Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a fantastic game that’s a billion hours on its own and has DLC to lengthen the experience even more. But what do you play if you’ve done it all within Three Houses and still have the urge for more turn-based strategy action? Try out these other titles on the Nintendo Switch!
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[NOTE: Based on backlog and life circumstances, I don’t think I’m going to finish the Wargroove campaign any time soon. As such, this is an impressions piece based on my time with it instead of a formal review.]
“If you want a new Advance Wars so much, why don’t you make it yourself?”
– Nintendo, probably
With Nintendo’s military strategy game still on ice a decade after we last saw it, Chucklefish steps up to this hypothetical challenge with Wargroove. Take the Advance Wars gameplay, set it in a Fire Emblem like medieval setting, and watch the profits roll in. But does it offer anything more than just a repackaging of tried-and-true ideas?
The Advance Wars series is one that I remember fondly for introducing me to the world of strategy games. When Nintendo first iced the franchise, I was deeply disappointed. But the more I thought about it over the years, the more I was okay with letting it go.
I think the fundamental reason why its sibling franchise Fire Emblem took off but Advance Wars didn’t was that the former was built around characters with names, faces, and a progression from beginning-to-end (assuming they didn’t die). The latter used nameless soldiers and disposable units. After a few iterations, Nintendo hit a wall with what they could do in digital version of Chess, ultimately pushing forward with a gritty tonal shift that failed to appease existing or new players while adding little to the tired tactics that had worn out its welcome.
With time and advents of game design on its side, the creators of Wargroove leveraged the modern design trope of hero units as a means of adding personality and emotional weight to the moment-to-moment tactics without going full-RPG. It may not seem like much, but it makes a tangible difference towards my enjoyment of the game.