Original Platform: Game Boy Advance
Genre: Turn-based Tactics
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Wii U Release Date:
(NA) April 3, 2014
(EU) April 3, 2014
Interestingly enough, this game was set to be a Japanese exclusive before its original release, much like its predecessors, Famicom Wars. Ultimately, the game ended up releasing in America and Europe before Japan, who did not get the game until 2004, when it was bundled with its sequel. Because of this, I believe Japan is getting the AW1+2 bundle, while America and Europe are only getting AW1 for now. Hence, the lack of a Japanese release date.
That being said...
Welcome to Wars World!
War is dark. War is dirty. War is Hell. War is waged for logical, ethical, or religious reasons, with highly trained commanding officers taking charge of the lives of gritty, determined, and patriotic men. Take all of these concepts and reverse them, and you have the premise for Advance Wars. Wars World is, obviously, all about war, but there's no darkness or grit here; everything is bright and colorful, and armies are led by children, rednecks, Santa Claus, and aliens. War is waged for almost no reason at all, and soldiers die in family friendly, violence free explosions.
There's several continents in Wars World, each under the jurisdiction of a certain color coded army. Advance Wars 2 and Dual Strike will take us to other lands, but this time, we're in a place by the name of Cosmo Land.
The Armies of Wars World and Their COs
Miss: Waking up early
Andy is really dumb. Seriously. He is the source of the OT's title, and is made as dumb as possible from a narrative standpoint in order for him to ask questions that are designed to help the player ease into the game. That being said, he's an expert mechanic, and his CO power repairs all of his units, as well as gives them an offensive and defensive boost. A great CO for beginners, as he has no real weaknesses. Andy is the first CO you get in the main campaign and is with you throughout the rest of the game.
Hit: Weight Training
The stereotypical meathead, Max does, in fact, lift. He's a direct combat specialist, with a glorious 150% attack power for all of his direct combat units. His indirect units operate at 90% offensive and defensive power, though, and have -1 range. His CO power makes his units even more powerful, boosting their attack power up to 187%.
The game's resident infantry specialist, her infantry units have a 20% boost in attack and a 10% boost in defense. Perhaps her most useful trait is her 150% capture rate, allowing her to take over buildings faster than anyone else in the game. Her direct units suffer a 10% attack penalty, though. Her CO power gives Sami's infantry +1 movement and 1 movement cost in every terrain they can move on. Sami's units may not be as powerful as Andy's or Max's, but her fast capture rate gives her an edge in quantity that more than makes up for her slight lack in quality.
Hit: Willful cadets
Even though Nell is the first CO you'll play as, she's one of the hardest to unlock for use outside of the game's tutorial. Nell's defining trait is luck; her units will occasionally deal an extra 1 or 2 points of damage. Her CO power lets her units deal up to five extra damage! Nell, like Andy, has no real weaknesses. She attended military school with Max and Grit.
Hit: Warm Boots
Miss: Rain Clouds
The leader of Blue Moon, Olaf's specialty is weather. Under normal conditions, Olaf is even less remarkable than Andy, with his units having no particular strengths or weaknesses. In snowy weather, however, Olaf does not suffer any movement penalties, giving him a distinct advantage over other COs during a snowstorm. Olaf reacts to rain the same way other COs react to snow, however. His CO Power makes it snow, and is particularly useful when it starts to rain. A very well rounded CO. Olaf was apparently a part of Orange Star in the past.
He may belong to Wars World's equivalent of Russia, but Grit talks like he's from the deep south of the United States. The polar opposite of Max, Grit specializes in long range combat. All of his indirect units get one extra tile of range. His direct units and infantry, however, get a decrease of 20% in attack. His CO power gives his long range units a 65% boost in attack, as well an extra three spaces of attack range. Grit used to belong to Orange Star, as well, but defected to Blue Moon shortly before the events of the game.
CO Power - Morale Boost
The leader of Yellow Comet, Kanbei is a walking trope of the traditional Japanese warrior. Kanbei is unique in that his units have no weaknesses, and have superior stats when compared to every other CO's units. All of his units have a 20% boost in attack and defense. His CO power gives an additional 20% increase in attack and 10% in defense for all units. Max and Grit are more powerful in their respective areas, but Kanbei doesn't have the added catch of having a weaker set of units. So... what is the catch? Well, all of Kanbei's units are 20% more expensive. You get what you pay for.
CO Power - Enhanced Vision
Kanbei's daughter. Unlike Kanbei, who sticks to tradition, Sonja is quite tech savvy. Sonja is a tricky CO to use. She's a fog of war specialist, with an added +1 vision for all of her units. However, she has the opposite power of Nell; she suffers from bad luck, and her units often deal -2 damage. Her CO power increases Sonja's vision by two spaces, and it allows her to see woods and reefs with no need of being next to them. Sonja is only useful on maps that have fog of war.
