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Game review: Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp (Switch)
Fri, 28th Apr 2023

The Advance Wars games were originally released for the Game Boy Advance back in 2001 and 2003. While most Game Boy Advance games were 2D side-scrollers, Advance Wars was something different as it delved into the turn-based strategy genre.

I sadly never got the chance to play any of the Advance Wars games, mainly because of the cost of GBA games back in the early ‘00s. I was only a tween back then, and most GBA games cost around $120 at EB Games NZ. It truly was expensive having no income back then! Thankfully, it’s now 2023 and Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp has been released for the Nintendo Switch. Ironically, the Switch version of the game is cheaper than the GBA versions, as Mighty Ape is selling the game for only $79.00.

As the name of the game suggests, this release is a remake containing both Advance Wars as well as its direct sequel Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising. The remake does not come with any of the Nintendo DS sequels, which is a bit of a shame.

If you are new to the franchise like me, Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp contains a very helpful tutorial at the start to get new players up to speed with its addicting gameplay. If you want to dial down the difficulty, there is a casual mode added for those gamers that might not be good at playing strategy games.

What I like most about Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp is the fact that it includes several game modes. The campaign mode includes the single-player story modes from both Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2.

Aside from its single-player offerings, the game also allows you to take the fight to other people from home or around the world. Using only one Switch console, I was able to play a simple Versus match with my brother. Our first matchup was quite lengthy, as it lasted for around 20 minutes!

For people that don’t have anyone at home to play with, you can connect to play against other people online. The only downside to the online multiplayer is that it isn’t free. Much like most paid console games, you have to pay a monthly subscription if you want to play games online these days.

Another cool mode that has been added to the game is the Design Room. In the Design Room, you are free to create the terrain of your own custom map. The tools to place the terrain are surprisingly simple and easy to use. The only downside to map creation is that you can only create a small map. Maps in this game are only limited to a 15x10 area.

That being said, if you think you have made a masterpiece of a map, you’re free to share your creations online. You can save up to 50 different maps, so you’re able to be as creative as possible. Sadly if you want to share maps online, you still have to have a paid subscription even to do that too!

In terms of gameplay, Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp’s controls are simple and beginner friendly to learn. Since the game’s maps are small and compact, you don’t have to walk a long way to engage the enemy like you do in other RTS games.

You can only control one unit at a time, although multiple troops and vehicles can be moved in one turn. You cannot highlight a ton of units to move or attack at the same time as other strategy games. As I mentioned before, this game features turn-based combat meaning you have to take turns with the AI or other players before you’re able to attack again.

The key to winning battles in this game is strategically attacking and right enemy units at the right time. For example, you may want to use your tank in order to kill troopers. If you use troopers to try and kill an enemy tank, well, you’re just going to die because their guns cannot damage heavy armour.

The game also allows you to repair or replenish ammo if you’re struggling to beat the enemy on your own. Battles are very lengthy, so you will need to make sure your units are armed up before you can kill every enemy type. You can use mountains to get a better vantage point or even block bridges so the enemy cannot get to your base.

If you are struggling to win, there is a special Power option that you can use as a last resort. The Power option can sometimes increase your attack power or to repair all your damaged units. It gives you an advantage if a certain boss or enemy type might be giving you extra trouble.

Graphically, Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp is far from the best-looking Switch game I have ever played. However, it is a grade above the original GBA versions. The anime-style illustrations look great, and the bright 3D graphics pop out of the screen too. The game also adds some voice acting, although it’s limited since the characters don’t speak entire sentences for some reason.

As fun as this game is, Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp might not be accessible to everyone. For one thing, the single-player campaigns are no walk in the park. I struggled to even complete the first mission in the first level!

Matches might also be too long for those that are used to other video games. The matches I had with my brother lasted well over 20 minutes each. This is also true with the many levels I played through both story campaigns.

Aside from a few issues, Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp is still a fun remake. Veterans will love the new graphics, and newcomers can easily get acquainted with the gameplay if they are fans of turn-based combat games. 

Verdict: 8.0/10