Review – Wartile
I love it when a game comes out of nowhere to catch my eye like Wartile – available now on PC via Steam – did this week. It’s an overhead real-time strategy title that 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.
Though it’s still in Early Access on Steam, it feels like most of the work left to be done on Wartile is on the presentation side of things. The pop-up panels that introduce the story elements, for example, are a bit on the plain side – especially compared to the intricately detailed art that makes up the environment. 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 some time with the title, 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.
Even with much more development to come, with the title having just hit the 0.7 release, Wartile is well worth the sub-$20 price tag. I can’t wait to see the game polished up a bit more on the presentation side of things, but until then there’s more than enough single-player and multiplayer content to keep you occupied.