I promise you, I have tried countless times to get into big, heavy, turn-based strategy gaming. I have so many half-finished titles that are just sitting there waiting for me to find the motivation to pick them up again. The only issue being is that they don't really cater to those that prefer the action-packed flow of a hack and slash, or the fluidity of a speedy platformer. They require you to think; something that I'm not always in the mood to do when it comes to games.
Recently we had some friends stay over the weekend, a perfect time to buckle down into some meaty multiplayers and enjoy not having to select the AI option as another player. After several rounds of Smash, Mario Party and other such colourful titles, one of our guests suggested we play something called Wargroove - a strategic war game - on the Switch. I wasn't really feeling it from the get go. I wanted to be able to play, have a laugh, and chat with our mates, not sit for hours and carefully plan out what square my character was going to move to next and do nothing else. I eventually agreed, but kept my phone nearby in case the boredom set in (which I believed it inevitably would.)
Firstly we got to pick our characters. Okay wow, I thought. A decent range of colourful characters, each with their own personality traits and special powers. Plus a decent selection of female characters. So far I am impressed. But then again picking a character is always my favourite part, even if the play is subpar, so I was yet to gauge what my actual thoughts were on the game itself.
I despise the UI in most strategy games. A tab for this, a stat chart for that, endless rows of numbers and meaningless adjectives that you need to fully understand in order to play the game. At the end of it all it basically makes it not worth playing. Wargroove certainly had the quantity, but the quality was significantly better. The stats and charts were simplified enough so that a layman like me could understand them, but not so much that it felt it was taking the piss. Also half of the tabs I didn't even need to use/look at in order to play the game. This was a big positive as I could just focus on the action.
So the game began, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how easy I picked up the play style - literally within about one or two turns of it. There's loads of awesome little features in the game, mainly stemming from the characters you pick. Each character has their own music per turn and, although the ranks of the 'warriors' you send out into battle are the same, depending on what character you play as determines what they're called/how they look. For example I played as the Japanese Empress, so her battle dog unit was a Shiba Inu (which upon discovering was met with a squeal of joy.) As with the menus and such, the board we were playing on was also clear enough to figure out a proper strategy.
Something that really stood out to me in Wargroove was the colour palettes. Simple, yes, but the way colour is used in the game is integral to its play. Also it fully demonstrates how something with a serious topic (war) doesn't just have to be various degrees of browns and greens to appear "gritty." For a game that you spend a significant amount of time playing at a time, having the visual element there really helps you to become invested in what you're doing. Trust me, once the game got going I didn't need to look at my phone!
I lost in the end but it was a battle well fought, and I genuinely enjoyed playing it too!
My first impression of this game is a very good one, and it's safe to say I downloaded it almost instantly. (Only £16 on the Switch store - get in!) We only played a "quick" 4-player round, so I'm excited to see what 1 and 2-player options this game has as well.
If you're someone like me that isn't really a fan of these types of games, I'd wholeheartedly recommend giving Wargroove a try. There's a different flavour about it that I've certainly got a taste for and am looking forward to trying more. It's also a great (almost) chill multiplayer game as well that does require some brain cells, but not so many that you can't play it when you're hungover for example.
And if you're STILL not sold on it, one of the playable characters is a dog called Caesar that's a General. So yeah, either way, you're gonna want to check it out for that.