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Wargroove strategically shuffles into stores today

Getting back into the groove

Wargroove is out now, and clearly an Advance Wars game with the serial numbers filed off and replaced with Chucklefish branding. I am entirely fine with this, and you shouldn't count that as criticism in the slightest. Clearly inspired by Intelligent Systems's accessible-but-tough strategy series, Wargroove has a few ideas of its own, and lots of maps, missions and little soldiers to boss around. It also has a playable commander who is a literal dog that just barks and chases its tail adorably, inspiring its men to fight with the strength of gods. Check out the launch trailer below.

Brendan's Wargroove review sums the game up well, and the podcast chatterboxes talked about it, too - Wargroove is Advance Wars, almost to a fault. This means that sometimes something unexpected will happen late in a half-hour-long mission and you'll get stomped. While its campaign mode starts out simple, it gradually ramps up to head-spinning complexity, despite its tongue-in-cheek writing and adorable sprites. Oh, and yes, those are the carnivorous Floran plant-people from Starbound as one of the playable factions - good of you to notice.

One of Wargroove's big differentiating features is Critical Hits - a unit will do double damage if you fulfil the conditions listed in its description. Pikemen get beefy when they're standing next to other pikemen, while archers hit harder if you don't move before firing. This means you've got to keep all those extra rules in your head, plus keep your commander safe - unlike Advance Wars, they're a unit on the battlefield, too.

On top of a big story mode and online (or local) multiplayer, there's a lot to chew on here. The Arcade mode gives you a five-mission mini-campaign for each character, there's a bunch of standalone maps and even a single-turn puzzle mode. As the trailer shows, Wargroove also has a powerful mission editor, allowing you to create whole new story-driven campaigns, cutscenes and all. Last of Wargroove's big perks is full cross-platform multiplayer. PC, Xbox and Switch players can play together. Hopefully the PS4 players (when their version is eventually released) will be able to get in on the party, too. Rather than use Steam Workshop, the game has its own built-in sharing hub for user-made missions and maps, which appears to be cross-platform too. Nice.

Wargroove is out now for £16/€17/$20 on Steam and Humble, with a GOG version coming soon.

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Dominic Tarason