The Tricky Difficulty in Wargroove

Wargroove Logo
Credit: Chucklefish

Like so many games that I get excited about, I bought Wargroove as soon as it released on the Switch. I played five or six missions and then it sat collecting digital dust on the shelf. I do this a lot, buy a game, taste test it, but then inevitably get distracted by something newer or simply something different.

Wargroove is a great strategy game that calls back to the likes of Advance Wars, a Gameboy Advance game I obsessed over back in high school. Complete with pixellated graphics and charming characters, Wargroove was absolutely a game I could get behind, especially with its price at $20. I started playing the game recently as one I’d like to finish as part of my Four in February, and right now is a great time to start playing – they just released a free co-op campaign!

An Emberwing roasting Greenfinger.
Combat animations are colorful and even skippable. (Credit: Chucklefish)

In Wargroove, each map has you leading a commander character to victory. Manuever your units around the battlefield, capture villages to earn more money each turn, and then spend that money on fresh units to bolster your army. Each soldier has strengths and weaknesses when matched up with an enemy, and you can set up unique conditions to have your soldiers land a critical hit when they attack. For example, your basic Swordsman will land a critical blow when positioned next to your Commander, or the Knight hits theirs when charging six spaces and then attacking. Your commander is “unit” in more ways than one, tanking a lot of fire and dishing out the pain every time they swing.

When released a year ago, Wargroove had a static difficulty setting, but also included individual sliders for three key components of the battle: Damage Received, Income, and Groove Charge (your commander’s special ability). Early players found the game pretty damn tough, and I felt the same way when I picked the game back up recently. However, a month after release, Chucklefish released their first major update that added shorter combat animations and five preset difficulty options: Story, Easy, Medium, Hard, and Custom). If you bump the difficulty down a notch to Medium you can still earn 3 stars per mission, but the highest rank you can attain is A, rather than S.

Wargroove's Difficulty Screen
Adjusting the difficulty is easy and great for small tweaks.

Thankfully, Wargroove’s custom sliding difficulty still honors stars based on the Medium/Hard benchmarks. So for example, once I got the hang of things again and found Medium to be a little easy, I was able to start ticking up the “Damage Received” from 80% to 90% without sacrificing the number of stars earned per mission. As the campaign progresses, I’ll likely keep bumping this up until I get back to 100%, the Hard setting.

I won’t be a completionist in any sense for this game, but I love the ability to individually slide pieces of the difficulty around to find that sweet spot: challenging, but not frustrating. The level of control offered in Wargroove is certainly a great step for a strategy game like this.

Emeric achieving victory
The best I can get at my current difficulty, I’ll take it!

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