LifeIsXbox’s Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp review | The Advance Wars remaster has been my most anticipated Nintendo Switch release for quite some time now. I’ve been mentioning it in articles and lists how much I would love to see a new title or polished version of the old games even long before the official announcement was out and now I finally get to play it. I’m over the moon!
For those who don’t know the game, Advance Wars was originally released on the Game Boy Advance (hence its name) and is a turn-based tactical game where you command your troops to destroy the opponents’ army of capture their headquarters. It’s not as luck-based as Fire Emblem titles and your troops on the floor are nameless and expendable, but this adds to the tactical value of the game, making it feel much like a digitally enhanced version of chess, but with tanks!
I played the games for hundreds of hours and never grew tired of it, even going so far as to play unofficial web-browser versions of it that let me play against friends across the ocean. So you can imagine my excitement when I learned that there are lots of multiplayer-supported options here, both online as well as in person.
But let’s not dawdle any longer and dive into what makes this game tick, let’s roll out!
ℹ️ Reviewed on Nintendo Switch | Review code provided by Nintendo, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- The nostalgia hits hard! | They didn’t change anything that didn’t need changing and it’s like coming home for fans of the series. All the single-player campaigns remain untouched (as far as I could tell) and it was amazing to relive those moments yet plow through levels that had me stumped as a kid.
- Nice visual polish | The graphics received a nice 3D overhaul without impacting how the game plays at all. The 3D models look great and the CO’s received more animations when chatting or activating their powers. I also like how everything looks like you’re playing a boardgame, with cardboard or wooden edges around the battlemap.
- Reset Turn | They added a new feature that lets you return to the start of your current turn. It’s a get-out-of-jail-safe card that you can use when you made some terrible calls, but it won’t save you from mistakes made a few turns back, so don’t just think you can rush through the game without thinking.
- Perfect game for on-the-go | Advance Wars is completely turn-based without a timer, much like Fire Emblem: Three Houses or Engage, making it the perfect genre for handheld gaming. You can easily play a few turns on the train and tuck the console back into your backpack when you arrive at your stop. I mention this specifically as Advance Wars has always been my go-to title for such occasions, and I always used to carry my Nintendo DS around for just this reason.
- Multiplayer | I never got to play the original games in a true multiplayer session. Well, except for passing the GBA around and waiting for your turn, but the downside was that you couldn’t figure out exactly which units you had lost or what had happened if you don’t have photographic memory. Now you can still play as such, but also link up multiple local Switch consoles or play against friends & foes online.
- Play what you want | Advance Wars 1+2 Rebootcamp combines the first two GBA games into one package and luckily, it doesn’t force you to complete the campaign of the first game before starting the second. Though, there are some warnings that it’s best played in chronological order.
- Hours upon hours of content | There are two main campaigns to play through, and you can face off against friends in multiplayer, but even by yourself you’ll be able to spend many, many hours with this title. Hachi’s shop will regularly get new battle maps to complete, as well as artwork and songs to unlock.
- No saving | There isn’t an option to save during a specific turn. This was something I’d use in the Advance Wars games a critical turning point to make a risky gamble, see if it pays off and then return to that save as a backup. The game will save when you turn it off, but you just won’t be able to abuse it.
- Some clarity was lost | The difference between units like the regular tank and the medium tank are too subtle on the map, and you need to actually hover over the unit to see which is which. A minor inconvenience, but still something that could have been easily battled by making the tanks more unique in their design. The pixelated versions on the GBA didn’t have this issue.
- Voice acting | They’ve added voice acting, but only a few lines per character. It’s a nice added level of personality, but it would have been nice if the game were fully voiced instead. Also noteworthy: they translated the game to Dutch, including the voice lines. Just a bit sad that everyone sounds a little robot-like, as if the voice actors didn’t record sentences, but words, and they were stitched together afterwards.
What we Disliked
- Missing a stats screen | This might sound lame, but one thing I really liked about the latest Advance Wars titles on the DS, was having an overview of stats: how many units you had made of a certain type, how many were defeated and so on. It was kind of like the first Achievements system for me and I miss not having it.
- Insights | There is no way to check a map before picking your CO, yet that is a vital element to making the call. So unless you remember what the map looks like and which commander is perfect for the task at hand, you’ll have to make a guess first, fail, and retry later. A nice and easy “check the map” option in this screen would have been very welcome.
How long to beat the story | ~40 hours to see the credits roll
How long to complete | it can take upwards of 100 hours to unlock everything in the game
You’ll love this game if you like these | Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Triangle Strategy, Fire Emblem: Engage
Advance Wars 1+2: Re-bootcamp is a nostalgic blast from the past, with updated graphics and gameplay that will make both new and old fans of the series fall in love all over again. It’s a tactical masterpiece that will have you commanding your troops with military precision, where each move you make could be the checkmate that secures your victory.
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Robby lives and breathes video games. When he’s not playing them, he’s talking about them on social media or convincing other people to pick up a controller themselves. He’s online so often, he could practically list the internet as his legal domicile. Belgian games-industry know-it-all.