Advance Wars (Wii U Virtual Console) Review
Intelligent Systems are known for a lot of games, last year they blew everyone’s socks off with Fire Emblem: Awakening, but before that you may have heard of Advance Wars – if you’re an avid reader of this site you probably have.
Like Fire Emblem, Advance Wars is a deep turn-based strategy game. However instead of swords and magic, you’ve got tanks, soldiers, planes and jets. The world is in disarray and just like real life everyone is going to go to war over it. Each battle takes place a huge map, units can move once per turn and each unit has different abilities. Some repair, some can only attack air, some the ground. You’re given the ability to build new units on some levels and on others you’ll be playing ‘chess’ moving your pieces the right way to solve the battle.
Its an incredibly complex game, but the opening 15 missions are what amounts to the tutorial. If that sounds long that’s because it is. Luckily there’s a great and funny story behind this all. During the game you’ll take control of different Command Officers, these characters add another layer to the battles as each CO, like all the units have different abilities. One CO moves units further, others have a higher defense and when you’re raging in battle you’ll have hoped you’ve picked the correct commanding officer. Each officer also has a ‘special attack’ that builds up over time.
The single player will take many hours to complete and as it goes along gets incredibly difficult, the final mission can take literally hours and you’ll have to think ahead of the AI enemy. They don’t take no prisoners. You’ll be misusing the save feature at every turn, I guarantee it.
Now for multiplayer, on the original Game Boy Advance version the game was the complete package in regards to playing with your mates – providing your had the link cable or even two of them for four player action. You could play with one copy of the game or multiple.
However, here in the Wii U version there’s no multiplayer aside from ‘hot seat’ style play. You’ll have to pass around the controller or GamePad with friends locally to get some multiplayer fun in. This could impact your enjoyment of the game too as lots of the game is locked behind an in-game store, multiplayer was a fun way to earn coins and unlock these.
This lack of multiplayer also impacts the map creator, why bother making maps if you can’t play them against anyone? Sure you could take on the CPU – but if you’ve designed the map you’ve likely tweaked it to favour one person. You.
Advance Wars looks like a classic SNES game, not only in the art-style but also with the graphical effects it employs. The entire game is minimally beautiful and the interface helps you learn the game easily. The Game Boy Advance screen wasn’t the biggest, nor the highest resolution and Intelligent Systems made a complex strategy game work on a handheld.
On the Wii U Advance Wars works well, as Nintendo have tweaked the graphics to make the colours correct, compared to the washed out visuals you get on a normal GBA screen – and there’s of course fully customizable controls. Not that you’ll need to do much of that here. The game looks crisp on the GamePad screen and great blown up on the TV. Those 160 vertical pixels are working their butt off.
Advance Wars is a great strategy game that is playable by anyone, it does get tough but it’s a rewarding affair and a fun ride.
Fun note: Advance Wars is so good I even played it before I got my Game Boy Advance, I knew I was getting one for Christmas back in 2001 and would sneak it out of the box to play for a couple hours then pack the game and the Game Boy away again like it was never opened. But don’t tell anyone!