I will continue to be bad at turn-based tactics games and I will continue to still love playing them. Warborn has mechs, so whatever I lose in ability, I make up for with mechs. The more mechs, the better as far as i am concerned.
Warborn share a lot fo similarities with the likes of Advanced Tactics, Wargroove and Tiny metal. A turn-based tactics game that looks simple but has a rather deep level of involvement.
As with the aforementioned games, I found with Warborn that I was able to get someway in, getting by following the tutorial, but as soon as the stabilisers came off, I fell apart. It is a sign of a good game for me. It teaches you what to do, then trusts you to then do it all yourself with little hand holding. So I did struggle a bit to get to grips with the game mechanics for a bit, but when I did get through any single campaign mission, I felt like I was on top of the world. Any game that can make me feel like that is doing something right.
One thing I can never really care about in these games is the story. You get the usual dialogue with pop up avatars and it gives a reason to play the game. Aside from that though, I found myself not really caring and not actually taking it it. After a while I realised I hadn’t followed it at all and skipped it to get to the gameplay itself.
It is purely down to my attention span and having kids running about, so don’t take it as me saying the story is bad or anything. I just didn’t care. It looks good visually, with a cartoon style that works well. The characters have a charm to them in the looks department and feel pretty grounded, considering the mechs and things.
It is the gameplay where the game shines. It is the usual turn-based affair, with you having various win conditions to meet, with much of it coming down to defeating the enemy and claiming territory. Again, if you’ve played any of the earlier mentioned games, then you’ll get the idea.
You’ll use various units with different skills to dominate the battlefield, This is where you really do need to engage your brain. All out attack won’t work and neither will be being too defensive. You need to strike that balance. Yet the same strategy won’t work every single time, thus forcing to to keep thinking and adapting to any given situation.
Your units all have different abilities, strengths and weaknesses and how you use them is critical. Some will only be usesful for healing, so for capturing, others for buffs. As well as those who are geared towards combat. So learning how to make them work together will set you on the path to victory.
I found this the hard way, due to me being a bit pants at these games, but when it clicks, it makes so much sense. Games such as Warborn share a lot in common with chess and the ability to plan many moves in advance. Every time I found myself having to purely react to the enemy, I knew I was heading to defeat. Yet when I took my time and planned for what they could do, then and only then did I feel in control and able to win.
Yet in saying that above, there are missions in there that require a more defensive approach and will punish you for being too aggressive. These are usually missions that talk you with taking and defending territory. Despite initially thinking these would change the pace too much, I found myself glad to happen upon them for that change of pace.
There is a lot of game here. Around 40 missions in the campaign, as well as a map builder and skirmishes. Plenty to keep you going if you enjoy the genre. For me, someone who flirts with this type of game, rather than being a massive fan, it was enough to get through the campaign and move on.
I tried my hand at making my own maps, but it wasn’t the sort of thing I could really get my head round. There was also no way of sharing or playing shared maps, that I could tell, which would have been very welcome.
Multiplayer can be played offline or online and I had fun with the few games I managed at home with my son. Mainly because I could actually beat him easily. I daren’t take it online as I know I’d be humiliated.
Warborn is an excellent title and scratches that Advanced Wars itch better than Wargroove could manage in the end. Mechs are always fun to play with and this is no exception and a worthwhile addition to the genre.