Warpips – Review

We still don’t get a lot of strategy games on console, but we do occasionally get some gems that are a little lighter on the stats and micromanagement. Warpips is one of those slimmed-down offerings, a bit like Swords & Soldier or Castlestorm if you remember those. I guess there are even similarities with Clash Royale or the Command & Conquer: Rivals mobile game – there are no microtransaction shenanigans here though.

You don’t have much control in battle other than spawning units, deploying special weapons and building emplacements. You’ll set your loyal soldiers off and they’ll march from one side of the narrow map to the other in an attempt to take out the enemy base. There’s a surprising amount of depth to this though as you have to handle your resources.

As you fight, you level up, gaining Combat Points. These points can be used to increase cash flow, promote units, increase your deployable force or unlock high-powered units and abilities. I like to spend my free starter points on upgrading my money lump sum amount and then using the last one to cash in. I’ve seen gameplay where people just don’t put any points into this. Alternatively, there are times when rapidly promoting your units will give you a sizeable advantage and others where you’ll have no choice but use them to rush a tank onto the field ASAP.

The battles themselves are spread over a campaign map, not too unlike C&C’s mission options of picking an arrow to decide which neighbouring territory to invade. You don’t need to conquer every region but you’ll need to progress through adjacent areas to reach the enemy’s HQ. There’s some strategy to picking your invasion route, you may want to skirt around areas with high resistance or detour to collect a specific resource/new unit, but the longer you take to reach the HQ, the stronger enemy forces become.

I’ve skipped over some detail on acquiring units. You collect units by beating an enemy region, each one offers different rewards so bear that in mind when planning your wider campaign. Units are quite a special resource as once you use them in battle they’re gone. You can think of it as amassing tokens for each unit type, and you use a token each time you bring that unit type into battle (this does not affect the number of spawns in battle). Using powerful units early can win you the battle but lose the war. You’ll want to learn how to use each of your units alongside defences like sandbags and turrets and special weapons such as smoke grenades and rockets so that you can adapt to whatever “tokens” you happen to have at hand. There is also a series of upgrades you can buy between missions which become crucial further into a campaign.

At first glance, the presentation looks a little basic, with some retro sounds and menus, and some graphics that remind me of generic voxel games and Crossy Road. This however is a harsh assessment. The 3D background might be low poly but they look clean and easy to read, they also provide a nice contrast for your pixel-style units. The whole package is actually wholesomely nostalgic. The units do resemble old-school RTS units. The menus and story snippets take me back further to the Amiga including games like Desert Strike and Canon Fodder. There’s even a good old-school slightly disturbing game over screen with appropriately creepy music.

The nostalgia continues with the soundtrack selection, the work of one man on the small team of developers. It’s very fitting and a great accompaniment to the general hubbub of battle. There’s even a stellar homage to C&C’s Hell March.

With several difficulties and an Endless mode, Warpips is considerably more tactical than I expected. Easier difficulties are a fun blast but Endless and harder settings offer some real challenges. Warpips has a lot of charm, I assume thanks to the developers’ love of classic wargames. It took me a little while to adapt to the console control scheme but after a while, it is mostly intuitive putting most actions just one button away. Warpips is a surprisingly nostalgic tactical gem, and I recommend it to anyone that can appreciate that.

8/10 star rating

Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment

Developer: Skirmish Mode Games

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X and Series S





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *