Sunday, April 7

Review: War Theatre [Nintendo Switch eShop]

In gaming, as in many other parts of life, timing can be everything. If you manage to get to market and strike just at the right time you can manage to find success with an audience that’s hungry for your product, but if you’re slightly behind the wrong curve it can be a rough road. That’s the space I see War Theatre in, which undeniably has a unique look, but whose primary hook is that it’s a strategic game that very much has the feel of Advance Wars. A year ago, that could have been a slam dunk even with some issues, but with some competitors out there who are already doing the same thing it’s more of an uphill battle.

In the game you’ll take control of one of seven heroes, each of whom controls an army of units that are the same across the board. This puts the challenge to you to show your strategic prowess by outmaneuvering your opponent while making smart strategic use of your hero’s abilities to win success. In a bit of a twist by completing quests you’ll be able to unlock perks that will allow you to tune your playstyle a bit more to your liking, or could also serve to help you out when perhaps unable to get over the hump against a specific foe or on a particular map.

Where the problems set in, especially in light of the solid competition Theatre now has in this same strategic space, is its overall lack of features. There’s really no proper story or even a tutorial, you’re pretty well going to be focused exclusively on getting down to action. In terms of overall variety and depth the perk system is perhaps a nice attempt but it doesn’t quite compensate for a lack of even aesthetic variety with each army’s units and overall style of play.

In the end, especially in the face of its competition in the eShop, War Theatre has a unique look, budget-friendly price, and perk system on its side but it can also feel like a more bare bones experience. There is online support but while I was usually able to find someone to play against playing against randoms simply didn’t seem to go well with most disconnecting or the game simply moving at far too slow a pace. If you’re new to the genre the lack of instruction will likely be a liability but if you’re more of a veteran the lack of polish and diversity may be a turn-off. While War Theatre isn’t a bad game there’s no doubt that stacked up against its competitors it has struggles.

Score: 6

  • Unique artwork
  • Hero abilities are pretty diverse and invite different styles of play
  • The perk system works as a nice way to allow you to tune things to your liking

  • The lack of any tutorial or story give it a very bare bones feel
  • Online play is supported but spotty at best in terms of excitement
  • Stacked up against the competition in this space on the eShop War Theatre feels lacking