It was back in 2001 and Intelligent Systems (a developer closely associated with Nintendo) was developing a turn-based war game for the Game Boy Advance, which would become a reference in the genre in future years, inspiring many games. Let’s talk about Advance Wars.

Advance Wars is a game that was initially born to attract an audience of teenagers, thanks to its relatively simple mechanics, hardcover characters and a plot that didn’t take itself very seriously.

This apparent simplicity has become the strength of the series which thanks to its success has allowed the development of three other titles related to the series: Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising for Game Boy Advance, and two games for the Nintendo DS console, that is, Advance Wars: Dual Strike and Advance Wars: Days of Ruin.

The success of Advance Wars did not only do good for this series but allowed the Intelligent System, thanks to the success achieved, to work on nothing less than Fire Emblem and everything related to this series.

For those unfamiliar with Advance Wars, this is a war game where we drive several units on a grid map and our goal may be to conquer the enemy headquarters or destroy all its units. Each unit can move in a specific radius and attack with primary and secondary weapons by exploiting the different types of terrain that affect movement, vision and defense attributes.

Today many developers have taken and still take inspiration from the title published by Nintendo and with the help of one of the greatest experts in tactical turn-based games, Rui Castro (at the bottom of the page you will find links to his groups), we have prepared a list with the relevant PC titles that have been inspired or are very reminiscent of Advance Wars.

Lets start with all the games like Advance Wars for PC.

The Battle for Wesnoth – 2003

Open source turn-based strategy game with solo and multiplayer mode with lots of community custom-made campaigns.
Official website | Steam page

Future Wars – 2010

Inspired by Advance Wars and Battle Isle, the game offers a 3d-graphics and a rock-paper-scissors mechanics easy to learn.

Key features:

  • Modern 3D graphics & proven gameplay embedded in an engaging and sometimes, humorous plot
  • Infinite modding possibilities through open data structure, open scripts and editor
  • Novel and unique game modes such as AI vs. AI or play-by-email
  • Rock-paper-scissors principle makes Future Wars easy to learn but difficult to master
  • In-game achievements allows for hours of replay to acquire top honors

Steam page

Great Big War Game – 2012

Reviewed very positively by media, Great Big Wargame is a turn-based strategy game where you have to collect resources, assassinate enemy generals, invade territories, evacuate your forces, do a bit of enemy base ownage, etc. with over 40 hours of campaign mode.

Key features:

  • Control armies of 30 different units on land, sea and air
  • 50+ hours of gameplay in the story campaign
  • 70+ skirmish/multiplayer maps
  • Online asynchronous multiplayer – challenge others on PC, iOS and Android
  • Units can collect battle points through play to be used to give tactical boosts and rank-ups
  • Each level mission has unique challenges, introduced each time either a new playing piece, new terrain, new buildings or different tactics to achieve a win
  • Use height advantage and choke points to dominate your enemy
  • Play in the jungle, desert, polar, rocky & temperate terrain
  • Replay value to achieve higher rankings
  • Your game account for online play works on PC, iOS and Android – swap around at will.

Official website | Steam Page

Skulls of the Shogun – 2013

Ghost-samurai warriors, magical animal monks, and mustachioed samurai generals in this fast-paced turn-based strategy game inspired by Advance Wars.

Key features:

  • A fast-paced, arcade-inspired blend of arcade action and turn-based strategy!
  • Rub shoulders with the colorful denizens of the Afterlife and power up your army to deadly demons!
  • Rampage through 24 levels in an epic single-player campaign!
  • Confound opponents with the all-new Tanuki Monk unit!
  • Gain experience and fuse emblems with an all-new player progression system!
  • Battle up to 4 players at once on spectacular multiplayer maps, both locally and online!
  • Power your way through an all-new episode, which features persistent troops and the mischievous new Tanuki Monk!
  • Get inside our heads with all-new Developer Commentary!

Official website | Steam page

Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol – 2013

Face 180 missions in this aircraft turn-based strategy game. You can earn promotions, upgrade equipments & unlock new skills.

