Wartile describes itself as a cool-down based, real-time strategy game released by Playwood Studios. It is a game where you control figurines on a board-like map full of tiles. You fight against a number of enemies based on Viking history as well as mythology.
First of all this is not one of our common strategy games that demand a huge learning curve. You can get the hang of it in ten minutes and the tutorial is good enough. The rest you learn as you go.
The game looks good, that’s for sure, and, for a tile based game the visuals are above the mark. It seems that a lot of thought went into the design aspect of the game. Each map has tiles where your figurines move, use abilities through cards and fight it out against various opponents. The game allows you to unlock figurines. It mixes reality with myth and you will fight multiple enemies, mostly, but not all human.
It’s board game style is a decent concept, considering there are multiple other Viking games around (Ancestors? Possibly Northgard? Senua’s sacrifice?) with the same Norse theme. As you play and complete new challenges you can equip your warriors with weapons, shields or tokens which enhance their abilities. You also unlock cards and level up your fighters. These cards are used on the map to give buffs to allies, heal them, place traps, call an extra warrior for a small time window, damage or de-buff enemies and more. You can slow down time to use cards and move figurines, but not pause it entirely. In this way the game is never too easy and you have to think quickly before one of your figurines is taken out by the AI.
What further helps keep the game challenging are the battle points which you acquire at the start of each level and through slaying enemies. These battle points limit how you can use your cards by refusing to allow you to use them with reckless abandon, which would make the game too easy.
The game offers a some effort, especially as you advance further and further, but the main option to complete these difficult levels is to grind rather than change your strategy, or tactics. Otherwise you can play the same levels again and again to enhance your reputation rating and come back, but of course playing the same map (you have to play three tiers of increasing difficulty on each map anyway, with the same surroundings) over and over again is hardly fun.
The game rewards progress though. You get better and new figurines, weapons and cards as you progress and there are some side missions too. Your figurines also level up making them stronger. The soundtrack is relevant to its Viking theme and makes you feel like a true Ragnar Lodbrok.
What makes the fun limited, as mentioned before, is that each level has three tiers of difficulty on the same level and you are, essentially, playing the same map over and over again, albeit with altered enemies and increasing difficulty.
There is no heavy story-driven campaign here other than some cryptic starting text about your journey as a Viking and there is no overall difficulty setting except the three tiers of increasing difficulty on each map. Each map you select has a background description though that goes with it. Thats all the story there is in the game.
It is a strategy game but does not feel like one because there is little strategic thinking involved. Limited replay-ability makes the experience, for most, a single play-through one. Mainly because of the lack of maps and you having to complete the same map multiple times. You might have to play the same levels even more often than these three times to improve your reputation level.
At least the menu gives you the options to compare the maps difficulty level with your own parties reputation level; so you do not find yourself stuck against impossible odds or for the extreme gamer, too humble odds. But the game ends rather quickly, after a couple of hours (if you ignore grinding) and isn’t very long.
No skirmish mode or custom battle mode also ensure that the game has little to offer so that it survives on your computer’s hard disk for a long period of time.
Wartile is a decent effort, but not one of the best games out there. If you like tile, card and figurine based strategy games or board games you will like this game but it does not have many customization options and is lacking in many departments. This is Playwood Games first entry, so we can forgive many of the mistakes the Wartile developers have made though the experience of Michael Rud Jacobsen, the founder, (with experience on the highly successful Hitman) did make us hope that the game would do better.
Review Platform: PC
- The visuals are really good and immerse you in Norse legend.
- You get new figurines, tokens and equipment as you advance.
- Nice soundtrack
- Tile based game featuring Vikings. Hasn’t been done before. Lots of fun for board game lovers.
- No skirmish/sandbox mode
- You are playing the same levels constantly.
- No storyline