Parents need to know that “Wargroove” is a turn-based, fantasy strategy game with a Japanese animation aesthetic available for download on the PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and Windows PCs. It contains a multiplayer mode that can be played locally or online (players are randomly matched with opponents or can search friends with a friend code) and offers voice chat through popular online voice chat service, Discord. Discord users are automatically connected to the online “Wargroove” community, which means they could be exposed to profanity, inappropriate conversations, and bullying. Built in tools let players create and share their own maps and mini-movies online; to do the latter, players must agree to the game’s EULA (End User License Agreement) which states that while developer Chucklefish is dedicated to protecting kids from exposure to content deemed obscene, racist, or bullying, user-created content isn’t monitored by the company. While players use swords, catapults, and other weapons to destroy opponents, the pixel art of the game eliminates the possibility of blood and gore being shown, and defeated enemies simply vanish from view.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
“Wargroove” is a retro-inspired indie strategy game done in a retro anime bobble-head style. The dastardly Lord Valder is in search of a legendary weapon called Requiem, and you — as Mercia, Queen of Cherrystone — must stop him. The battle between good and evil plays out in the single player campaign mode through turn-based battles. Commanders take turns moving, recruiting units (soldiers, knights, pikemen, etc.) and capturing villages to build resources. Winning depends not only on using your turns well, but noting the conditions of the terrain along with your units’ strengths and weaknesses. It helps too, to master Commanders’ “Wargrooves,” unique powers that charge up during battle. Additional single player gameplay comes in the form of two unlockable modes: Arcade mode, where you fight one-off battles against the AI, and Puzzle mode, where you’re tasked with winning battles in a certain number of rounds. Once you’re ready to trade the AI for real human opponents, you can host or join local and online two to four player multiplayer matches, and when you’ve mastered the existing maps, you can use the game’s built in tool set to create your own.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
This Indie strategy game, with its anime story, great pixel graphics, and addictive turn-based gameplay makes it great for strategy fans and tactical newcomers alike. Players young and old will be immediately sucked into the game’s land of Aurania thanks to charming, colorful pixel art and a noble, brave heroine — Princess Mercia of Cherrystone. An expert tutorial teaches you and Mercia how to fight, making rules that could feel overwhelming feel accessible and fun. After that, turn-based combat in the single player Campaign mode gives you plenty of time to learn strategy and think about your next moves. The twelve hour Campaign spins a good (if typical) fantasy yarn full of emotion and unexpected humor, and finishing it unlocks additional Commanders, Wargroove lore, and the entertaining single player Arcade and Puzzle modes. It also gives you the skills you need to take on multiplayer.
One of the game’s best features is the built in tools that gives you the power to create your own maps and cutscenes and share them online. These tools are so amazingly intuitive and easy, you can make your own custom map in minutes. There’s a healthy number of player-created maps in the Custom Content menu already, and it’s easy to imagine ambitious types creating some incredible story campaigns. With all of this on offer at a reasonable $19.99, “Wargroove” is good, kid-friendly entertainment that will keep your kids busy for hours. It’s so good in fact, you’ll be sneaking off to play it once the kids are in bed.
RATING AND CONTENT
Recommended for ages 10 and older
Quality: 5 out of 5
Positive messages: 3 out of 5
Positive role models: 3 out of 5
Ease of play: 3 out of 5
Violence: 2 out of 5
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Sex: 0 out of 5
Language: 1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 0 out of 5
Consumerism: 0 out of 5
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
Release date: July 23, 2019
ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence