Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp is a 2023 turn-based strategy video game developed by the original makers of Advanced Wars Intelligent Systems in collaboration with Way Forward and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. It is a remake of the first two titles in the Advance Wars series, Advance Wars (2001) and Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising (2003). Initially announced for a December 2021 release but then delayed to April 8, 2022, the hold back again due to the Russia Invasion of Ukraine. The game finally saw its release on April 21, 2023.
It’s time to Advance as War is upon us!
With 20 years since the last Advanced Wars game and graphics have advanced massively. Let’s see how much the gameplay and style have improved, as we go to boot camp for Advance Wars.
Each campaign follows the continuous saga of the Orange Star nation. Which is pushed into battle with forces from Blue Moon, Yellow Comet, and Green Earth. The eccentric commanding officers handle the narrative’s fundamental impetus, and it’s evident that the strategy is the true star here. We begin with our officer Nell, who sets us up for training. Showing us, different units, different commander abilities, how to move and the like. Before, handing over to our default Orange Star Army Leader Andy.
Throughout your campaign battles, you shall choose between Andy, Max, or Sami to lead your troops. Each with differing abilities, Max being your tank best for smaller maps or ones mainly involving direct units. Sami for a mission that focuses on capturing, and Andy as our all-rounder with a speciality ability to heal.
Advance Wars takes place on grid-based maps, with each unit occupying one square. Your troops have a range of mobility and assault; you must keep note of their ammo, health, and fuel. With a set of strengths, weaknesses, and specialisations to consider as you plan each unit’s move. The bright, brilliant colour design betrays the diabolical degree of complexity that awaits you later in the missions. The only compromises to the original difficulty are the ability to fast forward and rewind games. You send forces out each turn to conquer terrain and structures. While carefully outmanoeuvring opponent units and seizing buildings to gain control of the region. Win criteria are to capture the opponent HQ, wipe out all the enemies or capture a certain number of buildings.
Only your infantry units can capture buildings, but they are also the cheapest unit. Though not every battle allows for building new units. They do not have the largest move amount, and thus it might be best to play them into other vehicles. You can also place more robust units into the chopper and lander, which may help you. But ensure not to have these destroyed, and anything inside will also be destroyed.
Finding a vulnerability in your opponent’s defence and pressing it until you break through. Knowing you may lose some units in the process is all part of the strategy. What can be vastly annoying is the battles that contain a “fog of War” You cannot see your enemies. This then makes planning all the more complex, especially if you are up against a Commander like Grit. Whose ability allows him to fire further with indirect-attack units. Making it almost impossible to figure out where his units are. So, in these battles, it is best to find the most direct route to the enemy HQ. Sometimes it almost felt like the game was cheating in some way. When all squares were explored and no further enemies were found, but somehow damage was still being taken.
Graphics & Audio
Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp, drags the original game and its sequel together, wrapping them all up in gleaming new 3D graphics. Alongside the dual narratives, there is a co-op mode for four players, online one-on-one battling or testing against bots outside of the campaign. You might want to use your Advance Wars expertise to construct your own maps to confuse your friends.
The aesthetics are the first and most visible change. The vehicle units look wonderful, and there is now a better differentiation between the different armies owing to distinctive unit skins for each. In contrast, the buildings all look the same with a different colour except for the main Headquarters. It all connects by newly designed cartoon sequences, semi-animated characters, and bright artwork. Bringing the ensemble of characters to life in ways they had not before.
The music is lovely, all reminiscent of the original, but with a modern take. It would have been nice to have some of the original Game Boy Advance tracks in the shop.
Every fight you win in the story earns you coins to spend at Hachi’s Shop. Which sells music, (though you won’t get to hear it before your purchase); Commanding Officers, (it also won’t tell you what they do so you best remember), and maps, (does not show you want they look like in advance so hopefully you buy one you like) for use in Versus mode or the War Room tasks. The War Room allows you to face the CPU over many predefined maps, preserving your best score. It is an excellent incentive to keep returning to Advance Wars as a single player once you’ve finished the campaign. There is plenty of content for aspiring generals to refine their strategies, even before you consider the map builder and multiplayer.
Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp takes a strategic classic and modernises it – the fact that it is so close to the originals just confirms how wonderful they were in the first place. Re-Boot Camp is a must-have for tactical warfare lovers and an ideal companion for the Nintendo Switch. Perhaps, its release will reignite interest in the franchise and usher in a long-awaited new edition. If you need an in-depth story, this may not be the game for you as the story is more there for something to fill in between battles. Very short, there is no natural way to feel any true connection to the commanders. The addition of multiplayer is very welcome to see who truly the grid-based strategy genius is.
I award Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp A Thumb Culture Silver Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.