Wartile, a top-down strategy game on Steam, recently came out of Early Access and got a full release. Eager to see what it had to offer, I checked it out. The game massively impressed me with it's presentation; however, the gameplay was lacking in a few ways. Hardcore strategy fans will find it disappointing, but casual fans will likely enjoy it quite a bit.
Gameplay: A tale of two styles
Most strategy titles either choose to opt with turn-based combat or real-time combat. Wartile, though, chooses to mix the two. The result is a creative idea that unfortunately isn't executed well.
In Wartile, you take control of units from a top-down perspective and give them orders on where to go. Once they see enemies in range, however, they begin attacking them in real-time. From this point forward, you have to activate special ability cards at timed intervals, which are like turns, in order to change how they engage foes.
It's a neat concept, and sometimes it works quite well. The problem, though, is that there's very little actual strategic thinking required in order to succeed in Wartile. You have several different ability cards, sure, but the majority of enemies can be defeated by spamming only one of them. Because this is the most surefire way to ensure victory in most scenarios, the game feels repetitive as a result.
Presentation: Not a thing I would change
Like the gameplay mechanics, Wartile's presentation is completely unique. Unlike the gameplay, though, there's not a single thing wrong here.
Where most titles choose to make their environments look realistic and immersive, this game instead opts to create a virtual tabletop gaming experience, Everything from mountains to trees looks as if they were carved by hand, and the play space in which the gameplay occurs is designed to look like a high quality Dungeons and Dragons board. Even the units look like board game pieces.
As if that wasn't good enough, the music and sound effects are also amazing, too. Wartile's score drives forward the action and makes the average gameplay feel more epic then it actually is, and it's always a treat to hear well done combat sounds like battle cries or blades clashing. Animations are also well done as well, and while some of them are a little choppy, it hardly takes away from the fun.
Performance: Copious crashing, good otherwise
Wartile, for the most part, is a smoothly running game. There are very few issues with things like screen freezes, framerate drops, and things of that nature.
However, there is one big problem: crashing. Before I could even get the game to launch, I had to spend a painful two hours trying to get Wartile to stop crashing at the main menu. No types of fixes were working, and I was about to put my fist through my monitor. Thankfully, it finally started working for an unknown reason, and I was able to play through it.
This doesn't seem to be a common issue, but I don't really see that as a valid excuse. The fact this happened to me (someone with more than the recommended level of hardware) means that it could very well happen for you, too. It might be a good idea to hold on buying this game for now and seeing if there are any patches that address this in the future.
Wartile for PC conclusion
While Wartile is a gorgeous and beautifully sounding game, the lack of challenge or depth in its gameplay and the risk of severe crashing problems holds it back from being something greater.
- Great visuals and sound.
- Unique gameplay concept.
- Lack of challenge.
- Not much strategic thinking required.
- Heavy crashing problems.
Wartile is available on Steam for $19.99.
This review was conducted on a PC, using a copy provided by the publisher.
Looks amazing but I don't get a good impression of how it's played. I don't think it's so bad as the review makes it. Nevertheless, I think most of these kind of boardgame like games would benefit from hotseat multiplayer. You'd be surprised at how many games that seem to be a perfect match for local multiplayer just lack any kind of multiplayer (Tomb of Annihilation, I'm looking at you).
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