Review: Wargroove 2’s greatest strength lies in its roguelite mode 

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When the original Wargroove came out in 2019,  I lauded it for being the Advance Wars game we hadn’t gotten up to that point on the Switch. Since then, however, Advance Wars 1 & 2 Re-Boot Camp became a thing, bringing the first two games in the series to the system, but without many changes when it came to the core gameplay or even level design of the original Game Boy Advance titles. 

Now, Wargroove 2 is out and it not only provides new and exciting scenarios to rock-paper-scissors your way out of, but also brings a twist of its own through Conquest mode, which boils down to a turn-based tactics roguelite way of playing the game. It’s an excellent complement to the main campaign and offers a whole lot of replayability for those not looking to put Wargroove 2 after squeezing as much as they can from the story.

By this point, it should be no surprise that a game from developer Chucklefish is a blast to play, and indeed Wargroove 2 is no exception to that rule. It takes what was so great about the first game and continues on offering a challenging albeit fair difficulty curve through its exceptional tutorial laid preface all the way through the campaign, which this time includes a new race, the Faahri, a rodent race that opens the story, as well as the outlaw faction that was introduced in the previous game’s DLC, Double Trouble.

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Some levels can get pretty intense.

Each of them are varied and offer unique twists to the very tried and true Advance Wars-ish gameplay, not to mention the number of commanders that can be deployed in the field, each bringing their own ‘groove’ power. With it, you can turn the tide of battle by casting offensive powers such as a hurricane that sweeps enemy units wherever you wish them to go, as well as defensive ones, like providing an additional layer of armor to your fighters.

Wargroove 2‘s balancing is complex enough to make it a riveting experience that warrants repeated tries in order to get the best score under the least amount of turns possible. This is the sort of game that feels fresh each time you jump in, thanks to the sensible way that factions are brought into the story, switching out whoever’s playable before whatever you are currently playing happens to grow stale.

People who are used to playing games of this kind are sure to find staples of level design within Wargroove 2, such as the classic hold-out that has you fending off large number of enemies before rescue comes to save you, or simply having to slowly and efficiently storm an opposing team’s camp in the dead of night. Still, there are enough surprises that might even catch veterans unprepared, though.

That’s where Conquest mode comes in. As alluded in previous sections of the review, it’s a roguelite mode that puts the game’s core gameplay through the ringer by having you playing a very Slay the Spire like map full of forks in the road where you have to decide which way to take, living with the consequences of your choices until they either lead you to victory or glorious death. There are three randomized commanders to pick from at the start, which adds an extra layer of complexity to the proceedings, since they can vary your experience wildly. Conquest is the sort of mode that would have been enough as a full game of its own, but is an added feature in an already content-rich title like Wargroove 2.

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Conquest mode is a lot of fun!

By completing runs either successfully or by way of failure, you get shards that can be used to unlock new ways of playing this mode, wherein you start with only one Conquest at a specific region of the game’s world, and upon repeated runs, you’re given more to sink your teeth into, along with the option to make your army larger, have new commanders to add to the rotation, not to mention extra items to pick from. Also, your rewards vary based on the difficulty you choose to play, and you’re welcome to come back for repeated runs in maps you’ve already cleared in order to grind for more shards, making for a game mode with a tons of replayability that’s sure to provide plenty of legs to Wargroove 2 if you chose to keep playing.

Then again, even without Conquest mode, Wargroove 2‘s main campaign is riveting enough, so if you decide for any reason not to engage with that game mode, you’re already getting plenty of bang for your buck. Wargroove 2 surpasses the first game in every conceivable way and goes to show that Chucklefish was looking for ways to keep the formula fresh with the addition of a content-heavy mode such as Conquest, something that nobody would bat an eye if it were post-release paid DLC. It’s that good and only works to solidify Wargroove 2‘s spot among the very best Switch out on the eShop, not just as an alternative to Advance Wars

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