Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp Review – By Strategists, For Strategists

Given when I was born and the access I had to video games and certain systems, I couldn’t partake in the “strategy gaming boom” until much later in life. Series like Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy Tactics, and others eluded me until I played them (most of them) later on when I had money to get them. Another franchise I honestly missed out on for the most part was Advance Wars. I played a single title from their line, and it ironically was the last in that line. Fast forward 15 years, and I got to partake in it from the beginning with some remake flair. And as my Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp Review will show you, this game is for those who want to get their strategy game on.

Spoilers Updated 2022

Game Name: Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Developer(s): Nintendo, Wayforward
Release Date: 4/21/2023
Price: $59.99

The irony of this review is that I honestly won’t have to focus on too much outside of gameplay. That’ll be fine for some of you as it means you can jump right in without having to deal with too much of an info drop. Sure enough, the game teaches you how to do everything really quickly and then jumps you into missions where you can test out those skills. After a few “training wheel missions,” you’re off to the races with some real tactical battles that’ll test you in numerous ways. As my subtitle for this review noted, this is a game for strategists, period.

Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp Review

In each battle, you’ll play as a Commanding Officer from one of the numerous armies in the game. In the first title, you’ll mainly play Andy, Cami, and Max from the Orange Moon nation. But in the second title, the options open up, and you’ll get to see the breadth of styles, tactics, and drawbacks that each nation/CO has. For example, Andy is your typical balanced CO. He’s a jack of all trades but a master of none. He’s perfect for those who want to focus on getting through things without overthinking about which units to use because of buffs or debuffs.

In contrast, someone like Grit is a long-range specialist. So using units like artillery, rockets, and missiles will do more damage, especially with his CO Power. Each CO has a unique gift that you’ll have to charge up in battle. Andy has “Hyper Repair,” which can heal your units and give them a boost. Another CO in Olaf has “Blizzard,” which covers the field in snow for a turn, which affects all units…except for his own. Whether you’re doing the campaign, online, or the War Room, you must tune yourself into each CO and figure out the best strategies using their skills and the units available. A wrong move can cost you the battle or force you on the back foot and make things drag on forever.

I will say it’s very rewarding when you enact your plan near flawlessly and get a good ranking.

That picture is one of many perfect scores I got…just saying.

Another thing I want to point out is the map construction and mission variety. Strategy games can get repetitive if not handled properly. Thankfully, this game shines by making every map special, forcing you to adapt to what you can see and not see while also sometimes offering twists on the victory conditions. For example, the “standard victory” tactic is to either wipe out all the enemy units or capture their HQ. But in both games, there are times when you need to hold out for a certain amount of days, reach a certain location, capture a key building that’s not an HQ, destroy items like a pipeline, etc.

Variety is the spice of life, and it helps keep things interesting.

Plus, the game isn’t as simple as “make whatever units you want and have a blast.” You need to capture buildings to get money, then capture the right kinds of factories to produce land, sea or air units. Even then, some units are more costly than others, so every turn is a balancing act of cost versus reward. Plus, there are some maps where you won’t get to build anything at all, and you have to make due with the units you’re given. Again, variety is the spice of life, and I never felt “bored” playing these maps.

One of the best parts about the remake isn’t simply the faithfulness to the original games but the visual and audio upgrades. Wayforward (taking over from Intelligent Systems) brought in some crisp visuals for the characters while also making the units seem stylized. There’s also a fun voice cast to make the battles feel fun, including the one and only Veronica Taylor as Andy! Furthermore, each CO has their own special music that plays when it’s their turn, and it’s cool to hear the different genres within it. I do wish we had more cutscenes, but as I noted before, the title is more about gameplay than anything else.

Speaking of which, two new additions to the game is the “War Room,” where you can test out tactics and COs to see what’s the best way to handle battles, and you can fight people online! That includes a 4-way battle that you can do. While I haven’t done that myself, I can see the potential there.

Even if you’re new to the franchise, you won’t be overwhelmed here often. There’s a “Casual Mode” you can play in, and the two games have a connected story so you can easily jump from one to the other after you beat a campaign.

So what else is there to talk about in my Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp Review? Well, while the game is a lot of fun, there are some key points to note.

For example, if you’re NOT a hardcore strategy RPG fan? This game might be a turnoff for you. I love strategy games, yet even with my experience, I was sometimes gaping at the struggles I was having on these maps. For example, in the final mission of the first game, I set it to Casual Mode just so I could get through and make it to the second game. Even with that “adjustment,” the final mission took me over two hours to beat! There are some deceptively long missions, and you can easily spend an hour-plus on one you might think will take you ten minutes. So don’t jump in unless you’re ready for the long haul.

Second, I love stories and deep characters, and this game doesn’t have that. Yes, there are unique personalities on display, but the story is literally one of nations fighting each other because one person seeks to conquer the world. Hence why I kept saying the title is more about combat than anything else.

There were also times when I felt the game wanted a very specific way of things being done versus letting the player choose their own path to victory, which is supposed to be the point more times than not.

Even with that, though, this remake of the beloved Game Boy Advance titles is perfect for those who want simple yet challenging gameplay and want to see how tactically-minded they are.

Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp Review


Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp is an incredibly faithful remake that blends the beloved gameplay of the original games with an upgraded visual style and fun new features. Whether you’re a veteran or a green rookie, you’ll have plenty to enjoy in the title.

  • Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp Review