Warsaw from Crunching Koalas and Pixelated Milk is a turn-based tactical RPG set during the Uprising of the summer of 1944. Learn more about it in our Warsaw review!
In turn-based tactical RPG Warsaw from Crunching Koalas and Pixelated Milk, you will take on a game set during the Warsaw Uprising in the summer of 1944. It’s a game that deals with a very dark time in history. Everyone must fight to end the devastation of the German Army, the young, the old, men, women, and children alike.
Pixelated Milk previously gave us the excellent Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs – Royal Edition on Nintendo Switch – which I had a great time reviewing – so I was definitely up for seeing what Warsaw had to offer. The first thing that you will think of when checking out Warsaw is Darkest Dungeon from Red Hook Studios, which is also out on the Nintendo Switch and, as well as contemporary Vambrace: Cold Soul from Devespresso Games since Warsaw does share elements similar to those featured on both games, as well as a gorgeous art style that makes everything pop, which is the case for the also great Darkest Dungeon and Vambrace – so be sure to buy all three!
Because of everything that will be going on when you start to play this one before you can jump into what Warsaw calls the Advanced Campaign, you’ll first have to complete the Tutorial Campaign, which will show you the basics as you play with a preset party. This does not mean the Tutorial Campaign won’t be challenging, and you can even select the difficulty setting for the battles you will fight, and the Uprising sections, which are the exploration segments. For battles, the difficulty will affect the health of enemies and your characters, while for Uprising, it will affect momentum, encounters, and the loot you can find. Your options? Easy, Regular, Challenging, and Extreme.
While out on the field, you will be using your party to complete the objectives at hand, which you can check out on the upper left side of the screen. Your party’s icon will show an arrow, which will usually point you in the right direction. Your team will be shown at the bottom of the screen, where you’ll also be able to check your available Action Points (AP). Moving around the map will cost AP, and if you run out of AP before you can complete the objectives for the mission, it will end up in failure. So be careful when you move around the map with the left analog stick, so that you can follow the arrow as you work towards completing your objectives. If an arrow is yellow, then that means that it’s marking a priority objective, but not all missions will have them.
As you explore the map, you will run into barricades blocking your progress, so you’ll have to take a different path to carry on. You’ll eventually find one of three different types of Encounters. One of them is a loot crate you can inspect to find useful supplies to aid you on your mission. You will have limited inventory space, so there might come the point when you have to decide which items to take from a loot crate and which to leave behind, based on the particular scenario you find yourself in.
Another type is Narrative Events, which are short text adventures that can yield a lot of experience points for your group depending on the outcome from the choices you end up making. Some of the choices you can make during Narrative Events will depend on the trait checks that one of your characters must pass, and some characters will have a better chance of passing some trait checks based on their stats. There are some extreme Narrative Events that could have negative consequences, making some of your party members lose health or even die, so pay attention to the red icon that marks them.
And then, there are Battle Encounters, which, as expected, will trigger fights. Before engaging with Battle Encounters, be sure you’re ready to give it your all and are properly stocked. Ammo is a must, so you better grab as much as you can! If you have a flare in your inventory, you might want to use it so that you can tell if there are any danger zones up ahead because if you move withing said area, enemies will rush towards you, activating a Battle that you might not be prepared to survive! And if you know there’s a danger zone close to you, and you use camouflage to cover yourself, you will get a chance to launch an ambush against opponents, lowering their total Activations at the start of the fight.
Fights will be to the death, and in Warsaw, your health does not replenish automatically after every fight, and death is permanent. You will have to make the most of the Skills that each of your team members will bring to the table so that you can try and gain the upper hand. For each round, you will start with a number of Activations that will be equal to the number of Combatants on your side. Activations are what are needed to use Skills, and these will be used by allies and enemies each round until both are done, and a new round starts.
On top of Activations, you also need to keep an eye on each Combatant’s Stamina, and the overall ammo left. Stamina will have an impact on how effective a Combatant is in battle, and all Combatants will regenerate one point of Stamina for every round they survive. With three points of Stamina, there will be no penalties. At two points of Stamina, accuracy will be reduced by 10%. With one point of Stamina, all damage output will be lowered by 20%. If a Combatant is left without any Stamina, then it cannot be activated at all.
To survive in a Battle, you will also have to pay attention to the setup of the screen when fighting, so that you can take advantage of the Obstacles in that area. Why? Because they will provide some extra protection from the damage that can be received from attacks. Obstacles won’t provide cover forever, since they will also be damaged with every attack, which means they won’t be able to protect you forever. This can aid you in also being able to complete the additional objectives for a fight, which will reward you with additional experience points.
You will receive experience points from the fight itself and surviving, but you could receive the aforementioned extra experience points for doing things such as, for example, winning a match before turn X, using less than Y units of heavy ammo during the battle, or receiving less than Z damage for that particular fight. Experience points can be used to purchase new skills for your characters to diversify their options or to unlock perks that can increase their stats. These perks could, for instance, increase overall accuracy, boost the resistance against specific debuffs, add a chance to dodge attacks or increase a character’s hit points.
As I mentioned before, health points are not replenished automatically after the fight, so you’ll need to keep in mind the damage that each of your party members has received. If the damage they have received brings their overall health below a certain threshold, they will receive an injury, which will need to be treated back at the Hideout. Injuries that are left untreated will end up affecting a character’s starting health during subsequent missions, which in a game like Warsaw can prove to be fatal.
At the end of a mission, you will get a summary of your performance and the impact it has over the uprising movement. Time will carry on and days will pass, the momentum of the Uprising will change, increasing or decreasing, and you will review how many war assets you have gained vs. how many have been spent for the day, a list of the new resources that have been secured, and the impact on the morale and attrition to each of the districts. This will give you an idea of how you might need to change your approach for the mission.
Once you’re back at the Hideout, you will be able to use experience points to purchase skills or add perks to your party members, heal any injuries that they might have suffered during the mission, review all of your supplies, barter to use your supplies to obtain new items, use supplies to repair any damaged weapons, review the Codex to learn more about the characters that are part of the movement, the weapons you have found, and the enemies you have battled against, recruit new characters to your cause, plan a new mission, or decide to skip a day. Different missions will require a different number of days to complete, which you need to consider when planning your next action.
Warsaw is a game that caught my attention from the moment it was announced for consoles, so I was definitely looking forward to reviewing it. As expected, it’s a challenging turn-based tactical RPG that will punish players for any mistakes they make, but that doesn’t mean it’s an unfair experience. It shares some elements with Darkest Dungeon and contemporary Vambrace: Cold Soul, but it ends up doing its own thing that helps it stand out as a solid entry in the genre. Warsaw is out on Nintendo Switch with a $24.99 asking price.
This Warsaw review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Crunching Koalas.