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Nintendo Switch  header logo

Tiny Metal Switch review - Right, so who remembers Advance Wars?

For: Switch

What IS war good for?

Product: Tiny Metal | Format: Switch | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Sometimes I feel bad comparing new games to titles from the past - you can often end up with unfair expectations that a present day project just can't live up to.

But in the case of Tiny Metal, the comparisons to Advance Wars are justified, and probably welcomed.

Advance Wars was a series of colourful and charming turn-based strategy titles made for the Game Boy Advance and DS systems by none other than Intelligent Systems, before that particular outfit started chasing the weeb dollar with the Fire Emblem franchise.

Luckily, someone in the indie scene has decided to give that particular formula a crack, and Tiny Metal, for the most part, does a pretty good job of recapturing what made AW so great.

Advancing the war

Developer Area 35 has lifted much of what made Advance Wars so great. It sees you waging lovely cartoon warfare, vying to either destroy all enemy units or take over their HQ.

There's a variety of different unit types that adhere to a rock-paper-scissors type system. Want to kill a group of riflemen? Use an armoured scout car. Do that and you'll be at risk from RPG-wielding troops.

There's even the cinematics that play out when two units come into conflict, just like in Fire Emblem or Advance Wars.

There are also cities and factories to capture which provide a tactical advantage - taking a city means more earning more taxes, which can be used to create more units.

Tiny Metal Switch review screenshot

Though on the surface, Tiny Metal does look like an Advance Wars clone, the title does have its own ideas. There's a neat mechanic called Focus Fire which sees multiple units ganging up on a single combatant, which is a quick way of turning the tide.

There's also something satisfying about unleashing multiple tanks on one, nearly dead infantry unit, but that's a conversation for my therapist, not you.

Then there are radar stations that help you peer into the fog of war to find where enemy units are hiding, which is a nice touch.

Often a game like this can fall apart when it comes to the AI, but thankfully the computer controlled generals are really tough opponents, never letting up and rarely making mistakes.

This means that users have to really bring their A game or risk defeat to a collection of 1s and 0s. These engagements can go on for some time, too, but thankfully Tiny Metal lets you save at pretty much whenever you want.

Play war with me?

There is multiplayer coming to the game, but right now it's unavailable. Keep your eyes on Pocket Gamer for news about that.

Points are deducted for the game's performance, which takes a hit occasionally when playing in handheld mode, especially when there's a lot going on on-screen.

Overall though, Tiny Metal brings the best of Intelligent Systems classic Advance War franchise to the table for a new generation, as well as lugging along some of its own ideas.

It's a tough and satisfying cookie, and one that will only get better when Area35 brings out its multiplayer component out.
Tiny Metal Switch review - Right, so who remembers Advance Wars?
Reviewer photo
Alex Calvin | 6 March 2018
The perfect game for waging adorable warfare while on the bus, on your sofa, or on your toilet
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