Nintendo Direct Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp

Review: Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp

Last year, Nintendo made the decision to delay Advance Wars 1 + 2 Re-boot Camp due to the invasion of Ukraine. The series has faced several hurdles since it was revealed a remake was on its way including delays and a war that led to Nintendo temporarily shelving the finished project. Since then, fans have waited with bated breath for a new release date and to get their nostalgia fix. For a series that has been around for literal decades, it took some time but Wayforward and Nintendo are finally ready to show you once again why the series is so beloved.

Did you know that the Wars series dates back to the 1980s? Starting out on Famicom, the Wars series has over a dozen entries in its roster but none more popular than the ones on the Game Boy Advance. Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp is a remake of both Advance Wars and Advance Wars: Black Hole Rising. Both of these games were developed by Intelligent Systems who then went to work on Fire Emblem, leading them to success with that series and leaving Advance Wars to fizzle out.

Advance War Never Changes

I have a soft spot and a ton of nostalgia when thinking about Advance Wars. The first one in particular helped me get through a tough move and kept me busy for months. Having the opportunity to revisit both entries decades later is a wonderful way to look back and remember the fondness I’ve had for the series and what a potential new entry might look like. After all, the series basically disappeared in 2008 after Advance Wars: Days of Ruin effectively sidelined the series. Thankfully Wargroove has done a fine job standing in and giving the industry a worthwhile experience.

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Some of the most obvious changes you’ll immediately notice is the new art style Wayforward has incorporated. Given how much the industry has come in two decades, the sprites have been spruced up with detailed 3D models that fill the maps and paired with some vibrant maps that showcase how fantastic but familiar each sprite, character models, and maps truly are. Some of the designs have also received an upgrade and I can see why some may find them to be worse than the originals but for me, it rarely left a lasting negative impression.

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Anyone who’s played the original will tell you that the narrative threads are easily the weakest aspect of Advance Wars and given this is a spruced-up remake, don’t go in expecting changes to the story. It is still paper thin and really serves as a way to move players into the next skirmish more than anything. You’re still facing off against the Blue Moon, Green Earth, and Gold Comet nations and the added voice lines add just enough to make the experience feel fresh and add a layer the originals sorely lacked at the time.

For those who wanted to breeze through the campaign and enjoy the experience without a lot of fuss, the inclusion of Casual mode might be of interest. Both Advance Wars and its sequel Black Hole Rising was criticized due to their jump in difficulty at times. In the remake though, these criticisms have been addressed by Wayforward. Enemies are far less aggressive and in your face in this mode so you can make a few extra mistakes and still survive. Additionally, like many contemporaries now offer, you have the ability to roll back your turn and any decisions you may have made that essentially serve as a buffer for your team.

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Besides that, the core experience feels the same as it did on Game Boy Advance and quite frankly, that is a testament to how exceptional the gameplay was years ago. The turn-based gameplay sees two warring factions engaging in all-out war across several maps and areas with the goal of capturing the area. overcoming effectively in battle is about as engaging and thoughtful as to be expected and finding the path to overcome and overtake enemy forces remains satisfactory in all regards.

Pass me my wrench!

You play as Andy, Max, Sami, and several other Commanding Officers of the Orange Star Army. Each character has their role to play within the campaign – Andy is the go for basically everything and can adjust on the fly, Max is your tank that can deal bonus damage, and Sami is able to capture enemy territory better than the others. The commanding officers also have special skills unique to them like Andy being able to repair any unit from anywhere on the field, Max adding additional firepower to the existing units, and so on. These essentially can turn the cogs in the right direction if things are going wrong.

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Your goal is to capture cities with various unit types including Infantry, Mechs, Carriers, Tanks, and more. Every unit type begins with the same health and dwindles down as you trudge on through the skirmishes across the map. My main strategy was to be as offensive as possible and deal as much damage as I could to complete the battle as it usually is the path with the least resistance.

Infantry units are used to capture important buildings in towns which then welcome your team by offering to heal your units in town. Furthermore, you can even build more units once you’ve established yourself within the community. You unlock more unit types the further into the campaign you progress through, and I generally found that you’ll get the best experience when you mix and match unit types as it allows you to cover not only all your bases but also to clear the fog of war. And because a good offence is generally how I play, I found that whoever made the bolder move first would win.

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Regarding online multiplayer, Nintendo has something available at launch but during my time with Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp, I was unable to spend any time with it. Up to four players will be able to battle across dozens of maps with each player choosing a commanding officer from the campaign and then embarking on missions. Additionally, there is the option to battle friends online and locally in Online mode, which pits you in 1v1 scenarios. I’m looking forward to testing these modes out at launch. Or if you feel like engaging in the War Room, you can put yourself against the computer and try to earn the number one spot. There’s even a Design room where you can share and create custom maps.

Verdict

Advance Wars 1 + 2 Re-boot Camp is a faithful remake, one that keeps the incredible and engaging tactical core intact. While there are difficulty spikes, you’re never penalized for failure and are instead encouraged to try again. Thankfully, you’ve got well-designed maps and charming characters to keep you company. Advance Wars offers a challenging experience that requires careful planning, critical thinking, and strategic execution, making them a favourite among strategy enthusiasts. As it stands, the legacy of Advance Wars as a turn-based strategy franchise remains strong, and its impact on the genre is undeniable.

Recommended

[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: Switch

Nintendo Direct Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp
Summary
Advance Wars 1 + 2 Re-boot Camp is a faithful remake, one that keeps the incredible and engaging tactical core intact.
Liked
A steller and faithful remake of Advance Wars 1 and 2
The animations really help bring the world and characters to life
Two great games with some fantastic strategy elements
A versatile battle system
Didn't Like
The AI could use some work as it is sorely lacking
There are difficulty spikes throughout