Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4
Release Date: February 1, 2019 (Playstation 4 sometime later in 2019)
My Rating: 4/5
Wargroove seemed to be right up my alley when I first heard about it. Being a turn-based tactics game reminded me of the Fire Emblem franchise, and the developer is one of the guys who helped create Stardew Valley.
Wargroove is a turn-based tactics game, with you controlling an army against an opposing army in each mission. There are several types of units to control, each with their own weaknesses and strengths, amid the map’s terrain. Each mission gives you a goal to complete in order to advance and decent freedom to strategize how you want to win.
Each mission starts you with the commander of the army — usually one of the main characters of the story — and a handful of other soldiers, be they swordsmen, spearmen, knights, or battle pups (my personal favorite), as a few examples. Each map provides several villages to capture, helping to fund your army so you can recruit more soldiers each turn at the barracks.
Shaping your own army for each map guarantees that no two play throughs are alike. Want to flood the map with knights? Go for it. Are rangers with their bows and arrows more your speed? Use them to attack everyone from a distance. Aside from the ground units, there are also sea and air units to command. Of course, you’ll want to mindful of the units’ weaknesses against other types of units, as well as how each unit can perform critical hits. Using strategic placement of your units so they can deal greater damage to the enemy is all part of the game’s challenge.
Each commander that you unlock and play as has his or her own special ability called a “groove.” The commanders’ grooves are activated when their groove meters are filled while fighting. These grooves can change up the battle in a variety of ways, such as healing nearby allies, allowing allies to move again, or even manipulating the map itself.
Single-player modes include campaign, arcade, and puzzle. Campaign mode allows you to follow the game’s story, while arcade challenges you to pick a commander and fight against five other commanders in a series of battles on randomly generated maps. Puzzle mode gives players just one turn in order to complete the objective of the map. Wargroove also offers local and online multiplayer, as well as the ability to create your own maps to share with others.
The art of this game is a stylized 16-bit, merging retro and modern, with an anime-like opening. It’s bright and colorful, and the scenes and maps shifted to match the mood of the story. It’s definitely a charming look for a tactical game.
The music of the game is great as well, with the sound effects and small voice clips being spot on in a game about war and battles. The music matches the mood of the scenes just as the art does. My favorite sound effect is when a unit of ground recruits goes charging at the enemy with that little cheer!
The main story mode of Wargroove involves the young queen of Cherrystone fighting to reclaim her kingdom after the death of her father and subsequently retreating further into the continent for allies.
The undead legion of Felheim overwhelms Cherrystone’s army by sheer numbers, causing Queen Mercia and her followers to seek help from the Heavensong Empire. While traveling to Heavensong, clashes between Cherrystone and the empire, as well as the Floran Tribe, happen but Mercia eventually receives the aid she was seeking.
As Mercia returns to Cherrystone to face the Felheim Legion, one of the Felheim commanders reveals that she had orchestrated the war in order to conquer the world herself by unlocking an ancient weapon called the Requiem. With the Requiem unsealed, Mercia and her allies seek to stop the guardian of Requiem as well as Mercia’s dark doppelganger in order to seal the Requieum once more and bring peace back to the continent.
Wargroove was a fun throwback to the retro turn-based tactic games, giving a fresh take on the genre. The several modes — both single player and multiplayer — give their own challenges and allow you to strategize differently with each play through, giving this game plenty of replay value. Aside from this, the developers are working on post-game content as well, which may make you want to pick up the game again after a first run through.
Originally published at https://doublexjump.com on February 25, 2019.