Review: Wintermoor Tactics Club (PS4)


Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Wintermoor Tactics Club
Format: PSN (888.1 MB)
Release Date: September 10, 2020
Publisher: Versus Evil
Developer: EVC
Original MSRP: $19.99 (USD)
ESRB Rating: E10+
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
The world is going through a lot of complications right now. I’m not going to get political with this review, or even remotely state an opinion, that is, unless you disagree that the world is going through a rough time. I believe that a game like Wintermoor Tactics Club is a nice way to disconnect and experience a simple story of perseverance. Playing this game felt like curling up with a warm and inviting book.

It can be as simple as you want it to be or as challenging as you wish, what with the optional sliders that let you manually adjust the difficulty.

What you have here is a graphic novel narrative with turn-based tactical battles akin to Dungeons & Dragons or Shining Force.

Even the story harkens back to those 1980s movies where the protagonist had to band together and defeat the system in order to save their school club.

And that’s exactly what’s happening here.

Alicia and her two friends (Jacob and Collin) are part of a tactics club at their school, Wintermoor, which is basically an unofficial D&D club. This is more than just an avenue for their pen and paper role-playing adventures. This is a vessel for their friendship.

So, when Wintermoor’s faculty decides to throw a campus-wide snowball competition, where the losing clubs are forced to disband, these three friends decide that the only way they can hope to win is to use their tactical skills in the real-life world.

What follows is an endearing story about friendship and standing up to adversity with those bonds that you form, regardless of whether you play sports, or sit in a dark room gaming with close friends.

While this is a turn-based tactical game, the tactical side is a bit on the simpler side. Characters unlock items and abilities as the narrative progresses, or by accomplishing certain side quests, but don’t expect massive skill trees or branching class systems. This is all about basking in the story. But, if you want to crank up the difficulty, you absolutely can, making this as customizable as very few games are. I mean, you could almost literally make it to where your characters take no damage, but what’s the fun in that?

On its own, the tactical side of Wintermoor wouldn’t hold up against more complex titles in the genre, but coupled with the storyline and graphic novel approach, you have a narrative experience that will challenge you based on your preference, and entertain you based on its engaging storyline.

Visuals:
Large hand-drawn characters traverse the isometric campus of Wintermoor. Their likeness is also seen in the static cinematic scenes and combat sequences. Despite the lack of any high-frame animation, Wintermoor’s visuals are charming and appropriate.

Facial expressions change when Alicia is surprised or angry. In addition, each of her friends has a school attire, and a fantasy attire for the times that they are playing their fantasy counterparts.

In all, this style is pivotal to conveying that warmth that comes from reading a book or watching an old cartoon.

Audio:
Wintermoor doesn’t have the strongest sound design. Reading is a requirement, although the characters do make mumbles and grunts (much like Zelda). The music, on the other hand, is exemplary, and I immediately rushed to buy the soundtrack.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single-player only, with no online component.

Conclusion:
Video games are amazing because there’s something out there for everyone. I mean… even Fortnite exists.

Wintermoor Tactics Club reminds me that it’s not all about blasting aliens or slaying dragons. Games like this are there to entertain and offer a departure from everything else that’s out there. Not that I won’t be jumping back into Kingdoms of Amalur immediately after, but Wintermoor is like a Charlie Brown Special in relation to Lord of the Rings. I enjoy them both for very different reasons, and they both have a value that the other doesn’t. Wintermoor Tactics Club is a game I can relax with. And if you have a love for turn-based tactics game, this one might warrant your time, particularly if you like to take a break from the same old world-saving adventures.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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