Developed by Raredrop Games and published by PQube, Warborn is a futuristic, turn-based strategy game. The game has the graphical and animation feel of a Japanese-style anime series. The battle maps don’t seem very detailed, but the characters themselves look like something from Transformers.
Warborn skips opening with a drawn out story expo; instead, you are just thrown in the deep end as Luella, a commander of the Nomad rebel force. Sent on a mission to learn how to control your team of Mechas, you learn about movement and weapon range, and capturing or overriding structures. Capturing structures earns points in order to summon reinforcements, while the refinery structures generate more points to be able to call in stronger units.
The campaign has 40 missions to work through, with 10 missions per commander. These are laid out in a linear fashion, to be completed one after the other, you cannot choose which commander’s missions to complete first. Although there is no intro to the story, there is a snippet of storyline in-between each of the missions. You find out that Luella pilots a super-mecha called the Deity, and she herself has been enhanced by something called a Dusk Enhancement. Although this improves her abilities, it comes at a cost to her health and she needs to take Dusk Inhibitor medicine to keep the sickness at bay.
Each mission has one of 2 goals; either capture all the structures or eliminate all of the enemies. The game on its normal setting is not too challenging, although you can increase the difficulty. The enemy AI seems more interested in prolonging a battle than rather winning it. They continually spam summon light infantry units, rather than bide their time to summon units tactically.
The game is played on very simply designed maps which are broken up into hexagonal segments. These segments are you gauge for movement and weapon range for all of your troops. This is different than the common square-based arenas of tactics-based games, but the delivery doesn’t fully hit the spot. The hexagonal hive-like maps sometimes over-complicate and confuses the movement and weapon range.
Instead of your sniper troop having a long-range around them, they only have a long-range in the 6 straight lines around them. That means an enemy could stand out in the open two blocks away, slightly off-centre, and the sniper troop with a 6-block range cannot hit them. I know I need to understand it’s tactical based and I have to forgo reality especially when they are humans inside giant war mechas fighting each other, but it still bugs me. The map also has different objects which influence movement and cover. You can use forest or city-based blocks to provide cover so you take less damage, but it will also stop your trooper from moving as far if you travel through those blocks. As I mentioned before, each map also has refineries and outposts which you need to capture to be able to generate SP every round, allowing you to summon more units.
There are about 10 different troop types which are the same for you and your enemies. You have your light infantry types, scouts, healers, snipers, with the costliest being the heavily armed and armoured units which have very little movement range. You only gain a certain amount of SP each round, which is affected by how many refinery and outposts you have captured. Only one unit can be summoned per outpost that you have, depending on how much SP you have to spend.
You also build up CP which stands for Command Points, gained when you attack – or are attacked by – enemies. Once this gauge is full, all the perks of your commander are activated, giving you an advantage for that round. It could be you gain a bit more movement, weapon range or weapon damage. The benefit is generally quite small, and it only lasts for the round, but it could give you that little bit of an edge in a battle that you might need. On some maps, you either start with your commander unit, or you can summon them when you build up enough SP. These commander units are superior to the other units in both weaponry and movement and if used wisely, they could win you the battle by themselves.
As the campaign is quite linear and somewhat monotonous after a while there are other options which can extend your experience with the game. It offers you the chance for a local multiplayer game against a friend, or you can play online against a friend or a random opponent. This will provide you with a much better tactical challenge than the AI will. There is also a map editor function to design your own levels, letting you can experiment to your heart’s content to make a decent battlefield for your matches.
Warborn is a basic tactical-strategy game with an interesting story, but it doesn’t do enough to make it stand out from the others. The hexagonal battlefield could have been made more interesting, but it doesn’t do it for me. I think it’s the simple enemy AI and lack of variety in the missions that suck the life out of the experience. But it is a clean and functional tactics game, and it would benefit those new to the genre gain some experience.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.