Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf – Preview
Follow Genre: Tactical Turn-Based Combat / Deck-building Card Game
Developer: Herocraft
Publisher: Herocraft
Platform: PC, iOS, Android
Tested on: PC

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf – Preview

Good: A challenging & multifaceted game
Bad: Movement feels a bit clunky
User Score
8.8
(4 votes)
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Rating: 8.8/10 (4 votes cast)

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf is finally coming to PC! This game has been developed and published by Herocraft, and licensed by Games Workshop. This is one of the many deck-building card game hybrids coming out lately, and certainly a title worth noticing. Tactical turn-based combat is mixed beautifully with card-game mechanics, and all of this is set in the great atmospheric and dark Warhammer 40k universe. Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf is currently in Early Access on Steam. 

Warhammer 40000 Space Wolf logo

When you start the game you’ll see a beautifully styled animated short, where you see enormous space ships battling in orbit of a planet, and ships crashing down on the planet after the battle. Next you’ll see a war being fought between space marines. The movie isn’t narrated but the story it sketches is pretty clear.

The rest of the story plays out through the NPCs you meet during your missions. After the introduction you’ll immediately start the tutorial, which makes it quite obvious what you just witnessed: a Chaos Space Marine starts scolding you for trespassing on the planet Kanak, the territory of the Chaos Space Marines called the ‘Word Bearers’. You play as Valgard, of the Space Wolves. During the missions you’ll meet many Chaos Space Marines as enemies, but you will also meet and rescue many other Space Wolf Space Marines from the crashed down ships, who will help you in battle.

In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, the super-human Space Marines have fought a great war when half of the forces joined sides with chaotic demonic overlords. The Word Bearers are a legion which choose the side of Chaos, while the Space Wolves fight for mankind.

Space Wolf_1

The graphics of Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf look really slick. The environment and the models have a lot of details and the light and colors used in the game are well conducted, conveying the atmosphere of the game. Your view when playing the game isn’t that far above the characters, allowing you to see the details and feel like you are part of the action, and you can zoom in even more to view the details better. Every now and then while playing, the game will give you a close up view of a hit on your enemy. Whenever you get close to objectives or new enemies appear, the game will notify you by shortly zooming in.

There are many different unique types of weapons in the Warhammer 40k universe, and of course your character can choose between a whole arsenal of them. Each of these weapons has their own model which your character will equip when using them, and each weapon type has its own animation.

The UI of the game is clear and helpful, and the tiles which appear on the ground during your turn give clear visual cues of movement and heal range, and the hit area of the different weapons. The menu screen is uncluttered, despite the enormous amount of options you have in the menu: not only mission and character management, but also deck management and crafting. This game is originally released for mobile platforms with a touch screen, but the control on PC work fine and feel intuitive.

Space Wolf_2

The music in this game is epic and fits the game very well. The animation at the start of the game wasn’t narrated, but all the interaction with the NPC characters during the game is voice acted.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf is the perfect blend of a tactical turn based combat game and a deck-building card game, with RPG elements. Basically, it plays like every turn based tactical combat game, but the moves you have available are dependent on the cards you draw, from the deck you compiled yourself. Each of the types of armor available to use for your character has a separate deck. This gives a lot of variation in the moves you can do and the options you will have each turn.

For each mission your character can choose between three types of armor, which basically represents three different classes. These classes have different abilities, like a rage meter slowly filling up as you get hit, and different cards that you can use, like shields or heavy weapons.

Each turn you get two action point you can spend on using a card, whether that is for moving, equipping, shooting or reloading doesn’t matter. Of course you can skip an action as well. The order of the turn is dependent on how many effort points you spend during you actions. All cards have a effort cost, so you have to be careful which you choose. If you spend less effort than your enemy, you could have another turn before the enemy can attack you.

Space Wolf_5

All cards give possibility for movement. At the end of movement you need to choose the direction you will be facing. You can’t turn you character without a moving action. Also, in contrast to many tactical turn based combat games you can’t hide behind objects, but you can blow up explosive barrels. Movement is pretty slow in this game, you’ll only move a few tiles. But usually you’ll simply move forward and kill anything that stands before you, because moving a lot puts you at risk in this game. Enemies will spawn as you move forward, so you’ll easily get overwhelmed if you venture out too quickly.

The different weapons you can choose from have a unique hit area in in front of you, in which you can attack your enemy. This can be a cone, a square, or a line, for example. Some weapons, like a fire-thrower, hit multiple enemies within this area, some only one. Whenever the weapon is used, the card gets discarded. You also got weapons your character can equip for a longer duration, which grant ‘overwatch’: whenever an enemy moves in range, he gets attacked. These equipped weapons can be used multiple times, and you can reload them using a card from the same type of weapon. Some weapons deal their damage in one strike, some in a number of shots. Each strike can hit or miss. The hit chance is displayed on the card, along with the total max damage for that weapon. If you have buff-cards in your hand, for instance improving the hit chance of a ranged attack, they will get used automatically when attacking the enemy with a gun. If the conditions on the cards are met, they are added to your attack without additional effort cost, and can improve you attacks significantly.

Space Wolf_3

Both you and enemies have attacks that eradicate random cards from your enemies hand. Therefore it’s not wise to delay using a certain card, because it might not be available next turn. Of course, you can always opt to exchange two available cards with random cards from your deck, or draw new cards if you have that card available.

Each level has primary and secondary objectives. Fulfilling the primary objective will end a level, which is often the best option to rush towards, if you get overwhelmed by enemies. Completing the secondary objectives will grant you extra loot, currency and crafting parts which you can use to upgrade your deck and your character.

In the main menu you can manage your deck and craft or upgrade cards. You can upgrade cards too, by evolving them: two cards of the same type form a new, improved one, at the cost of the old cards. You can also disassemble cards to get parts to craft new ones. There are different craft difficulties; a high difficulty increases your chance for better cards: rare, epic or even legendary, but also increases the cost of crafting a new card. Next to the deck management you can also upgrade your character’s armor, granting you permanent buffs, and manage your squad mates’ skills. The game play feels highly customizable this way, despite the fact that you are always dependent of the draw of the cards.

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Next to the campaign mode, where you can spend many many hours, there’s also online multiplayer, with an automatic match-making system, and a challenge mode where you need to survive waves of enemies. All in all you can expect to get many enjoyable playing hours out of this game!

Conclusion

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf is very well conducted hybrid of a tactical turn based combat game and a deck-building card game. This game is certainly not easy, and the fact that your moves are dependent on the cards you draw is often pretty thrilling. The many ways to manage your deck and your characters makes this game feel very extensive and customizable. This game has already been published as a free-to-play app on iOS and Android, but is now in Steam Early Access, for 12 euro at full price. For this price you don’t need to buy any booster packs, so it’s a small price to pay for an excellent game!

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Rating: 8.8/10 (4 votes cast)
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Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf - Preview, 8.8 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Anmaja
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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