Real Time Strategy games aren’t that common on Nintendo’s latest console, so I was eager to get my hands on Warparty, the new game from developer Warcave and Crazy Monkey Studios.
The setting is certainly an interesting one; a world where a tribe, the Go’n, used magic totems to control dinosaurs and gain power, then wiped each other out, leaving the knowledge laying around for someone to find one day. That’s where you come in, leading a new tribe into the lands where the dinosaurs roam and gradually building up your powers to build towns, fight off other tribes and protect against dangerous animals in order to thrive.
Learning the basics of troop movement, ordering villagers to make farms and barracks etc is all standard stuff for an RTS and the game offers up little in the way of surprises here. Your first task is to fight off some basic dinosaurs and find a village space in order to create a camp. The game starts to wobble a little from here on, though, presenting you with a tutorial that provides as much guess work as most campaigns do and, at times, offering up no help with contextual menus or buttons. Even when you do get the hang of what button to press, it’s a fiddly process.
Moving troops relies on an odd button press that extends a circle the longer you hold it, anything within that circle being chosen. It’s in-precise and takes time to grab your army, not something you need when being attacked, plus it could have easily been overcome with a standard box-style method used by RTS games for many years, so I’m not sure why the developers thought this was the best way to go about it. Menus to build are linked to triggers on the pro controller or Joycons and are workable, but the game often gives you the wrong hints at the start about using them.
Once you unlock the other two factions in the game and finally get to use the Go’n magic it does open the game up a bit, but the fiddly control over your characters persists. The other two tribes are worth discovering, though. One has worked out the power over the dinosaurs and the other has power over the undead, so they play a little differently and have some cool skill trees to unlock. Humans get the worst deal from the G’on powers but are generally more well rounded and versatile instead.
The issue with this is that there’s no multiplayer option as yet to make use of the three tribes in a way that would really open the game up. As it stands, it’s an ok RTS that, at first, is fairly novel to play on Nintendo’s console but soon becomes annoying as you try to survive due to the control issues as much as the environment or enemies. If the controls were sorted out then even in single player this may be worth a play, which makes it a bit of a missed opportunity as it stands.