(Impressions) Wartile

Digitized board games have been a thing for a while now. I remember playing Monopoly on my NES and enjoying it a ton more because it wasn’t a super long, drawn-out, boring test in frustration. (That’s not bitterness talking; I had a bad experience.) This concept has been around for a while and has done well. In comes Wartile, which, as far as I know, wasn’t based on an actual board game and tries some new concepts that I haven’t played around with before. Real-time turn-based (RTTB from now on because jeez) gameplay… is that even a thing? Well it is now. Wartile looks and works well for what it is, but is it fun? Let me break it down for you.

Don’t forget to pick up your quest items! Even with the board clear of enemies, backtracking a fair bit of distance is a huge chore.

First up, I want to commend the developers of Wartile for the aesthetics of the game because if Wartile is anything, it’s beautiful. The game pieces look fantastic as do the boards that you play them on. The way the combat looks can be a little clunky looking, but it’s figurines stuck on little circle stands trying to poke each other so that’s no big surprise. This is one of the things that drew me to the game in the first place. It’s kind of like people who will gawk over finely painted 40k figures, but had no intention to play.

Who are you going to take with you on your mission? You get to pick! I uhhh… don’t have many options at this point in time though. Remember it’s important to stretch before entering combat!

The RTTB gameplay is a neat spin on how the tactics games play. Your characters are always attacking as long as they are in range and have line of sight. You can’t attack through a friend because friends aren’t meat shields! There is a circle on the bottom of your piece that lets you know when you can move them again. This will let you reposition to get the height advantage or to start attacking from behind which seems to do more damage. The enemies have the same abilities though so make sure you hamper them as best you can. If you’ve got a shield bash ability, that keeps them in place for a while (even though it seems like they can still attack which I think is goofy). A person with a pole-arm can do the same thing although without a shield obviously and from a distance. (I use this move to run a good chunk of the time or keep a sword wielder at bay, but mostly to run.) While I’m talking about the abilities, using them can also be frustrating because the cards representing them have a hit-box to click on. When you mouse over them and it makes them larger, but that doesn’t mean you can click on all of the enlarged card, and you still seem to need to click where they originally were. That got frustrating when I was trying to time a much-needed heal.

As opposed to taking heal into battle, other options include things like traps. You can also create poison bombs in one level I was playing in if you gathered the correct amount of frogs and took them to the right place. Also, don’t stand in poison; that much should be obvious.

While the gameplay is cool and it looks great, Wartile is hard as crap for me. I’ve played and beat numerous tactical games, but for some reason I cannot defeat the third level here. It’s very frustrating. I’ve gotten pretty far into it, but my forces are all eventually killed. There is an “energy” system in place for your abilities and you get more by completing certain tasks. If you run out, you can’t use moves like heal or heal… which I have twice in my hand because reasons. Some bad guys will block almost every attack even with three men on them from the front and back and shield-bashed to boot. This isn’t even a boss character. Then you’ve got those freak’n archers that don’t stop plinking my hind quarters when I’m stuck in a 1-tile wide path with a baddie blocking it.

I don’t get to see this screen often if I’m not playing the first two levels on easy and that makes me sad.

I’ve gone back to get more gear and that didn’t seem to help too much. It did make me feel better, but didn’t even the odds. I was able to go back and finish previous levels at a harder difficulty setting which, as I said, gave me more gear. Not better gear, just more variety. I wasn’t looking for Thunderfury here, but that would have been nice. Not all my men made it out, but with more gear options I had hope at least. Hope that was extinguished thereafter.

See that tiny red dot under my polearm unit that seems to be chill’n by the boat? That’s all the life that he had left and he’s booking it to the boat to leave. I “won” on the harder difficulty, but it still didn’t feel like a victory.

I was kind of leery about trying out the multiplayer because of how bad I was doing, but I haven’t unlocked it. Yes, you have to unlock it. At my going rate this isn’t going to happen. Of course, given how well I’m playing right now, I’m not sure I would be very good against other people who have unlocked this mode. I’d probably want to pull more hair out. I think I’ll keep my sanity (or at least I’ll fain like I have the option to opt out even though I can’t get in).

Man, with as good of a concept as Wartile is, it kills me that I’m apparently as bad as I am. It could be the game itself, but I am willing to take partial fault here. However, given some of the map set ups in how they will walk you into single-fire arrow canyons, it’s possibly not all me. The difficulty is a bit much for me and does seriously detract from the fun I could have had. Would I like a local multiplayer option? Yes I would. Would I also like to not have to unlock multiplayer? Yes I would. Maybe the rest of the development cycle will change how the game works more in my favor, maybe not. As Wartile stands currently, I couldn’t easily recommend it even though it seems many others are doing just fine and enjoying themselves.

Further Reading on Wartile: Facebook / Official Page / Steam / Twitter

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