There’s nothing quite like over-the-top mech showdowns, right? It’s something that’ll always catch my attention, whether it’s in manga, movies, or video games. Naturally then, Warborn’s anime-inspired strategy mech battling certainly appealed to me, with publisher PQube bringing its sci-fi action over to the Nintendo Switch and other platforms this week.
Warborn’s tale takes place in the Auros System, which is in the midst of a war between four different factions. With no solution to the dispute in sight, you lead each faction into an assortment of missions against each other with the ultimate goal being to wipe out each other’s force of mech units. With intriguing characters thrown into the mix and an assortment of scenarios playing out between the warring factions, there’s a surprising amount of story and intrigue to be found across Warborn’s vast narrative. You’ll certainly find yourself invested in the tale, even if most of your time is spent on the battlefield.
In traditional strategy fashion, Warborn’s battles see you working across a hexagonal map as you take turns with your enemies, assign actions, and hopefully dish out some hurt and leave the remains of your mech foes across the battlefield. Sounds pretty straight forward, right? You’ll also have multiple different units at your disposal that bring with them varied strengths, weaknesses and abilities, with each unit adding a more thorough element of strategy to your encounters and allowing you to formulate plans in order to take enemies down. Whether you want to attack from up close, from afar, or with all out brutality, Warborn’s units give you the freedom to play in a fashion that suits you.
Outside of the units and planning your attacks, there are other things to consider in Warborn. For one, the maps have an assortment of different tiles you can take advantage of, whether that’s when seeking cover, looking to block your enemies off, or even capturing areas to give yourself reinforcements – you’ll earn SP during gameplay which can be spent to add additional units to your squadron in order to give yourself a better chances of success, provided you have taken over the appropriate tiles first. Some tiles take more effort to traverse across too, whilst others may even decrease the damage you take from incoming attacks. It all adds an extra element of strategy as to where you move across the map and it shows that sometimes you have to think about more than just getting yourself in the right position to hit an attack on your enemies.
It all comes together nicely to make for an enjoyable strategic experience, though it doesn’t really offer anything that fans of the genre wouldn’t have seen before. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s not fun and there’s something undeniably cool about the mech battling, but Warborn does play things safe by utilising mechanics that we’ve seen time and time again across the genre over the years.
The main experience of Warborn comes with its campaign, which sends you on a wide assortment of missions as the different factions featured in the game. Each faction brings their own unique specialties for you to play around with, which adds a welcome degree of variety to the experience. In fairness, there’s a good selection of objectives to complete too, so you won’t find yourself doing the same things over and over on too regular of a basis. There’s plenty to see and do in the campaign and with it coming in at close to twenty-hours in length, you’ll certainly find yourself completely intrigued by the sci-fi war escapade it offers.
There isn’t just the main campaign to play through in Warborn though, with a map editor in place that allows you to craft your own levels to battle across. I love toying around with features like this in video games, so it was certainly a welcome addition that adds a good amount of longevity to the experience. Of course, the simplicity of the gameplay does mean that there’s not a whole lot of depth to be found in the editor, but the fact that you can play on your creations against both the AI and other players online does mean that that it’s easy to spend hours making your own little battlefields. It’s good stuff.
If you’re not the creative type, there are also skirmishes to battle through that are ideal for facing off against the AI in stand-alone showdowns. I’ll admit, I wasn’t too invested in these after completing the campaign and playing with the map editor, but they’re still a welcome addition that ensure that your time with Warborn won’t be over too quickly.
Warborn offers a slick and fun strategy experience, though it is one that plays it safe and doesn’t really offer anything that you wouldn’t have seen before. Fortunately, what it does offer is of a high quality, so it’s hard to complain – especially when you consider there’s plenty of hours of enjoyment to be had across its lengthy campaign and the intuitive map editor (which can also be used for online battles, which is always a plus).
If you’re looking for some neat strategy fun on your Nintendo Switch, you’ll certainly want to check Warborn’s frantic sci-fi action out.
Developer: Raredrop Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC