[PlayStation 4] WARTILE Review
WARTILE from Deck13 and Playwood Project is a video game strategy take on the miniatures board game RPG genre. Learn more in our WARTILE review!
The team at Playwood Project took WARTILE to Kickstarter back in 2016 with a £55,000 goal. After gaining the support of more than 1,300 fans, the project, unfortunately, did not reach its goal. The team at Playwood Project carried on working on the game here and there as they could and ended up taking WARTILE to Steam Early Access to help secure the funding needed to continue with the development. It’s now 2020, and WARTILE is finally out for all to enjoy on PlayStation 4 thanks to publisher Deck13.
Before you start your journey with WARTILE, you’ll first need to select between playing the game in the Normal or the Casual difficulty settings. In the world of WARTILE, a mysterious plague has been making its way through the northern kingdoms, spreading like wildfire. After a long time, it’s finally worked its way to your village, making all villagers feel the wrath of the illness it leaves in its wake. Your father, the Jarl of the village, succumbs to the plague, leaving you in charge as you take on his mantle.
Because of how bad things are looking, the village Godi suggests that you take the boats and travel to the Tears of Eir so that you can make an offering – a blood sacrifice. What will you end up sacrificing at the Tears of Eir to try and start to fix what the plague has done? These are questions that you will answer during the tutorial stage for WARTILE, which will also allow you to learn the basics of how you will be controlling your party members – which are represented by figurines on the board game.
You will select figurines by pressing and holding down the X button, moving them with the left analog stick to any hex within their movement range. You can also decide to move all figurines together as a group, which is done by pressing and holding down the Triangle button. Since action will take place in a semi real-time setting, you can also slow down time a bit with the Circle button so that you can evaluate your next step. After a figurine has moved, you will need to wait for its movement cooldown period to be over before it can move again.
Sometimes, there will be a need to collect and carry objects that can help you clear the way for your other figurines. Once you’ve managed to collect such an object, it will be carried by one of your figurines, displayed next to its ability cards. These cards can be accessed by pressing the R1 button to cycle through your available cards, which are displayed at the bottom right of the screen. If your party members are within attacking range of any opponents, they will automatically attack, dishing out damage as they take some from the enemy’s counterattacks. Be sure to keep an eye on their overall health, or they might end up breaking!
After completing a level, you will be rated depending on the objectives you’ve completed – some levels will have main objectives, as well as secondary objectives -, the number of enemy units you’ve killed, the time it took you to play the entire thing from start to finish, and the battle points you earned. All of this will be tallied up and added to your final score, as you’re rewarded with some gold coins for your efforts, which you can put to good use with the merchant – more on this in a bit.
You will be selecting the different battleboards you will take on from the campaign map, which will list the boardgame’s name, general info, the objectives to complete, and the rewards you will receive if you’re victorious. Battleboards can have multiple levels, and you can review the overall difficulty for each one. You can also take on them at a higher difficulty to gain more rewards. Something to keep in mind is that your reputation level will establish how much of an easy/hard time you’ll have when taking on a battleboard. If your reputation number matches the difficulty’s number, then you’re set. If it’s higher, then you’re going to have an easier time. If it’s lower, then you’re going to have to prepare for a bigger challenge.
During battle, you need to keep in mind that any figurine who holds the higher ground will gain a considerable boost to its defense, which means you can use this to your advantage, but need to be careful in case some of your opponents are standing on higher ground. Flanking is also important, since attacking figurines from any of its rear tiles will give you a big boost to your attack – again, be careful with your opponents because if they flank you, you could be down for the count! To keep your figurines in top shape, you should keep your eyes open for any relics on the battleboard. Activating one will save your current progress on that battleboard, as well as completely heal all of your figurines. And if any of them have died, they will be revived by the power of the relic!
As you progress through the game, more characters will be unlocked for you to add to your party. To do this, you can go to the tavern to buy the new figurines that are available. In total, you will unlock four additional characters: Jorim Radningar, a trained and dedicated Viking warrior who favors a tank build; Ylva, a Norse shaman who fights alongside her pet crow, cursing anyone foolish enough to stand in her path; Ivor Bonecrusher, a barbarian who can deal a ton of damage, but who does not have much health or armor protection; and Thorhild, a very handy archer who can attack enemies from far away, chipping away at their health from a safe distance.
Every time that you complete a battleboard, the merchant – which is located on the right side of the main campaign screen – will have new items to offer to you. These include new weapons and armor pieces for your figurines, as well as runes that they can equip to receive a boost to their hit points, attack, defense, armor, and more. You can also decide to sell some of your items so that you can earn some extra coins to aid you on your adventure. You’ll find many items as you complete each battleboard, and sometimes you’ll find equipment that is less effective than what you have on your figurines, so selling this surplus makes sense.
As you play and complete battleboards, you will unlock new cards for your deck. These cards are the ones that are assigned to the L1 and R1 buttons to cycle through them in battle, using them as long as you have enough battlepoints on you – which are displayed at the bottom of the screen. There is a wide variety of cards you can use, but I’d suggest that you always bring with you one card in particular: Touch of Eir. This card, in particular, will prove to be very valuable since it can be used to heal any figurine for 30 hit points.
As for trophy hunters, it’s time to rejoice! Not only does WARTILE feature a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy waiting for you, but it also has no missable trophies to worry about! Since you can replay all battleboards, you will just need to complete all of the battleboards in the game, buy all of the figurines at the tavern once you’ve unlocked them, purchase an item at the merchant, sell an item at the merchant, get a figurine to level three and to level five, as well as completing a handful of miscellaneous objectives. You’re looking at spending around 6-8 hours unlocking all of the trophies before you can add a new Platinum to your collection.
It’s been a long wait, but I’m here to report that it has been worth it. WARTILE offers a refreshing experience that mixes the worlds of boardgames with miniature figurines and strategy RPG. It presents a nice challenge with a difficulty that can be adjusted depending on each player’s expertise so that players of all skill levels can take this one for a spin. WARTILE is out on PlayStation 4 for only $19.99.
This WARTILE review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Deck13.