Wargroove, our most anticipated game of the year and probable GOTY 2019, is already an incredible success. It is (at the time I'm writing this, on my couch, with the TV on and Wargroove's start menu music soundtracking my evening) the best-selling game on the Nintendo eShop. In Canada, anyway, but presumably elsewhere.
The game has exceeded expectations, which were already quite high; it has a lengthy, challenging, and varied single-player Campaign, alongside its symmetrical Arcade battles and more than two dozen clever Puzzles. Asynchronous, cross-platform multiplayer has been a real treat, and just today I passed my Switch back and forth with a coworker on the bus home as I savagely reduced his stronghold to crumbs.
Having given the game many hours of my life since its release this past Friday, though, I can say that isn't perfect. Quality of life fixes are on the way for Wargroove, but there are some issues that the devs have not yet brought up. I'd like to put forward a handful of minor issues I'd like to see addressed in a future patch before I give the game my full recommendation.
Fog Of War Is Hell
Fog of war adds a delightful level of stealth and bluffing to an already measure tactical game (to be fair, I am a huge fan of games that involve a lot of bluffing). In multiplayer games, having my troop's movement come to an abrupt halt as it bumps into an archer hiding in a copse of trees is absolutely heartbreaking - and incredibly energizing for your opponent. In AI battles, you can still feel the pain of misjudging where your opponent's hidden soldiers are hiding, but you never get the opposite feeling. In Wargroove, it seems, the AI completely ignores the fog of war.
I can see this existing as an extra level of challenge for a veteran player, but for most of us? This just feels unfair. Give us the satisfaction of outsmarting the AI, Chucklefish, even if you have to blindfold them to do it.
Doing The Math
Speaking of fog of war, players' gold totals should not be visible to their opponents. In several of my multiplayer games thus far, I've noticed that I can see when my opponent spends their money, and how much of it they're spending, and where exactly they're spending it. The surprise of encountering an Emberwing loses some of its intensity when I saw my opponent's gold total drop by 1250 the turn before, let alone the fact that the camera zoomed over to the particular tower that birthed the dragon.
For that matter, it seems like you can tell when a village has been claimed by your opponent or not, despite the fog of war - you can see the coloration change. This feels like it must be an oversight.
We All Make Mistakes
How many times have I accidentally clicked "wait" when I meant to use my Commander's Groove power? Well, once. But I was very annoyed that there wasn't an easy way to undo that simple command. I'd learned nothing new about my opponent's position, made no foray into the fog of war, I'd made no attacks; for harmless mistakes like this, an undo button would be much appreciated.
While I can understand that a match between humans might do without an undo button, in the campaign, where mistakes might cost me a mission I'd sunk more than 30 minutes into, it would be a godsend.
On a similar note - and this may the slightest of all these quibbles - I'd like to see a quick "Reset" or "Rematch" button. While playing the Puzzles (which I love - please make more of these! Two-turn puzzles, even, like the lovechildren of Into The Breach and Wargroove?), making a mistake not only causes defeat, but boots me back into the Puzzles menu, where I have to spend whole nanoseconds scrolling back to where I was. What if I download dozens more? Think of the lost time!
Similarly, a quick "Rematch" button for multiplayer would be great. I know I want to play with my friend again right away; let's just get right into it, and not have to make a new room and input a new code.
You Have Treebuchets And Yet...
You don't call the Floran Commander powers "Groves."
Listen. I sat here and enumerated these faults I have with the game because I absolutely love it. I want more of it. I want Wargroove to live forever, and after that, I want Stargroove, and once that's lived forever, then I might finally rest. Now if you'll excuse me I have a turn or two or five to take before going to bed.