It’s almost been a year.
That’s all I have to say about that.
Warpips is a Real-Time Tactical Strategy game, with elements of Tower Defense, developed by Skirmish Mode Games and published by Daedalic Entertainment for Steam Early Access on the 29th of April 2021.
This game is the definition of a surprise. When it comes to the RTS game genre I’m what you would call a veteran, seeing as my first ever computer game was Age of Empires. But Warpips does something different – at its heart it is a lighthearted. not-so-serious war strategy game. This allows it to feel like a breath of fresh air for me, one with a pixel-voxel art style that somehow complements the game perfectly.
The gameplay loop is simple, and at times can feel repetitive, but challenging at the same time. You take the role of an army commander, with multiple troops at your disposal but only limited quantities of each unit to deploy. Each operation you complete, each with its own wacky name, gives you more reinforcements – and its important to pick and choose your battles and the units you’re spending on those battles versus the rewards you get for its completion.
Once in the operation, you have to manage money and “pip” supply. In this case pips are essentially just another word for soldiers. The goal is to destroy the opposing base. You spend the money to spawn units which kill enemy troops to gain exp, which levels you up and gives you battle points. These battle points can be used for an injection of money, upgrading units, and upgrading the number of units you can spawn at once (the “pip” supply). The money itself is autogenerating, and you can get items which help you on that front.
This gameplay loop is interesting and very fun to play through. I find myself spending a good couple of minutes deciding which units to take into battle ensuring that I have enough strong reinforcements left for future battles and that the ones I am taking are good enough to overcome the enemy units. The only problem with this is this habit I have of saving my strongest units, which would eventually lead to me not even ever using them.
Managing the units during the actual battle is extremely fun. Unlike other RTS games like Planetary Annihilation: TITANS the combat is not very stressful in terms of micromanagement and anxiety. It can almost feel refreshing. There’s something intoxicating about spawning a horde of attack dogs to slaughter the opposing infantry forces, steal their money, and return it to me.
The art style is nothing revolutionary. As aforementioned, it seems to be a pixel-voxel style that suits the game quite well. It can however feel quite plain at times, but not very often. During battle, the voxel artwork shines with spouts of blood and bullet-torn corpses.
The soundtrack is also not anything special in my opinion. It, like the art style, fits the game but feels lacking in its depth and impact. I find myself putting the music volume slider all the way down in favour of Spotify during games. I would recommend that the developers improve on this, as background music can be integral to setting the tone of a game.
My biggest problem with the game however is its hook. The lighthearted aspect of it does not help here. It is a bit hard to get into Warpips. This is meant in the sense that once I boot up the game I will at most play 3-4 operations before closing it. I cannot bring myself to pour hours into the game at a time. This may be a good thing, as there are many games into which I have poured hours at a time which I have grown to resent and dislike playing for that very reason.
All in all, Warpips is a super fun game. The gameplay is satisfying and therapeutic in a way, and the artwork is pleasing during battle. As a game in Early Access, it is constantly being updated and supported by the developers – who have already made a number of updates since release which are moving the game in a positive direction. Honestly, I bought this game for less than $4 (India Steam store) and for that price it was absolutely worth it. The general price of the game seems to be $12 and for that price, I can definitely recommend the game to someone who enjoys RTS games and wants a breath of fresh air. The score below may not be much, but for the price, it was 100% worth it and I am sure I’m going to be sinking more hours into more ridiculous Warpips violence.