Advance Wars: 1+2 Re-Boot Camp is both a fantastic compilation and remake of the first two, fan favourite games in the Advance Wars series. Originally released on the Game Boy Advance in 2001 and 2003 respectively, these classics have been revisioned by developer Wayforward, known for their work on the Shantae series. The package includes Advance Wars and Advance Wars: Black Hole Rising, complete with their complete campaigns, maps, commanding officers (COs), and modes from the original games, each with a fresh look, among numerous quality-of-life improvements.
The Way Forward
The story in Advance Wars: 1+2 Re-Boot Camp unfolds as one continuous saga, beginning with the conflict between the Orange Star and Blue Moon nations, who struggle to coexist despite their proximity. As the narrative progresses, the war naturally escalates, drawing other countries into the conflict and resulting in a world war. The second game builds strongly upon this premise, all while featuring various familiar and loveable characters from the first instalment.
The game presents its story through a combination of light cutscenes and dialogue exchanges, displayed as talking heads at the bottom of the screen. This time around, the characters are also voice-acted, which gives interactions a sense of emotional weight and believability, as opposed to the lines of text that can drain the pace, particularly when conversations become lengthy. While the first game’s story mode follows a mostly linear path, the second game introduces a more open map, allowing players to tackle missions in any order they choose. Throughout the story, players have the opportunity to select their commanding officers most of the time, although there are occasions when the story dictates the choice.
As battles in Advance Wars are turn-based, it’s usually a one-on-one clash between opposing forces. Occasionally, however, players will find themselves facing multiple opponents, which certainly adds to the challenge. Each player takes turns moving their units on a grid, capturing buildings, and constructing factories to produce new units in certain areas. Each CO also possesses a unique power that adds an extra layer of strategy to the game. For example, Andy can heal units, Grit excels as a sniper with extended range, and Sami captures buildings at an accelerated rate. Choosing the right CO can also significantly impact the pacing and outcome of a mission, layering this otherwise straightforward choice into yet another strategic choice among many.
Different units on the battlefield have distinct strengths and weaknesses. Infantry and Mechs can capture buildings while bolstering your economy and enabling the production of additional units. Light Tanks boast greater mobility than heavy tanks, while AA Gun units excel at taking down airborne targets at close range, leaving them vulnerable to tanks. Ranged units like Rockets and Missiles prove invaluable when positioned at the rear. As the story progresses, players gain access to air and naval units, further expanding the strategic options.
Missions in Advance Wars: 1+2 Re-Boot Camp can be completed in various ways, depending on the required objectives. Some missions might simply require all enemy units to be eliminated, while others allow for sneakier approaches, such as capturing the enemy headquarters. There are missions that challenge players to survive until reinforcements arrive or protect a specific unit. The latter portions of each title will also up the difficulty levels with most encounters, which will test your patience with these titles.
It’s also worth noting here that Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp looks great as a remaster. Its HD resolution feels much sharper, while colours and textures really pop through some polished character models. While it is a shame that performance can vary at times with frame rates usually dropping during chaotic encounters, nothing ever lasts so long as to break the experience.
Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp offers up cute carnage in spades with charming visuals and downright addictive gameplay. It’s easy to play in short, sharp sessions, perfectly suited for the nature of this hybrid console. While I can’t comment too much on the original games, I’m glad that Advance Wars as a franchise has managed to find its way back into the mix, providing one of the most pleasant surprises of 2023.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Highlights: Addictive gameplay that is easy and fun to play on the Switch system. Spectacular graphics.
Lowlights: Performance sometimes struggles
Developer: Way Forward Technologies
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Review conducted on Nintendo Switch with a pre-release code provided by the publisher.