– Someone at Chucklefish clearly got tired of waiting for Nintendo to bring back Advance Wars because Wargroove’s turn-based tactics combat is as close to a modern fantasy-themed revival as you’ll find. But this isn’t a game that relies on its gorgeous pixel art nostalgia to win your love. Wargroove is a challenging and extremely fun tactics game, with multiplayer and a level editor strong enough to make an entire tactics game of your own. (dramatic music) Instead of controlling a party of bespoke heroes like Fire Emblem, Wargroove gives you a unique commander and has you summon waves of disposable units mid-battle.That makes for a lighter and snappier tactical flavor. Every unit type feels useful, with others they’re strong or weak against, allowing you to adapt on the fly to what your opponent is doing. I love that each unit has a flavorful condition for dealing critical hits that’s determined by positioning, not luck, making movement more than just marching forward. For example, Pikemen crit when standing next to each other, while the adorable Battlepups have to surround an enemy as a pack. Wargroove’s dozen-plus hour campaign is expansive and a lot of fun, but has some problems with overly long missions that can sometimes take an hour or more to beat.That can drag, and because you can’t save mid-mission, presumably to prevent save scumming, losing towards the end of an hour-long match is far more frustrating than challenging. Losing isn’t out of the question either, thanks to Wargroove’s surprisingly good AI. Unlike a lot of other tactics games, it wouldn’t easily get baited into my traps as I danced around just outside its attack range, and would smartly retreat damaged units. I just wish that didn’t result in it dragging out all but one match as occasionally. The campaign’s lighthearted war story is cute and funny, but about as deep as a puddle. There’s no leveling or out-of-match progression beyond unlocking new missions, and you don’t even get to choose which commanders you bring into battle, despite your traveling party growing as you go. The end result is an enjoyable, but fairly thin campaign.Still, it’s one with secrets and unlockables I’ve yet to find, and I’m looking forward to diving back in to track them down. By contrast, the arcade mode feels more suited to Wargroove’s strengths. In it, you pick a commander and play through five fights with some even lighter story to string them together. The key difference here is that the maps are always mirrored and often much smaller, keeping the odds even and the matches to a more enjoyable 20 to 30 minute mark. The varied maps are randomly selected but hand-crafted, making quickly building a strategy for each an exciting brain teaser. It’s good preparation for a similar experience in multiplayer too. Speaking of which, Wargroove’s multiplayer is pretty much the gold standard for strategy games. Local play works well enough, especially for co-op maps, but the online options are what’s really amazing. Wargroove has cross-play for PC, Switch, and Xbox One, including map sharing. And while you can take turns back and forth like normal, it also allows for asynchronous play. That means you can leave and come back whenever it’s your turn, potentially managing multiple matches at once.Simply put, that rules. The included puzzle mode is also a highlight. But what really gives Wargroove its legs is its staggeringly powerful editor. On top of being able to make pretty much any map you can dream up, it also lets you create and share fully-detailed campaigns, complete with your own cutscenes, optional side quests, and even flipping co-op. It’s basically Advance Wars Maker, especially when you think about the custom sprites and other mods that will inevitably arrive for the PC version.The editor does feel better suited to a mouse, and there are a couple of annoyingly absent features like an undo button, but it’s generally easy and fast to use on any platform. Downloading and sharing maps is super simple as well, but the browser is missing a way to rate good ones, similar to what you’d see in Super Mario Maker.(swords clashing) Wargroove is the Advance Wars successor its long-neglected fans have been waiting for. It faithfully revives the tactics I love that series for, while putting plenty of its own spins on the concept. The campaign levels do have a tendency to go on longer than they should, considering its lack of mid-match saves. But add in its extra modes, loads of unlockables, and amazing level editor, and it’s a game I’m excited to keep playing far past its campaign. For another great strategy-minded game, watch our review of Slay the Spire.Or if you just want to revive the glory days of Advance Wars check out our list of the 25 best Game Boy Advance games. And for everything else, keep it right here on IGN. .