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Wartile's world of moving dioramas comes alive today

Piping fresh Vikings, don't skald yourself!

Looking back, it's a surprise that we've not covered Playwood Project's Wartile a little more actively. Last we mentioned it, the gorgeous-looking pseudo-tabletop strategy RPG had just landed on Steam, albeit as a very unfinished Early Access project. Even back then its tilt-shifted miniature worlds were bafflingly pretty to look at.

Almost a year has passed since then. As of today, Wartile is officially launched, free of the Early Access title and supposedly offering a good chunk more single-player content than earlier iterations.

Set in a mostly-historical world with a generous sprinkling of Norse mythology, you control a Viking warband, looting, levelling, recruiting and upgrading as you tussle with other clans, battle conquering English knights and a variety of creatures of myth and legend in search of fame and glory. Despite the stunning good looks and hex-based tabletop presentation of the game, Wartile plays out in real-time. Thankfully, those looking for a more relaxed pace are catered to here thanks to a variable time-scale, but there's no pausing the action to issue orders.

Combat in Wartile is cooldown-based, with each unit only being able to move or attack once every few seconds. Each unit also has an attached hand of ability cards, allowing them to do more interesting things on the battlefield, assuming the prerequisites have been met. Melee combat seems a largely automatic affair, with characters taking a swing at their most obvious target within range unless instructed otherwise.

Wartile seems to offer multiplayer in addition to its solo campaign mode, despite the Steam store page listing the game as single-player only. It does seem like the game has flown under everyone's radar, with very few Steam store reviews and even less coverage of it elsewhere, despite its immediately arresting aesthetic.

Were I not already neck-deep in tactical RPGs already (including a barely-touched copy of XCOM: War Of The Chosen and a few more obscure picks I've been promising to spend more time on), I'd have probably dug into this one myself, but failing that, I'm going to ask the audience here: Have any of you lovely lot played around with this earlier in development? How does the release version stack up against what came before? We'll hopefully have more thoughts on the game soon, once more RPS folks have gotten their grubby mitts on it.

Wartile is out now on Steam for £15/$20, with a respectable 25% discount if you buy it within the next week.

As an interesting aside, studio Zaxis are working on Fimbul, an action-RPG set in the same gritty Viking world as Wartile.

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Dominic Tarason