Warborn is the latest title from the team at Raredrop Games & published by the lovely lot at PQube Games. Hoping to squeeze into a giant Mech shaped hole in the turn-based strategy niche, let’s see if this was born for war or unable to handle even the smallest skirmish.
Warborn as mentioned is a Mech focused Turn-Based Strategy game, the games story is focused on the Auros system and the ongoing war there. As with any good war based game, you have factions, here you have 4 of the blighters, each fighting a noble cause and ready to push the main narrative forward from their perspective.
The story here is of that delicious 90s mech cartoon/anime flavour, think Transformers or Robotrek and you’ll know what to expect. It isn’t life-changing by any stretch but is engaging enough to keep you plugging away at the campaign and its 4 factions.
Graphically Warborn is great but does have that marmite overly clean look, like a mobile game or something from Newgrounds/Flash Player. The units themselves are animated fine and the environments offer enough variety. The bigger character models have been really well drawn and ooze character, especially prevalent on the versus screens.
On the audio side of things, there isn’t too much to write home about with Warborn. The music is fine if a little too safe with nothing that really stuck with me and there is no voice acting here, good or bad. There isn’t anything distracting enough to detract from the game which is a plus in our books.
The gameplay in Warborn should be instantly familiar to anyone who’s played titles such as Advance Wars, Wargroove, Fire Emblem & Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars, the initial difference here being a hexagon grid and not squares!.
Where Warborn beautifully fits in with those titles is that it feels very much like a turn-based RTS. What I mean by that conflicting sentence is that as much as you’ll be working with weakness charts and cover systems, you’ll also be capturing tiles that allow you to deploy more units. There is also a resource management which ties into capturing tiles, where the game doesn’t focus on hero units and a “band of brothers” you level up over time, WarBorn is more focused in the grander scheme of War.
The various unit types have different abilities, combat distances and buff/debuff options. When you go into combat the game zooms into the action and you’ll see a nifty little animation, fortunately you can skip these once you tire of them.
Objectives usually boil down to wiping out the enemy team but sometimes have a little more to them, keep a certain unit alive or capture a certain tile, you know the flavour.
Each of the 4 factions has a playable Commander which on occasion during the campaign will get involved in the campaign, these are the big units, the most useful and the ones tied to your win or loss. Each commander plays differently and it’s always a treat when you get to the next one, Commander choice also comes into play in the multiplayer mode too!.
Alongside the campaign you also have the Skirmish mode, allowing you to quickly jump into combat and tweak it. Map Editor allows you make your own stages of war & use them in the Skirmish or online mode. Finally we have the online multiplayer, while we haven’t managed to try this feature out yet, the thought of taking our own maps online and fighting randoms and friends alike in mech chess is something we can really get behind!.
The campaign should see you somewhere in the 15 to 20 hour mark split between the 4 factions, map maker and online multiplayer will add to your playtime greatly making this quite the sneaky little time sink.
All in all, I found Warborn to be quite a deceptive little title. I initially wasn’t too interested due to the art style and hex grid (shallow I know) but once I’d booted up the game and completed that first mission I was hooked. While it may be easy to overlook Warborn I implore you not to, not only do I think this game is of equal value to titles like Wargroove, I think the 90s Mech direction is enough to make it it’s own, it’s fantastic value for money and for fans of Advance Wars will send you on a massive nostalgia trip. Warborn is an essential purchase, especially for Nintendo Switch owners