Warparty is a real-time strategy game developed by War Cave and Crazy Monkey Studios. It is available on Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch for $24.99. This review was conducted on a standard Xbox One system by Joseph Pugh.
Traditional base-building real-time strategy games have been somewhat of a rarity the last several years. Warparty takes us back to the glory days of the genre but also plays it very safe. However, the game features dinosaurs, and I am probably the biggest sucker for those.
Every game is made better by the inclusion of Dinosaurs, I really mean that. Madden Football would suddenly be a lot more interesting if the players were dodging Velociraptors on the field!
WarParty places you in command of one of three prehistoric factions that you can play in a number of modes; Skirmish, Survival, and a Campaign. The Steam version actually already includes online multiplayer in early access as I write this. Consoles are expected to receive it on launch or shortly after.
Wild Dinosaurs are present on the map, they can be hunted for food, or the Vithara can tame them.
The campaign mode features a story for each of the three factions. The Wild Landers, The Necromas, and the Vithara. Each one of the factions are mostly unique. They have different mid to late game units, powers, and upgrades. I say mostly because the basic units tend to be very similar, and the buildings look different but usually serve the same purpose.
The Wild Landers end up with heavy hitters like Triceratops riders and War Rex’s. While the Necromas aren’t dino focused at all, instead they are about necromancy. They convert killed foes into zombies. The Vithara do not get attacked by wild Dinosaurs on the map, instead, they can convert them for their own use.
The campaign is interesting if a little bit cheesy and intentionally so. It’s nice that all three factions have their own little campaign. The core of the game is probably the skirmish mode against the AI and the online multiplayer. I was happy to see that several difficulty settings were present for skirmish, survival and the campaign.
Each faction has a unique wheel of powers you can use.
In true to form real-time strategy fashion, you collect resources with worker units, build structures, raise an army and battle your enemy’s base and army’s. You have to collect food and crystal and the resource nodes do tend to run out quickly. You will be in a constant battle to move and defend new supply lines while attempting to sabotage your enemies.
One neat feature is the ability to get food from slain wild dinosaurs, it’s rarely a game changer but can certainly help you get your worker trains moving early on. You also will battle for Go’n shrines scattered across the map. These build up energy that allows you to cast powers unique to your faction, such as lightning strikes.
Every time you upgrade your settlement to a new tier, you get to choose between a couple of upgrades that are unique to your faction. It’s a small but nice strategical addition.
The hud elements and health bars can sometimes block your view of the action.
My review was conducted on a standard Xbox One console. While I’m sure the game controls better with a mouse and keyboard, the controller mapping does an admirable job of making Warparty easy to play. It comes equipped with a couple of one button hotkeys, and holding another button causes your cursor to expand to select multiple units.
I still had some difficulty micromanaging units in combat, but for a real-time strategy game on a console, it controls pretty smoothly. In combat, most units fall into the classic rock paper scissors pattern. Warriors, beasts, and archers in this case. Though a couple units flip the concept on its head.
I found the unit variety actually lacking somewhat, especially as most of them were based on statistics without doing anything special. Strangely one faction has no dinosaurs at all. Warparty is a solid game, there is no denying that. But its also very safe, it could have easily existed many years back alongside the games it’s inspired by. Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on the player.
Controlling the Go’n shrines is one of the keys to victory.
One other issue I had was the visual user interface was at times obnoxious and in the way. With the health bars and tooltips, it was sometimes difficult to manage what was actually happening in battle. However, Warparty does present you with most of the information about each of your units in a clean fashion. Their attack, speed, and other statistics are located on a card at the bottom of the screen whenever you select a unit.
In fact, the game features its own in-depth wiki right inside the game. You can open it up on the main menu and look at detailed information on every unit and upgrade in the game. I would love for more games to have this kind of detailed information at hand, without exiting the game.
WarParty is a solid real-time strategy game in a market that’s dearly lacking them. Yet at the same time, I feel like I’ve played it before in years gone by, several times in fact. It does have a few things that make it stand out, the Dinosaur theme for one. It also has a lot of content between survival, the campaign, skirmish and multiplayer.
A detailed in the game wiki is a brilliant idea that I would love to see more games adopt.
Being generic isn’t a video game crime by any means. So for the price, I still recommend it if you have been hankering for an old school RTS game. However, if you are on console, wait and see when the multiplayer drops to get the best bang for your buck. With any luck, by the time I publish the review, it will already have it.
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- Solid real-time strategy gameplay
- Smooth console controls
- Three Factions with unique powers and upgrade and a campaign for each.
- Variety of modes
- In game wiki is brilliant
- It feels like older RTS games instead of a new one.
- Cluttered UI can make details hard to see.
- Variety of units is a little low and early game units are kinda similar between factions.
- Multiplayer may or may not be in the console versions on day 1 (But will be coming)