Key features:

  • Advance from Aviator to Ace in over 180 missions using 30 authentic aircraft
  • Earn promotions, equipment upgrades and advanced maneuvers like rolls, loops, and slips
  • Unlock new Aces with special skill sets to expand your gameplay options
  • Single Player campaign & Hot Seat Multiplayer missions with leaderboards

Developer official website | Steam page

Battle Worlds: Kronos – 2013

Inspired by Advance Wars, Battle Isle and Panzer General, the game offer 2 different single-player campaign, some challenge maps and multiplayer.

Key features:

  • Two Single Player Campaigns (~50 hours of gameplay)
  • Single Player Challenge Maps – Test your skills in different combat scenarios and keep track of your progress. 
  • Live Multiplayer – Battle your friends live on the internet (cross-platform) or via hot-seat.
  • Asynchronous Multiplayer – Take all the time you need and consider your moves. Similar to “play-by-mail”, your round is stored on our server and turned over to your opponent. The system allows you to continue the match anytime and anywhere you want (cross-platform).
  • Online Features – Leagues, chat and – in early 2014 – tournaments.
  • Strong AI – A clever AI that will challenge even experienced commanders.
  • Map Editor – A powerful editor to create your own maps and missions (Windows only).
  • Includes “Trains” DLC – Additional ~15 hours campaign, new units and new multiplayer maps

Official developer website | Steam page

Desert Ashes – 2014

A turn-based game that offers a challenging single-player campaign with an innovative night & day system.

Steam page

Tanks of Freedom – 2015

Turn-Based Strategy in Isometric Pixel Art developed by indie studio P1X. You can play a campaign against IA or a multiplayer game mode against your friends. Released in 2015 the game still receive updates and new contents.

Official website

Front Wars – 2015

The Second World War in Advance Wars style.

Key features:

  • 2 Single Player Campaigns
  • 41 Missions
  • 18 different Units: Soldiers, Tanks, Planes, Ships…
  • 3 difficulty levels
  • Turn-based multiplayer

Steam page

Legends of Callasia – 2016

30 Single-Player Campaign Levels with over 40 hours of gameplay. In Legend of Callasia we can choose from 3 different faction and 25 heroes, each with their skills and traits.

Key features:

  • Three Factions to choose from: Hundred Kingdoms, Faeborne, and Revenant
  • Over 25 Heroes with different classes, traits, and bonus cards
  • 30 Single-Player Campaign Levels worth almost 40 hours of gameplay
  • More than 40 tabletop-style Skirmish/Multiplayer maps playable up to 8 players
  • Pay once and play on all platforms: also available on iPad and Android

Official developer website | Steam page

Shattered Throne – 2016

A fantasy turn-based strategy game with lots of features.

Key features:

  • Three unique armies, each with their own distinct play style 
  • Choose your general from a variety of characters, each with their own special powers and enhancements 
  • Strategy without the random, results are fully deterministic 
  • Unlimited undos to find the best method of attack 
  • Combo system makes each follow up attack against the same target stronger than the previous 
  • Upgrade villages to increase your economy and access special units and effects 
  • Units gain experience by defeating enemies, yielding powerful champions and heroes
  • Battle the AI across a sprawling campaign with unique battles and 3 difficulty modes
  • Puzzle mode maps to test even the greatest generals
  • Build your own maps and share them through Steam Workshop
  • Battle others online with asynchronous game play

Steam page

Tiny Metal – 2017

One of the games that took greater inspiration from Advance Wars so much to call it the spiritual successor.

Key features:

  • Campaign mode
  • Unique attack system
  • Online multiplayer
  • Skirmish Matches
  • Hero units

Official developer website | Steam page

Epic Little War Game – 2017

Developed by the same Great Big Wargame developer. Their new game offer new mechanics, cooperative and PvP mode.

