Advance Wars hasn’t seen a proper release since 2005’s Advance Wars: Dual Strike but that’s finally changing on December 3, 2021. Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot is bringing two very popular fan favorites from the Game Boy Advance to Nintendo Switch; Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising are being “reimagined and rebuilt from the ground up” according to Nintendo and they look great.
The game includes the single-player campaigns featured in the original games and also a Versus Mode that can be used with up to four players. We don’t currently know if this is online only or if also includes local multiplayer. Nintendo has been better about including both options in recent years so I’m expecting to see both options. Versus Mode will let players battle against each other on dozens of maps while playing as commanding officers from the campaign modes. There are also customization options, which should add replay value to the experience. It sounds like the multiplayer mode will be one mode across both games but Nintendo has not clarified for sure at the time of writing.
Advance Wars is a tactical turn-based experience that’s been around since 1988 in Japan but the series didn’t get released outside Japan until the self-titled Advance Wars on the Game Boy Advance in 2001. The game’s story features a war effort between the Orange Star Army and several other countries. The player is able to advise different commanding officers as the war continues and there are drama and high stakes throughout the experience. The main appeal of the game comes from the strategic battles and managing different military units while trying to claim victory against the enemy. The sequel, Black Hole Rising, came just two years later and follows up the story of the first game with an even bigger war against the Black Hole army, which has recovered and reassembled after its defeat in the first game. Both games received very positive reception from most outlets and players when they first released. They were simple enough to learn but complex enough to keep things interesting.
War never changes
Two more Advance Wars games were released on the DS but then things went dark. There were a few spin-offs released exclusively in Japan but it’s been over a decade since Nintendo has done anything with the series. Developer Intelligent Systems is listed at the very bottom of the remake’s page on Nintendo’s website, which might explain why it’s been so long. Intelligent System has developed most of the games in the series, including the two games released on Game Boy Advance, and the developer has been very busy over the last decade. The studio worked on several WarioWare titles, Pushmo, Crashmo, Pushmo World, and six different Fire Emblem titles. Many of us thought Nintendo had forgotten about Advance Wars but it’s looking like the best studio for the job was just busy making other masterpieces. And yeah, one of those masterpieces was absolutely Game & Wario for the Wii U.
Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot looks like it’s getting all the time and money it needs to bring the series back into the spotlight properly. Hopefully, this means other games and intellectual properties from the Game Boy Advance era can come back as well, and maybe it’ll even mean a new and original entry in the Advance Wars series. Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising are just the beginning of the classic 16-bit adventures worth bringing into the present from the Game Boy Advance’s library. Rumors and wishes for Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games on Nintendo Switch Online feel a little more grounded in reality after this surprising but exciting announcement.