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Wargroove review: There are always more wars to fight

Wargroove is a fantastic and gorgeous sandbox strategy game that lets you build and share campaigns which are often more engaging than the actual story.

Are you the kind of player who loves creating stories and scenarios? Do miss the days of old when playing a turn-based tactical strategy game? Did you grow up playing Heroes of Might and Magic 3 with your friends? Then Wargroove is just for you.

Play the available game modes, and then sit down and construct a massive campaign and sharing it online.

War, Who Is It Good For?

Wargroove begins with most modes locked, which forces you into playing the first act of the single-player campaign. That’s because it serves as a sort of a tutorial and introduction to the rest of the game.

As you progress through the story, you get to experience the different mission objectives and a whole roster of units with which you to wage war. Sigrid is the first playable character, but make no mistake – she is not the main protagonist of the story.

After launching an assault on the human kingdom, the Felheim Legion retreats and prepares for a new war. Meanwhile, you take control of the newly appointed queen of Merica, and her two faithful allies: Caeser the royal canine, and Emeric the advisor and powerful mage. Each of them is a commander in the Human faction – The Cherrystone Kingdom.

Wargroove review: Exploring Through the fog of war
Exploring through the fog of war.

As the commanders, you try and find out why the Felheim attacked and started this war, all the while waging battle against them.

While progressing through the main and side missions, you encounter the two other playable factions of the continent of Aurania: The Floran Tribes, who consists of woodland and leafy creature, and the Heavensong Empire, the technologically advanced island nation.

Even though the game’s lore is vast and rich, the story still feels somewhat shallow. If you browse the game’s codex, you will discover background information on everything, but the story itself is slightly predictable and bland. I mean, playing through it with a kid might be a great experience, but veteran fantasy fans can probably guess the entire plotline from start to finish.

An Animated Battleground

It’s impossible not to enjoy the game’s look, thanks to the wonderfully drawn 2D graphics. The cool battle animations are a personal favorite of mine, though you can turn them off to shorten your playtime by half. Though, I can’t imagine who would want to miss Caeser’s smile animation when he wins a fight?

Take a look at this Wargroove cinematic trailer, that’s also the game’s opening montage. Beautifully animated and with lush colors, it’s the sort of video you can watch on repeat forever.

It’s kind of weird how much I love this game’s fight animations – seeing a dragon breathe fire on a platoon of soldiers riding giant sea turtles if a thing of terrible beauty. Although as I said before, every battle animation is pretty lengthy, so if you want to breeze through battles or have shorter turns, you’d most likely want to turn these off.

Get in the Groove

While fighting, you control one of the twelve playable commanders, all of which have a different ability called Groove. The Groove can vary, from healing or protecting your troops to dealing high damage to one or more units.

All factions have the same types of units, with different skins. From a tactical point of view, the lack of variety forces you to choose your side based in its commander’s Groove alone, or cosmetic preferences if that’s your thing.

Each unit has its strengths, weaknesses, and counters while also having critical strike conditions. Learning those stats is crucial to using them efficiently and tactically. For example, the pike-men can score a critical strike when they are adjacent to one another, so you should make sure they travel together through the map. Wounded units have a lower attack power, so you always need to think ahead and plan your orders and formations wisely.

Wargroove review: Using a Groove
Emeric performing his Groove.

Fights usually conclude when one side loses its commander or stronghold. So even though your commander is your most reliable unit, you still need to be careful how and when you use them. Add the fact that there’s no trace-back mechanic, and every mistake you make on the battlefield can very well be your last.

I will mention that while the gameplay is overall very smooth but not intuitive, which leads to a few “what did I forget to do this turn?” moments. Playing on PlayStation 4, it took me a couple of hours to get used to the key bindings, especially in the map and campaign creators.

Create Your Own War Stories

Without any explanation or tutorial, Wargroove kind of throws you to in the deep end when it comes to creating your own maps and campaigns. There are so many options, you’re sure to be overwhelmed at first, but you can become a pro in using the creator after playing with all the options for a few hours.

Making my own maps sent me on a nostalgic trip down memory lane, back to the days of Heroes 3. I remembered how fun it was sitting with a friend in front of my old PC, planning cool scenarios and watching the AI fight it out, hoping for an exciting outcome. It’s the same with Wargroove.

Wargroove review: Dragon fight
The fiery breath of a dragon.

A friend and I created a map where one side has 20 dragon units while the other has only a commander. Let me tell you, Valder the Felheim commander did not fair out well, but we enjoyed watching him try.

The map and campaign creators are where the game shines most. I suggest going over the in-game online content browser and downloading the “TingGroove Campaign V7” map – you will probably have more fun playing it than with the single-player campaign.

Taking the Battle Online

The game’s multiplayer mode offers a lot of content, playable both locally and online. In local play, you select a map fitting the number of players you wish to play (either human or AI) and set the match parameters, such as income from villages or the amount of time each turn lasts.

When you play online, you don’t have to stay near connected for the entire duration of the match. Each player can take their turn whenever they are available, meaning you can play with a friend in a completely different timezone, with each one of you playing when you’re awake. It may take longer, but it makes online matches feel more epic and calculated, like a game of chess.

While offering endless possibilities in all of its multiplayer modes, Wargroove doesn’t confine you to a single network. It supports full cross-play between all of the available platforms.

Wargroove review: Barracks for ground units
The Floran ground units’ Barracks.

Wargroove is a beautiful and entertaining sandbox strategy game that you can take seriously, or goof around with a friend. You probably won’t get attached to any of the characters in the main campaign, but you will learn all there is to know on how to win wars and prepare yourself for the online community maps.

With virtually unlimited content, there are endless possibilities and a ton of replay value. The online community maps will make sure you always have something to do, so you better get in the groove for war.


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