As if it were some irony of history, Nintendo’s much-denied to the West Wars franchise was finally released in America one day before the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York. real war is not a game, but the Game Boy Advance game was not to blame either and there are more FPS franchises that have exploited this theme. Japan preferred to postpone the release for three more years and only received it together with its sequel in the Game Boy Wars Advance 1+2 compilation, which has received the ‘remake’ Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp for Nintendo Switch.
Game Boy Wars –from Hudson Soft– was the portable version of Famicom Wars, developed by Intelligent Systems, the same as Fire Emblem. In both Japan and the West, Fire Emblem came after Wars. Game Boy Advance had in Advance Wars one of the strongest bases possible in the first months of the portable. The design and gameplay evolved from its predecessors. It made it more attractive, with flawless pixel art and animations for Nintendo’s 32-bit console.
Its two installments do it simply one of the best gameboy advance games. Nintendo could well have re-released them in their original format for the GBA thanks to the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack. Instead, a few years ago WayForward was commissioned to work on some very faithful ‘remakes’ for the hybrid machine. Shantae’s parent company needs no introduction in the platform world. In Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp, we immediately noticed some pretty similar 2D character animations to those in River City Girls.
For our review of Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp on Switch we got immediate access to the sequel Black Hole Rising.
These, however, stray from the battlefield graphics, which are 3D instead. This main difference from the original games leaves a mixed result. The detailed pixels have an innate charm that makes them immortal exponents. Franchises like Pokémon have shown that 2D art has great strengths even if 3D ends up replacing it. Despite the fact that a bit of the GBA personality goes away with the jump to 3D of the combats, the gameplay of Advance Wars remains intact and adds the modernized character designs.
Meanwhile, on Switch the teaching times have fortunately been reduced. The original game put players through a series of tutorials and 14 training battles to explain the basic mechanics. Every Advance Wars unit, building and special commander powers requires its necessary explanation for new players. Advanced warfare veterans wouldn’t want to repeat such concepts, so everyone gets a cursory refresher and the option to dig deeper into the remaining elements.
Once the new 3D combat animations are assimilated, quality of life improvements are deployed in Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp. The clean illustrations of characters like Nell, Andy, Max, Sami and the rival commanders, are accompanied by a few voices in the dialogues. The iconic musical themes of each protagonist and commander are new versions. In the battle maps we find additions such as the approach of them with the right ‘stick’. While the rotation is still not possible.
Neotanks are another advanced level.
While animations could also be turned off on the Game Boy Advance, Advance Wars loses a lot of its charm without them. On Switch, we can leave them but speed up our own and opponent’s turns by holding ZR down, a practical solution. The game saves automatically and if we exit a campaign map we can resume it later. For its part, the classic difficulty has been the standard and unique to GBA, while players can choose a more relaxed one and switch between the two whenever they want.
Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising on Switch make it easy for players to crossed by Cosmo Land and Macro Land. Now, this is not to say that they are a walk in the park of Wars World. The early battles of the campaign do not pose much of a threat to the Orange Star army. As you advance through the nations of Blue Moon, Green Earth, and Gold Comet (formerly called Yellow Comet), commanders and their units reveal more aggressive strategies and not less bellicose.
In our review of Advance Wars for Switch we loved the new character art.
Powers that boost ranged attacks, nullify half the damage taken or allow a second move, work very hard against when the opponents control air and naval units. The fog of war that hides the visibility of the terrain is another essential part of a lethal mix. Of course, it is not possible to manually save the game at a combat point to restart the game and try another strategy on the same map.
In dead-end cases with many losses, starting a mission over is the only solution. When we access the bases and we must take care of the budget, capture more cities and build units, it is mandatory to think with a cool head. Some maps can be thematic, which they use, to say the least, planes and by default the counterattack is with anti-aircraft units. For their part, other larger maps suffocate due to the number and variety of infantry, artillery, tanks, missile launchers, rocket launchers, bombers, submarines, and others.
While capturing enemy headquarters or eliminating all units are the main victory conditions, not on all maps this is lightly achievable. Knowledge is power, so trial and defeat may be the only strategy to unleash them all. Similar to the GBA, there is a wide variety of maps available for multiplayer against the CPU or other players.. It is possible to play up to four on the same console or locally each one with his own, also the same as in GBA.
A Link to the War
As for the online multiplayer, it is frustrating that it is not used outside the friends list. Only with users on the friends list on Switch who own the game is it possible to compete 1v1 and trade designed maps. Otherwise, there’s no way to share your designs on a server with the rest of the globe, a la Super Mario Maker 2. There’s also no way to battle against three other players via a lobby on Nintendo Switch Online. So the company’s service somewhat loses its meaning in terms of online gaming.
As a point in favor, we can immediately access the Black Hole Rising campaign without having to finish the first Advance Wars. The second game is identical in mechanics aside from the introduction of Neotanks and new commanders. Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp is a fair 2×1 that doesn’t care about altering the traditional formula but embellishing it. It is as addictive to play as ever and we hope – more than a ‘remake’ of Dual Strike and Days of Ruin – a completely new edition as a successor on Switch.
Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp In Summary
Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp didn’t need to change everything that makes great games to the award-winning GBA versions. But it does maximize your native potential. Beneath its lively cape and vibrant artwork, WayForward continues to exist as an addictive and no less challenging tactical strategy game. Sometimes its difficulty can spike and requires players to go over the plan like good commanders. Animations, voices, music, all those seemingly superficial improvements are on Switch as a dessert for a main course that does not disappoint in general terms despite the absence of Intelligent Systems.
Review made using a digital copy of Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp for Nintendo Switch provided by Nintendo of America.