Hit: Lucky Goggles
Andy's rival, and a master of air combat. All of Eagle's air units receive a 15% increase to attack, and a 10% increase to defense. In addition, they each burn two less units of fuel than the standard air unit. His sea units take a 20% hit in attack, however. Eagle's CO power is a fan favorite, and by far one of the best in the game - it allows all of his units that have been ordered to wait to act again! All units end up getting a 20% decrease in attack and a 30% decrease in defense for the rest of the turn, but when you compare this to the 100% decrease of not doing anything at all, it's an amazing ability.
Hit: The Sea
What Eagle is to the air, Drake is to the sea. Drake specializes in naval combat, with all of his naval units receiving one extra tile of movement, and two terrain stars by default. His air units operate at 80% attack power, much like Eagle's units do not fare well in the sea. Drake is also unaffected by rain. His CO power is unique in that, unlike most other CO powers, it is not meant for utility, but is completely offensive - it deals 1 point of damage to each enemy unit.
The leader of Black Hole, Sturm is an extraterrestrial being hellbent on conquering Wars World. He is the source of all conflict in the game's story. Sturm is unique in that there are two versions of him; the Sturm we fight in the campaign, and the Sturm that is unlockable for Vs. Mode. In the campaign, Sturm has 30% extra attack to all of his troops. Additionally, he can freely move on heavy terrain, as all his movement penalties in clear and rainy weather are 1, but he moves like everyone else does in snow. Unfortunately, all of this attack power leaves him very weak in the defense department, with a 20% loss in defense on all of his troops. Vs. Sturm has an increased defense of 20%, but suffers a 20% attack penalty, making him a defensively oriented CO.
His CO power also comes in two flavors; Campaign and Vs. Campaign Sturm summons a meteor (!) that targets the area of highest monetary value. Its trajectory is centered on a single unit, and does 8 HP of damage to all of the surrounding units in a 5x5 diamond configuration. Sturm's firepower is also raised to an impressive total of 150%, outclassing Kanbei and nearing Max's level of craziness. A truly impressive CO power worthy of his position as the final boss of the game. With Vs. Sturm, the targeting works like the campaign's meteor. However, it only does 4 damage to the squashed targets.
The objective is to defeat the enemy army. There are two ways to defeat an opponent: destroy every one of the opponent's units on the map or capture the opponent's headquarters. However, some maps have specific objectives, such as capturing a certain number of cities to claim victory. The available modes of play include "Field Training" which is a tutorial mode, a campaign mode which carries the game's storyline, the "War Room" which is a collection of maps on which the player strives for high scores, as well as multiplayer modes and a map design mode. The "Campaign" and "War Room" modes both help to rank the player up (from Rank #100 to Rank #1) and to earn coins to unlock COs and maps in the "Battle Maps" shop. The modes also gives the player a rank for effort after winning a battle on that map, which assesses by the speed, power and technique in that battle, speed being the number of days spent trying to win the battle, power being how many enemy units you defeated, and technique is the number of your units that survived (in percentage).
The battles of Advance Wars are turn-based in nature. Two to four armies, each headed by a commanding officer, take turns building and commanding units on grid-based maps.
All units are limited in the types of units they can attack. What dictates a unit’s ability to attack different targets are its primary and secondary weapons. For example, the Mech unit has a bazooka that can only be fired at land vehicles, but are more powerful for that purpose than their secondary weapons, machine guns, which Mechs can use against other Mechs, Infantry, and helicopters.
The amount of damage done to the enemy in combat is proportional to the number of hit points the attacker has. The majority of the weapons have a limited supply of ammunition. Units with secondary weapons will resort to these when their primary weapon's ammunition runs out.
The terrain on a map affects unit movement, vision, and the defense attribute of units stationed in the terrain.The different types of terrain include: Roads, Plains, Woods, Bases, HQs, Ports, Cities, Airports, the Sea, Reefs, Shoals, Rivers and Mountains. Weather conditions can also affect vision and movement of ground units. Fog of war may also be enabled, whereby a player's vision depends on the individual units' lines of sight, which varies from unit to unit.
There are 18 different types of military units in Advance Wars. Each unit has a set amount of attack power, vision range in Fog of war, movement range and type, and fuel supply, and some units have two weapons which can be used against different types of enemy units. There are both direct and indirect attack units, as well as transport units. All the units are either infantry, vehicles, ships or air units. Units have specific strengths and weaknesses.
Armies are led by Commanding Officers who control units. All COs except Andy provide units with special advantages and/or disadvantages, such as extra firepower or a shorter unit range. COs also have a Power Meter which fills up by defeating enemy units or when on the receiving end of a brutal offensive attack. When the meter is full, a CO can unleash his or her CO Power, which gives a temporary positive effect to friendly units and/or a negative effect to enemy units. For example, Nell gives a Critical Strike bonus and Olaf makes it snow, disadvantaging his opponent.
(NA) September 10, 2001
(EU) January 11, 2002
(JP) November 25, 2004 (as part of compilation Game Boy Wars Advance 1+2)
"You will learn to fear my power!"