Advance Wars

Moby ID: 4990
Game Boy Advance Specs
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Description official descriptions

This turn-based strategy game hails back to a classic Japanese strategy game titled Famicom Wars. Advance Wars pits players against very computer AI in a number of battles involving submarines, warships, infantry, tanks, helicopters, and other weapons. During the maps, players may capture buildings to increase financial resources and repair damaged units. During combat, two units go head to head with the results determined by how the two stack up against each other, terrain conditions, and other factors. Up to four players can play using the Game Link Cable or by swapping a single Game Boy Advance at the end of each player's turn.

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Credits (Game Boy Advance version)

98 People (50 developers, 48 thanks) · View all

Executive Producer
System Program
System Support
A.I. Program
Program Support
Design Maps Program
Character Design
Graphic Design
Field Training Design
Map Design
Sound Composer
Battle Animation
Graphic Support
Scenario Support
Art Design
[ full credits ]



Average score: 92% (based on 59 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 88 ratings with 4 reviews)

A must own for any Game Boy Advance fan

The Good
Advance Wars is easily one of my more favorite Game Boy Advance games. The gameplay is fairly straightforward, albeit a bit simple, and can be picked up in a matter of minutes. This is one of the games that you start playing and don't stop playing it for hours on end; it's extremely addictive. Multiplayer battles are an absolute HOARD of fun. Although multiplayer battles are preferable, playing against the AI is also great fun. You can hone your skills here, but perfect them against other players.

It doesn't take much to start playing the game, especially if you've played the other versions (which, sadly enough, were only released in Japan.) But, for those of us more used to other types of games, it has a progressive training mode that's absolutely wonderful.

Advance Wars has some added strategic elements to keep it from being an all-out brawn battle. For example, terrain and buildings add to your defense rating, keeping you from losing more units than you would battling on flat ground. Other excellent strategic features exist, such as an added bonus for attacking instead of being attacked (which makes you think about movement and other factors.)

The overhead graphics leave something to be desired, although they get the job done one the GBAs screen. The battle animations and capture animations look very nifty, if not a bit repetitive.

The Bad
As I said, the overhead graphics aren't all too great, but the developers appeared to do all they could. The nature of the game itself is simplistic, but you could see that as an advantage or disadvantage, it all depends on your point of view.

A more difficult level of AI would have been nice, as most battles can be won without a great deal of strategy or planing (sometimes non at all is required.)

The Bottom Line
This game is an easy to play strategy/war game that should be loads of fun for anyone. Without a doubt one of the best titles released so far for the Game Boy Advance.

Game Boy Advance · by Travis Russell (2) · 2002

Great game, although perhaps too simple

The Good
This game really surprised me. Some friends of mine recommended it but I was highly sceptical, I've never encountered any good strategy games before on any console (the strategy games currently existing for the consoles are usually overly simplified, and the controls... yuck). Because of this game I can no longer say that, this game simply kicks ass. The game plays like a simple version of Command and Conquer, on most missions you have a base where you can make more units, you have buildings you can capture for more money, there's a big range of units (including air and sea units), there's also an option for fog of war. The big difference from C&C is that this game is turnbased, and unlike most games the attacker always have the advantage (which makes the game very aggresive in style). The interface is very nice, although I wish I could use a mouse for controlling the cursor, and perhaps the menus could have been separately on the right/left of the screen for itself not being over the ingame graphics... but alas, this is a Gameboy Advance so that isn't possible. Each time there's a battle you get to see a fancy animation with the troops fighting it out (sort of like the old Battle Isle games), only with no interaction, it's just there for show. It's nice for the first times, but I wish I could turn them off, in the long run it's kind of a bore.

There's also a multiplayer option which really makes the game so much more enjoyable. Up to four players can battle it out, you don't even need more than one machine (ah, the wonders of turnbased) although it's nicer with more. And the best thing about the game... it has a good unit balance! Something almost all RTSs lack (okay, it's not perhaps the best thing to compare this with a RTS game, but it's the closest I get, remove the turnbased system and it's identical to any RTS).

The Bad
Although it's okay, the sound is just "there", you don't really notice it nor does it bother you. Some of the music is okay, but some of the tunes can really get annoying after a while , there should be a jukebox option so you could select which tune to listen, instead of being forced to listen a specific one because you have a certain CO. Speaking of COs, that's something I haven't mentioned. Before each battle you get to choose a certain CO, the only difference it makes is how your troops look, what music you get, and what CO power you have. A CO power is something which charges up and if you use it you gain a special power for a short while. Unfortunately, it's not balanced at all, some of the powers are completely useless, some of them are way too powerful. And some of them are too specific, for instance, a CO called Max has useless long distance units, but he have really powerful close combat units. If your foe has selected him, you're certain what kind of tactic he'll use, and that destroys a bit of the fun.

The Bottom Line
The game is definately good, but it lacks that special touch most computer strategy games have, at some points it feels too simple and in the long run you're doomed to be bored. But there's still a good deal of playability here, and if you own a Gameboy Advance you simply need to get this game. On the other hand though, if you're a computer player you're probably better off playing some more C&C.

Game Boy Advance · by Kate Jones (416) · 2001


The Good
I'd never played a strategy game before but this game is very easy to play. All the little features like terrain advantages work well. There's plenty of scope for tactics (my two favourite victory techniques are: 1) place a footsoldier on the enemy hq and surround it with tanks and artillery, or 2) attack crazily from the south with a troop of med. tanks while a footsoldier creeps in from the west to take the base. (that technique was actually used when Germany invaded France at the start of World War One!) That first one isn't foolproof, though - ranged weapons can easily break it apart. But that's the beauty of it. No technique is guaranteed to work.

The Bad
While the training is useful, the new units are introduced at a rate of knots, leaving novices a little confused. Example - there are two non-offensive naval units: landers and cruisers. They look similar, but landers carry ground forces and cruisers carry air forces. I found myself mixing up missiles, rockets, artillery and anti-air units far too often.

The Bottom Line
From the screenshots it's hard to fathom the appeal of the game. I'll tell you now - it's about manoveuring troops into mountains for superior cover, it's about balancing fuel and ammo supplies and capturing cities to refill them, it's about joining units together to combine HP, allowing a footsoldier to climb aboard an APC for greater speed, about deciding whether to destroy the enemy or capture them. The thrill of victory has to be felt. Buy it.

Game Boy Advance · by Patrick Robertson (2) · 2002

[ View all 4 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

The Game Boy Advance version of Advance Wars appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


  • Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences
    • 2001 - Handheld Game of the Year Award
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – Game Boy Advance Game of the Year


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by NeoMoose.

Wii U added by Michael Cassidy.

Additional contributors: Kartanym, gamewarrior, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.

Game added September 20, 2001. Last modified February 15, 2024.