Developed by:Intelligent Systems Published by:Nintendo Genre(s):
  • Strategy/Tactics
  • Platform:
  • Handhelds
  • Cost:$39.99 ESRB Rating:EVERYONE 10+ Players:1-4 (2-4 Online) Release date:January 21, 2008 Reviewed on:DS Review date:July 13, 2017

    Advance Wars: Days of Ruin

    I have been a big fan of Advance Wars since the beginning of the series (not including the Nintendo Wars and Battalion Wars series). After I heard that Days of Ruin was going to be a little more on the mature side, I couldn’t wait to see what the developers had planned. It’s safe to say, after playing Days of Ruin for hours, that this is one of the best games that have been released on the DS thus far. However, is it the best entry into the Advance Wars saga? Read on and find out.

    Intelligent Systems wanted this Advance Wars to be more mature than the previous titles and it’s most evident in the plot. It seems that there was a lot of fighting going on between two nations (the Rubinelle and Lazuria nations to be exact). Amidst all the fighting, the earth is suddenly bombarded by a meteor shower. This not only destroys most of the planet but also causes a massive dust cloud to block out the sun. Similar to the Road Warrior series, the world is turned upside down as survivors join into groups and scavenge for necessities. Of course fighting breaks out, as there aren’t much of anything left to find among the rubble. This brings us to the main character Will, a young cadet from the Rubinelle Academy. Will nearly escapes death in the meteor shower, only to be attacked by a rouge military group looking to pillage anyone they come in contact with. He is rescued by Brenner, the leader of the Rubinelle 12th Battalion. Brenner has made it his personal mission to use his military might to help those who are in need. Will, after being rescued, joins Brenner’s group in order to help other survivors like himself.

    Adding to this mature direction is the gameplay. Now I warn you, Days of Ruin doesn’t totally reinvent the Advance Wars wheel. However, it does make some noticeable changes to the formula. Gone are the days of duel strikes and outrageous CO powers. What’s left is a gritty experience that focuses more on strategy. Don’t worry as you still have turn-based battles that last way longer than they should. Each time it’s your turn, you have the option of advancing units (infantry, tanks, airplanes, ect.), creating new units, capturing buildings or engaging in battle. The reason you capture buildings is to gain new units, money to build more units, or a place to heal and re-supply units. The battles play out in a rock, paper, scissors fashion in that, certain units are better at taken down other “certain” units on the field (like using an Anti-Tank unit to take down Tanks). Also, when engaging in battle, both units involved exchanges fire. However, the amount of damage given and received is based on who attacks whom first and what units are attacking each other (if a Helicopter tries to take down a Jet, the Helicopter will take the most damage even if it attacks first). To move around the map, you can use the D-pad and face buttons or the Stylus. When you select a unit, you are shown its Intel (like it’s current amount of ammo and unit type) on the top screen. At the same time, you will be shown how far it can travel and it’s attack radius. In order to win most matches, you either have to capture an opponent’s HQ or destroy all of their units. As you can see, it’s all pretty standard stuff.

    Moving on to the new additions to the series, one nice feature is “leveling”. Units now have to ability to level up when they take out opposing forces on the battlefield, giving them more offensive and defensive power. This adds to the strategic gameplay as it’s proves beneficial to keep your individual units alive as long as possible. Speaking of units, there about seven or eight new units that supply more options to an already loaded roster. One of my favorite new recruits is the Bike, an infantry unit that can travel greater distances than soldiers on foot. This means that it’s a little easier capturing a base when you don’t have to walk the entire length of a map. I know you can have an infantry unit hop into a vehicle to be dropped off somewhere, but seeing as how dropping off a unit counts as your move for the current turn, it takes longer than just using the Bike. The other “new” units are different versions of already established units. Like instead of having Tanks, you have Tanks and War Tanks.

    One thing I liked about Advance Wars: Duel Strike was the ability to create your own maps and share them with people over a Wi-Fi connection. Not only can you do that with Days of Ruin, but now you can play people online as well. This really helps the replay value, as I don’t have to hunt down opponents to play against when I am done with the Campaign. You can only play one on one online; however, it’s still better than playing against AI opponents. Adding fuel to the fire is the ability to talk trash to opponents online. Once voice chat is enabled (and you have each others friend codes) you can use the DS’s mic to talk to one another. It’s amazing that a lot DS games that have online capabilities still don’t use the DS’s mic for chatting purposes.

    It’s hard to write about a game like Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, as there is so much to talk about. As it stands this game has really great strategic gameplay. The campaign isn’t as long as the previous Advance Wars title, however, it doesn’t have as much “filler” levels as well. The graphics are all hand drawn using Photoshop (I am assuming) and are very easy on the eyes. I am not sure if I feel that way because I am an artist or if the art direction is truly great, but I do know that I like what I see. The interface is streamlined, making it easier to navigate through the menus than the last outing. Also, you can play against people online and actually speak to them now! Although there is a lot of new content, none of it will draw you in if this isn’t your type of game. However, if you are a fan of turn-based strategy games, this is one of the best on the handheld market.



    The strategic gameplay is always a great when it comes to an Advance Wars game. The only complaint that I have is that, because there isn’t anything that can turn the tide of battle in a single turn, some of the battles can take literally days to complete. Oh, and some of the mission in campaign mode felt like they were thrown in just to lengthen the game (not really adding to the story).



    This is one of the best looking games on the DS.



    The sound quality is pretty good. That’s about it.

    What's New:


    Sadly, there isn’t much that new to the genre present here. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pick Days of Ruin up. It just means don’t be surprised if the gameplay feels really similar.

    Replay Value:


    There is a lot you can do here. Through in the ability to play on user created maps and you have a winner in the replay department.

    Final Score:


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