If you’re a fan of strategy games then you may have heard of Wargroove, the newest game from the Chucklefish team. Wargroove came out earlier this year on the Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC but PlayStation 4 players were curiously left waiting for some unknown reason. Around five months after its initial release Wargroove has now landed on Sony’s platform and having spent a good amount of time with it I can vouch that it is one of the better options on the platform for strategy game aficionados.
Fans of Advance Wars will notice a lot of similarities between that game and Wargroove. The developers clearly took a lot of inspiration from it but Wargroove stands out on its own as well. Wargroove features a ton of content for both those who want to play alone and those who want to play with friends. The campaign mode in this game follows the story of Queen Mercia as she travels to put an end to an undead army and their evil leader. This is a great mode to start with to get to learn the ropes but you’ll be challenged as well. You can easily spend dozens of hours alone in this mode trying to conquer every level. The story didn’t blow me away or anything but it did enough to keep me playing it through to the end.
When you get done with the campaign you can try your hand at the Arcade mode that has you picking one commander from a selection of twelve and battling through five different maps. A puzzle mode is also included and has you trying to figure out how to win the battle in a single turn. When you get tired of playing alone you can play with up to four players either locally or online. Sadly this is where one of my problems with this version of the game crops up.
The PS4 version of Wargroove does not feature Cross-Play like the Xbox One, Switch, and PC versions do. Because of this you are left to only play with those on PS4 and in my time playing the game I struggled at times to find other people online to play with. It’s not the fault of the developers that Sony didn’t let them have Cross-Play but it is what it is. Not only that but because this version of the game arrived over five months after the other versions many people have simply either played this on other platforms and moved on or just lost interest in it altogether. I was able to play three matches though and they all performed quite well. While Wargroove on PS4 doesn’t have Cross-Play it does allow players on all platforms to create and share user generated maps. This further adds to the huge amount of content already in this game and ensures that you can always have something new to play in Wargroove.
It didn’t take me long to learn the gameplay basics in this game but there is a ton of depth here for those who really put in the time to learn every in and out of the systems. Your main goal on every map is to take out the enemy base and their soldiers while commanding your own units and capturing points on the map. Every unit under your command has their own attack power, movement pattern, and different strengths and weaknesses when fighting other units. You also have to pay attention to what kind of terrain you are having a battle on as it too can affect the defense of your units and their ability to move. Then there are critical hits that you can activate so long as you fulfill the circumstance that is required to do so. In addition to all of that you have a commander on the field as well who has their own special ability called a Groove. There are 12 different commanders in total and learning the Grooves and how to best use them can be critical to coming out on top. Some commanders can heal other units that are near them while others can block off your enemies.
Wargroove not only plays great but has a great colorful pixel art style on display as well. Attack animations are smooth but after seeing the same ones quite a few times I did start to just skip them in the interest of time. The soundtrack is really good too and is designed to usually fit what is going on such as softer tunes in quiet moments or more upbeat, hype ones while in battle. The trophy list on PlayStation 4 is a varied and quite challenging list. You’ll get quite a few for doing some things for the first time like completing a puzzle mode map, winning a skirmish game, or using a groove. Some of the harder ones though will be getting an S rank on every campaign mission and unlocking all the gallery items.
Wargroove is a great spiritual successor to the Advance Wars series and one I highly recommend to strategy game fans. It’s just a bit of a shame that this version released so long after the others and doesn’t have Cross-Play which can make finding online opponents difficult. Despite that, for only $20 you are getting a ton of content here with the lengthy campaign plus other modes such as arcade, puzzle, and more. Plus that isn’t even mentioning all of the user created content that can extend your playtime of this game well into hundreds of hours.
*Wargroove is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.