Key features:

  • Single player campaign mode that introduces new concepts as you play – no boring tutorial campaigns.
  • Skirmish mode with up to six players – any combo of local friends or AI’s on a wide range of maps for infinite replay.
  • Random map generator. The weird USP here being that it makes actually playable maps.
  • Online co-operative play. Team up with a friend over teh interwebs to beat a pair of AI’s on various set piece challenges.
  • Online PVP. Mash your opponents, increase your rating, brag about it to everybody.
  • Turn-based. This is not a real-time game. You play in turns, so you have to win by being a better tactician, not by clicking faster than the other guy.

Official developer website | Steam page

Codex of Victory – 2017

A sci-fi turn-based strategy game where we control drones, tanks and robots. In addition to the units, we will also have to deal with production and construction.

  • Exciting combination of turn-based combat and real-time base building
  • 20+ hours of story-based singleplayer campaign
  • Online multiplayer battles with detailed army customization options
  • 25+ unique units, each with countless variations
  • High replay value ensured by randomly generated campaign missions
  • Neo-feudal sci-fi environment with vivid, cel-shaded graphics

Official developer website | Steam page

Warring States Tactics – 2018

A turn-based strategy game set in Ancient China. Graphically well cared, the game offers many single-player missions and other cooperative and PvP modes.

Key features:

  • 15 Single-player Story Missions (each a unique map)
  • 12 Battle-mode/Multi-player Battle maps (vs Humans or AI)
  • 2-4 Player Local and Online Multi-player
  • Original Soundtrack composed with the actual sounds of classical Chinese musical instruments
  • Hex-based / Turn-based (IGOUGO) combat
  • Unique Tactical Point system: Earn Tactical Points for making sound tactical decisions (flanking, spears vs cavalry, defending high ground, etc.) and spend them on devastating special moves
  • 18 Special Moves
  • Siege Warfare: Assault castle walls with siege towers or destroy their gates with powerful battering rams
  • In depth terrain mechanics across 4 different environments
  • No Building: Focus entirely on the combat and tactical choices

Official developer website | Steam page

Lost Frontier – 2018

Turn-based strategy game set in Far West with a 24 level single-player campaign and 20 units type. You also have the “Living Legend”, special units that works as Commanders with lots of special abilities.

Official developer website | Steam page

Wargroove – 2019

Developed by Chucklefish, Wargroove is a love letter to Advance Wars. Acclaimed by critics, it offers campaign mode and multiplayer.

Key features:

  • A vibrant cast of 12+ characters! – Commanders are at the heart of Wargroove – each with their own distinct personalities and motivations. 
  • Four warring factions! – Take up arms with the Cherrystone Kingdom, Heavensong Empire, Felheim Legion, and Floran Tribes. 
  • Campaign Mode! – Follow the story of a fresh-faced and inexperienced young Queen on a quest against unworldly forces. Told through animated pixel art cut-scenes and dynamic battles.
  • Craft custom maps, cutscenes, and campaigns! – Make the game your own using in-game editors. 
  • Advanced editing tools! – The possibilities are endless; from creating your own story-driven missions with sub-quests, plot twists, ambushes, and hidden secrets, to easily changing the rules of the game without any mods or external tools. 
  • Share your creations online! – Share your own maps and campaigns or download content built by other players!
  • Online Play! Send your units to victory in both local and online multiplayer skirmish battles, with competitive and co-op play, as well as complete rule customization.
  • Arcade Mode! Learn more about each character you encounter through a trial of boisterous bouts in Arcade mode, where you’ll fight 5 different opponents in quick succession.
  • Puzzle Mode! Outwit the enemy in Puzzle mode, using all of the strategic skills in your arsenal. Take on a series of tricky challenges where the goal is to win in just ONE turn.
  • Secrets and Unlockables! Earn stars to unlock special content. You might even stumble across some hidden game features – old school style!

Official developer website | Steam page

War Theatre – 2019

Aesthetically original, War Theatre offers lots of RPG elements. Choose your hero and face a single player campaign where you need to complete various quests in order to unlock new perks and other customization options.

Official developer website | Steam page

We thank Rui Castro and below find his references for info and details:

In the meantime let us know if you think there are other games to add to the list, we will try to keep it updated and check our lists of turn-based games.

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