The Wars series is one of Nintendo’s more interesting series of games. These are turn-based strategy games that are more cartoonish than other strategy games. They also work exceptionally well on consoles and handhelds.
Advance Wars was my first experience with the series. For some reason, Nintendo didn’t bring the earlier entries to North America. Instead, we got Desert Commander and Conflict. These two were more serious than the Wars games.
This is one of my favorite Game Boy Advance games, which is why I bought the system. The series is one of the confusing properties that Nintendo seems to forget about from time to time.
TLDR: Advance Wars is a great game, and I’m looking forward to the Switch release.
This is a turn-based strategy game where you must capture enemy buildings to win. The difficulty ramps up slowly as new factions are introduced during the story mode. New units are also presented in the same manner.
You play as Andy or whatever you want to call him. He is one of the generals of Orange Star. This has no connection with the Orange Star High School that Gohan attends in Dragon Ball Z, as far as I know.
At the beginning of the game, Orange Star is invaded by Blue Moon, which isn’t connected to the beer or the ice cream flavor. The other two factions are Yellow Comet and Green Earth. You fight Blue Moon, Green Earth, and Yellow Comet during the game.
This always seemed a little weird. Instead of talking things out, you fight all of them on your way to the big bad guy. It turns out that someone is pulling the strings. The Black Hole faction started the whole war. You don’t get much information on where they came from or why they’re doing what they’re doing.
Every unit has its strengths and weaknesses. You get infantry, tanks, planes, and ships. A rock, paper, scissors system is set up that is easy to follow. Here is a list of the units that you can train/build during the game:
- Mech – Infantry with Rocket Launchers
- Medium Tank
- Mega Tank
- Recon – These are good against Infantry
- Rocket Launcher – Excellent at destroying vehicles. Not an anti-air unit.
- Missile Launcher – Anti-air unit
- Anti-Air – These are good against planes and infantry. They’re tanks but only have machine guns
- Battle Copter
- Transport Copter
These units can be recruited at bases, airfields, and ports. You’ll need money to recruit them, which is where capturing cities comes in. Capturing cities brings in more money, and capturing factories, airfields, and ports lets you recruit more units.
The cities also provide your units with extra protection. Sometimes, they’re positioned at choke points so you can build up your forces a little. Units will also regain strength when placed in a city. It can help a lot when working your way through the levels.
Each unit has ten hit points. Damage depends on a few things if a unit is weak or strong to an attack, the defense of the defending unit’s location, and the attacking unit’s strength.
Each general has a special attack. These can be very helpful and get you out of tight spots. They are situational. Some will be more useful on specific maps and in particular situations.
There are other modes to the game. These are mostly skirmish modes and vs. modes. These are like practice for the story mode or bragging rights over your friends.
The game is very cartoonish. You don’t see anyone die, but you can tell they aren’t going to make it. It is a beautiful game!
It looks great on the Game Boy Advance’s small screen and the other hardware iterations. When I played it on a TV, I thought it looked stretched out. It might have been the settings on my TV, but I thought I should mention it.
The map screen is easy to read. You can see where the choke points on the map are, and you can easily plan out what you want to do. Everything in the game looks great, and I think they still hold up today.
This is where I think the game suffers a little. Once you go through the story mode, there isn’t much of a point in trying again. They did try to make you want to play it again by putting a scoring system on each level.
The skirmish mode is fun, and it gives you a chance to play as the other generals. However, the vs. mode, at the time, wasn’t as great because of what you needed to play with someone else. Hopefully, with the remasters, they add an online vs. mode. It would be weird if it was left out.
9/10. This is one of the best games on the Game Boy Advance. While there isn’t much replay value, it is a great experience. It made me want to play the other Wars games!
- Easy to play
- Well-balanceded gameplay
- Works great on a handheld
- Short story mode
- Limited replay value
I’m excited about the remasters. While I don’t like the changes to the art style, I know that the type of pixel art that I like isn’t what most people want anymore.
Advance Wars will always be a special game for me. I spent a lot of time playing the first two games while in the Navy. They were easy to play and a ton of fun!