This War of Mine was originally released on 14 November 2014 on Steam. It was developed and published by 11 Bit Studios. It is a side-scroller survival platform game that has received several DLCs, including This War of Mine: Stories, which were delivered in episodes.
This War of Mine Complete Edition, with all DLC’s, was released for the Nintendo Switch on 27 November 2018. AIR Entertainment obtained a Nintendo Switch digital copy of the game for review purposes.
Here is a trailer for the official release on the Switch.
Let me begin by stating that this is the first time I am playing This War of Mine on any platform. This game’s story is intense, and although I was never part of any real war, this game gives me a good idea what it would have been like.
The basis of the story is that you are a civilian trying to survive in a besieged city. Over the course of the game and DLC’s, you will play as various players and experience their stories first-hand. Yet, the original game is gripping and intense enough, and left me with a broken heart when my dying daughter was taken away from me while I slept.
And the game is filled with such intense, heart-ripping moments. I almost want to add a by-line that states if you are a sensitive gamer, stay away from this game. However, the story is so thrilling, that I am amazed by the impact it has.
This War of Mine tells the gripping and horrific tales of survivors during the war. It reels you in and lets you experience wartime in a way you probably have never felt before. There is such an atmosphere to the story that you cannot wait to see what is next, while also fearing the unfolding of the tale at the same time.
As fun as Fallout Shelter is, This War of Mine is what Fallout Shelter should have been. While being a side-scrolling platformer, there are many elements I loved that had a similar feel to the Fallout series. There are workstations to improve your shelter, and where you can build items and resources. There is a bed to sleep in, and tiredness, happiness and hunger all play vital roles.
Day and Night cycles are also essential gameplay mechanics. During the day, you can’t really run around outside and to other areas, since snipers are hanging around to kill anyone that moves. So you spend the night hunting around and scavenging for parts, while pursuing your quests, and then the day you recuperate and use the items you found to create weapons, ammo and health.
You will also meet NPCs in the game, who care less about your survival than their own. The items they can trade with you come at a steep price, especially medicine. If they are going to part with such necessary items, you are really going to pay for it. You also need to obtain items that will help you advance further in the game, such as tools to break locked doors.
While investigating buildings, you get to search through every floor in order to find any information you need for quests and loot. As you craft equipment, more options become available to you. You can eat the raw food you find, but it won’t be as satisfying. However, craft a stove and you can prepare a hearty meal that will keep your character happier for longer.
Hunger and starvation is a critical factor in the game, but so is your happiness. Once your character sinks into depression, it will be harder to perform tasks. He will often shout obscenities and negative words if you ask him to do anything, so it is best to keep your character as happy as is possible during a war siege.
Playing on the Switch makes this game incredibly easy to play. And the fact that the Switch is portable means that you can play it anywhere. With This War of Mine being as addictive as it is, I believe the Switch is the perfect platform for this game.
However, there are some aspects that can be truly frustrating. When I say the game is replayable, I don’t mean that in a positive light. Sometimes, the decisions you make or the ways you play the game can be to your detriment. Once I had learnt how to play the game, and my character was near death due to starvation, I started over with the knowledge I had gathered from the first playthrough. Whenever new elements are introduced, such as hiding from gunmen in the shadows, it took several deaths until I finally mastered the mechanics of that aspect.
Although I am sure this might scare many players away from continuing with the game, it wasn’t enough to put me off. The game is so engrossing and intoxicating, that I was determined to play it through. And not just for review purposes.
SOUND AND GRAPHICS
If you’ve ever wanted to see a platform game with superb graphics, then This War of Mine is the game for you. The lighting and shadows are a beauty to behold, creating a wonderful atmosphere to the horrific surroundings. Even the lighting breaking through from behind the main images is utterly gorgeous. The game’s images are sure to implant in your mind what the war was like, with buildings desecrated and falling apart.
It is also easy to find items of value. Small symbols pop up to show you that you can activate the items, or if there is something further you need to unlock them. The user interface is very friendly, allowing you to see the status of your characters at all times.
The music is very melancholic and dark at times and is a wonderful accompaniment to the action in the game. Some of the songs, specifically the slow guitar solos heard while in the shelter, is reminiscent of some of the stunning masterpieces of Akira Yamaoka from the Silent Hill franchise. It is a soundtrack I would love to have on my pc, and really calls to my musical, guitarist soul.
In summary, the sound and marvelous graphics really tunes you into the right atmosphere for this wartime game with some great symphonies.
This War of Mine: Complete Edition is the benchmark for what great platform games should be. And the Switch is the perfect platform to play it on. It really brings to you what it was like as a civilian during the war, surviving and scavenging for ways to survive and save the ones you love. Some players may be repulsed by having to replay areas, and sometimes the game, just to find better ways to play it; the truly committed will be rewarded with what I consider a fantastic platform game.
The game deserves a score of 9/10 from me.
Disclaimer: AIR Entertainment obtained a digital copy for reviewing purposes. This review is the author’s own opinion and not influenced by the developer in any way, as per our reviewing Code of Ethics.
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