Wargroove, the adorable looking Advance Wars-alike from Chucklefish is set to besiege my heart on February 1st. The fantasy turn-based strategy game was high on my 2018 most-wanted list until it slipped to this year, and I'm excited to see if it passes muster. It may be swapping out cartoony modern armies for fantasy kingdoms, but almost everything else is familiar, right down to the battle animations and a range of playable commanders (one of which is a dog) with their own perks. Below, a release date trailer that could only be more anime if it had lyrics to sing along to.
The Nintendo-averse among you might never have played an Advance Wars game before, and have my condolences. They're lovely, accessible strategy games that can become ferociously complex once all sides start bringing out their more specialised units. Wargroove will have four playable factions (one of which are the carnivorous Floran plant-people from Starbound), and over twelve commanders split between them. As with Advance Wars, every commander has preferred unit types, but also a special 'Groove' ability that can swing an entire battle in one turn, if used right.
And here's one that shows off the game itself a little more.
It seems like Wargroove will have a lot of meat on its bones at launch, too. A full story-driven campaign, one-shot 'arcade' scenarios and a bundle of 25 single-turn puzzle maps. Local and online multiplayer (including co-op) is also in, and just in case you run out of things to do, the game comes with a robust map and scenario editor. As with the Advance Wars games before it, you can assemble new battlefields quickly and easily, but Chucklefish say it also includes advanced scripting features - players should be able to create whole new campaigns to share with others.
I've got my fingers crossed that the final game turns out as good as it looks. At this point, my only real concern is the soundtrack - what I've heard so far is pretty good, but whether it'll still be maddeningly catchy on the hundredth repeat is yet to be seen. Never underestimate the power of music in an Advance Wars game, or challenger for the crown.