Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp review: Two steps forward, few steps back

Intelligent Systems, Hudson Soft
Intelligent Systems, Hudson Soft /

Title: Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp
Developer: WayForward
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed on)
Release Date: April 20, 2023

After having its release pushed back due to the unfortunate closeness to the events in Ukraine, Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp is finally out. If you want a good sign of how far this game was pushed back, check out what happens when I went to redeem the Gold Points for the game on my Switch.

AW12-gold-points /

Which, honestly, is the first time I’ve ever seen this happen. But it’s finally out and I’m happy to say it’s a joy. It ain’t perfect but it’s definitely fun.

If you’ve never played Advance Wars before, it can be a very deceptive looking game. While a cartoony take on war that takes place on a tactical RPG board, it is way more complex than other tactical RPGs like Fire Emblem and such.

Both you and your enemy start with a set amount of pre-established soldiers. They might be in tanks, in planes, on foot, etc. From there, each can move a certain amount of spaces per turn. There are the traditional elements of approaching an enemy to attack but there’s a lot more to consider than just fighting.

For example, while the soldiers on foot might seem like the weak link, like pawns in chess, these guys end up being ridiculously valuable as you need them to take over cities. The more cities you have at the end of a turn the more money you earn. And that money is used to create more units for your army to make up for the ones you will inevitably lose 4 or 5 rounds in.

The enemy also has this ability so if you’re thinking you’re going to pull a Fire Emblem and create a stationary pincer formation and wait for the enemy to come to you, that entire time they’ll be earning money and generating stronger forces, eventually overwhelming you. The battle is livened by the fact that whenever you engage in battle you’re given a brief scene of the two units engaged in battle. You can see how everything from the terrain to the power of each unit plays out.

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If you saw the original but not the Reboot, you’ll notice the graphics had a complete overhaul. While the original Advance Wars game featured absolutely fantastic pixel art, the 3D makeover is still really cool looking. Combined with the animation that accompanies moments in which generals activate their special move in a style that would make Dragonball blush.

My only complaint with the new look is the board itself. While the battles are heavily detailed and the generals are well animated and drawn, the board you fight on is so boring. Not only is everything zoomed out more, but it’s designed to look like you’re playing on a game board. Something about the mountains and paths all being very simple mixed with having a cardboard or wooden border to the map itself makes it feel like I’m just playing a small board game and takes the sense of importance away from the game itself.

The music itself is kinda rough too. It’s not bad, persay, but it’s aggressively loud and short meaning it loops a lot. I ended up turning the game music off and just having Spotify playing on my phone.

As for new content, a remarkable amount of material has been added that’s never been in the original series and I love all of it. Multiplayer has been added to the game, allowing for up to the four players to play online. Each army gets even assets and can determine who their commanding officer is and how they want to grow their army. You can also play locally as well but, obviously, that kind of ruins the whole “fog of war” element of the game.

They’ve also added a really solid map creator allowing you to create and share your own maps for multiplayer with all sorts of elements to consider and play with.

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One of the coolest parts is the addition of a store in the main menu. This store has a slow growing inventory where things unlock as you progress further through the game. From the start it’s a collection of music and art based off characters and stages you encountered as well as a ton of maps for the multiplayer modes. But as you get further you also start to unlock things like new COs that you can use in multiplayer giving you access to not only different cosmetic appearances but interesting special moves which can help you turn the tide of battle.

Not only does Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp feature both Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising, but it delivers the kind of tactical multiplayer fun we haven’t gotten since Wargroove.

Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp (Nintendo Switch) Score – 9/10

If you liked the original Advance Wars games back on the Game Boy Advance, this is everything you wanted the re-boot to be. The battles are still deceptively clever, the strategy is still in full force, and the character designs still slap.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.