Review – Wartile
Wartile hit Steam back in 2017 and has made the jump to consoles at long last, arriving on PS4 and Xbox One. The overhead real-time strategy title mimics the setup of tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons, only with a Viking-themed adventure across multiple ‘Battle Boards’ that each features a unique challenge to overcome. Console gamers benefit from a slew of updates that the game has received since it launched, but is it ready for the ‘couch and TV’ experience?
Well…no – not really. If you play like I do, on a monitor that’s a foot or two away from you, then you’ll have no problems with Wartile. Even if you play on a larger TV, however, you may want to give this some thought as it’s not really optimized for consoles.
The game runs very well, there are no performance issues and the camera has even improved a bit from the PC release – but there’s an awful lot of little bitty text to read on the cards that make up the bulk of the gameplay, and it’s nearly impossible to read them from your couch.
Between the character models and the environmental design, the game looks like a melding of a Dungeons & Dragons hexagon map and one of those 3D train set dioramas you might find in the basement of someone with entirely too much time on their hands. The result is a stunning looking game with a ‘miniatures come to life’ feel to it that I found very appealing.
Gamers can, after a bit of play, set up their own war band from their growing collection of miniatures. Each character can be outfitted with looted or purchased weapons and armor, and whether you want to min/max their development with only the finest gear or choose something that looks cool is entirely up to you. In addition, each character brings unique abilities to the fight and you’ll have to choose which to assign as active skills to help turn the tide of battle.
At first glance you’d expect Wartile to feature a turn-based combat system, but it incorporates a real-time system – albeit a real-time system with a cooldown mechanic for character abilities and a cost mechanic for the battle cards the player can activate. Combine those systems with intricacies like weapon reach and the need to keep the high ground in battles, and you’re looking at a combat system that’s surprisingly deep while still retaining an approachable learning curve.
What I liked:
- Great environments and miniatures
- Tons of battle strategy and variation thanks to randomness of cards
- Difficulty levels give some replay value
What I didn’t like:
- Long load times
- Small text on cards