This War of Mine – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure, Indie, Simulation
Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: 11 Bit Launchpad
Platforms: PC

This War of Mine – Review

Site Score
10.0
Good: Stunning visual design, great concept and well-executed gameplay, new features only make the game greater and more realistic
Bad: Still no save-games but you can now continue your previous gameplay
User Score
8.3
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.3/10 (4 votes cast)

We can all imagine war and how we would feel during times of utter destruction but most of these times, unless we’ve truly faced wartimes, we can’t be certain. Are we the sinners, murders or the Samaritans who help one another? In This War of Mine from 11 Bit Studios we are one step closer to finding the truth of ourselves as it takes the concept of wargames to a heightened level.

this war of mine

Story

Generally there is not much of a storyline in the game but each of the characters have their own biography that tells us the tale of who they were before the city became under siege. During your gameplay, these bio’s are often updated to reflect on that character’s feelings and thoughts. Of course, the general story is that there is a group of survivors that didn’t want to leave their beloved city during times of war, or simply couldn’t get out in time.

Graphics

War is dark and bloody. The dark themed visuals of This War of Mine stay true to the general feelings that arise when we’re at war. The game is more of an emotional rollercoaster and the monotonous colors enlarge these depressing, sad feelings one might feel. You’ll also notice that the game has pencil lines as a finishing touch. In the preview, these couldn’t be changed. In the final build of the game, an option is available to have soft or sketchy pencil strokes.

Sound

The sound design in This War of Mine is fairly untouched since the preview. There is still the instrumental sound that is dominating the entire playthrough but even the sound is designed to trigger a certain set of emotions. In the background you’ll be able to hear the creaking of the wood of the house you’ve claimed as your hideout but you’ll also hear the faint sounds of a city during siege. Gunfire and faraway bombs are the most common sounds you’ll be able to distinct. As the game focuses on the emotions of the player, it doesn’t make use of voice-actors so any kind of conversation characters might be having will be written.

this war of mine sc4

Gameplay

As for the gameplay, any type of action is done with the mouse: from managing your characters to scavenging to bartering to upgrading your own place. The simplicity of the controls allows a closer connection to the stories as well as the characters themselves. Since the city is under siege, any kind of material is scarce and hard to come by. Food and meds being the most problematic ones. Therefore you will need to scavenge places but certain places can be less accessible than others.

The game has a day and night cycle and this proves to be the most prominent feature of the game. During the day, your group will need to stay indoors and can perform any action from scavenging to building to attending their own wounds. A day cycle starts from 6 AM and will end at 8 PM, where the night cycle will begin. During the night, you can assign one person to scavenge while the rest of the group can either sleep or guard the place. During your gameplay, more locations will unlock but not every location is safe to enter. Some of these locations are inhabited by families, armed thugs and even homeless persons. Coming eye-to-eye to these characters can be fatal so you will need to sneak around carefully, especially at the start when you have no weapons to defend yourself. To up the difficulty of the game, certain locations cannot be visited due to ongoing fights or weather circumstances. Not returning from scavenging in a timely manner can be costly as you will need to return during dawn, a dangerous time to venture outside with snipers that are eager to shoot you down.

this war of mine workshop

Once you have gathered enough materials, you can start building a workshop and other helpful workbenches to create other useful items such as an animal trap and filters to filter rain water. These equipments are part of the decisions you will need to make as a player since each gameplay is different from the other and will require different benches and items. Once in a while, people will come knock on your door to barter. It is wise to look at what they have to offer, especially when you are in need of food. Since certain items are more scarce, they are also worth more so you will need to do your best to figure out what you can miss and what you truly need. Besides traders, people can also request for your help. Helping them can take an entire day so you will need be mindful. Besides that, people can also request to join your group.

I mentioned before the game is an emotional rollercoaster and it truly does bring out the worst of your emotions. Every decision you make will have great impact on another’s life. A good example is a house of an elderly couple I once invaded. The man was begging to leave his sick wife alone, so I did. However, I did raid their place, only taking what was really necessary for the survival of my own group. Days later, I entered the same quiet house and the elderly couple was nowhere to be found. It is in moments like these, your emotions will rise. As you would expect, the elders have died but would they still have died during these harsh times if you hadn’t raided them days before? Your actions have consequences and your characters realize this more than anything but you must prevent them from simply walking away from their own group. Thus a new feature comes to light, one where you can talk to members of your group to let them know we’re all dependant on each other. Indirectly, this makes the game fall into the strategy category as well.

this war of mine sc1

Conclusion

The final build of This War of Mine has come a long way since the preview but every new feature that has been added in the game only makes the game better. This War of Mine is a perfect game for any player that is interested in alternative games as well as wargames that are not first person shooters. Truly a great game in all aspects that should be recommended to everyone.

Update: We’ve revisited This War of Mine after it received a huge content update. You can read all about it here.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.3/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
This War of Mine - Review, 8.3 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Drydwen


Hi! I'm Jess and I’m a writer, dreamer and gamer at heart since the early ages. I primarily game on PC but occasionally also on PS4 and Xbox One. I have a tiny obsession for World of Warcraft and caterpillars but you may also claim I have a devoted passion for the gaming industry in general. If you want to hit me up, find me on twitter!

2 Comments

  1. […] been a few months since we reviewed This War of Mine, which you can read here. The stunning game has received overwhelmingly positive reviews, including some heartfelt reviews […]

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  2. […] The game is also critically acclaimed amongst gamers, which you can read in our review right here. Converting such an appraised game to a tabletop board game is a rather daunting task as the video […]

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