Developer: Playwood Project
Publisher: Playwood Games, Deck13, WhisperGames
Genre: Strategy, Role Playing
Platform: PlayStation 4
Age Rating: Pegi 12
Release Date: 24/03/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Have you ever wished your favourite board game could come to life? If you have, Wartile is the game for you. It is an interesting blend of real-time strategy, cool-down based combat, card based abilities, and tabletop gaming. There is a lot going on, so let’s take a quick look at what Wartile has to offer.
The first thing that really grabbed me about Wartile was its use of nearly real time strategy: I say nearly because you can slow down time but we will get to that later. This real-time over turn-based approach gives Wartile’s action a feel of continuous pace and advancement.
The second thing that really stood out is the game’s play environments or boards. Each one is exquisitely designed and detailed, feature impressive light and shadowing effects, and just look absolutely fantastic. Although there is not a large number of them, each board is simply a pleasure to look at and explore. Imagine the greatest miniatures game table you’ve ever seen has been brought to life by the breath of Norse mythology.
There is a simple storyline that casually draws from Norse mythology and some good voice acting going on here, but it is not hugely compelling. Wartile’s strengths lay in its gameplay and visual design, not its narrative storytelling.
Figuring Out The Wartile Figurines
You play with a number of character figurines that can be mixed and matched however you please. Each character has a different skill set and attacks, can be customised with weaponry and armour, and can be upgraded with the use of battle tokens earned in game. Finding a good balance between your figurines and building a team that work together is the simple key to victory in Wartile.
Moving figurines around the board is done with a simple drag and drop mechanic. I worried slightly how well this would work on a PlayStation pad compared with a mouse, but I found it very smooth and effective. Positioning your characters in a battle formation, setting up traps, and securing the high ground advantage all have to be done while on the move. It would all start to fall down if this movement mechanic wasn’t as good as it is.
As you move your characters around the board and into the range of enemies, they will auto-attack the nearest one and a battle will break out. This is where the game really comes to life. Your figurines have a basic attack which they will repeat until they or their enemy dies; they all also have a couple of special cooldown restricted moves which you can aim and activate whenever they are ready.
It’s All In The Cards
The next big factor in battle is the use of ability cards, these really turn you into a god among men. They have the ability to heal characters, place traps, spawn supply drops, and grant buffs or immunities to characters. You can hold a pool of five cards to choose from but only three are randomly selected at any time, so there is a little bit of random chance going on. Using ability cards requires battle points earned during games, but I never EVER felt like I didn’t have enough battle points to just use the ability cards as much as I wanted.
At this point, you probably have everything you need to smash flat every challenge in the game. But Wartile places one more trick up your sleeve, the ability to slow down time for brief periods. This power allows you to take a step out of the action and plan your next moves, heal up characters, or simply look at what is happening in the battle. Personally, I feel this ability is a step too far; it robs the game of a significant amount of challenge and strategic planning.
Wartile Starts To Wear Thin
I enjoyed my first couple of hours with Wartile but around the four hour mark fatigue set in hard and fast. I found myself just waiting to win battles, occasionally popping buffs and healing characters till enemies fell to my blades. Once all the playable boards were unlocked, I quickly lost all urge to go on.
Even with board variations and increased difficulty, I felt like I saw all the game had to offer long before I did. There is a lot going on in Wartile but for me it never really gelled together into a compelling experience.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You Can Purchase Wartile On The PlayStation Store