acting dispersed through the text dialogue boxes adds so much wonderful personality to battles and cutscenes.
As stated in the Gameplay sections, there are a lot of modes to play in single player with the base game alone. However, adding the custom maps, campaigns and things that can be downloaded and played from the online community, there is a lot of things to do long after the puzzles are completed, the arcade is run through and campaign finished.
The multiplayer, local and online, works wonderfully and goes fast enough that players can set up a match to last 40 minutes or 2 or 3 hours, it just depends on what people want to play. Adding in custom maps and scenarios allows for a lot of really fun possibilities to experience with others.
What It Could Have Done Better
Honestly, the only thing that might have been a nice addition would be a 2X speed, just to make things a bit faster. But thinking and planning attacks takes time anyways, so this feature would only be helpful in a few occasions. In other words, this game gets everything right.
This review was short and to the point for one reason, and one reason alone, Wargroove is awesome and worth the time and money. It is a super well polished title, it has hours and hours of content ready to be played and an endless amount of possibilities ahead of itself.