Reviewed on PC
While playing Exorder you may feel a strange familiarity, it permeates through the entire game and you can't help but enjoy the feeling as much as you enjoy the game. Then it hits you, not only do the developers at Solid9 Studio say that the game is inspired by Advance Wars but the game actually feels like it. This is not to say that the game is a clone or exactly what Advance Wars was, but you can certainly feel the influence throughout the game. It is in the way only certain units can capture buildings to generate income, it is in the art style and cartoon visuals. The whole game is filled with an immense amount of care and it really makes it a joy to play.
The campaign takes you through the story of a sister and brother who are competing for control of the country Cerulean. Your character, the sister Beyla and trashes the brother who promptly runs away and joins Vermillion. Throughout the story you find out more information regarding this somewhat dysfunctional family and over the course of the 12 campaign missions you will have found your place in it's world. The story is a little bit predictable in parts but is ultimately enjoyable enough that you will want to play through to the end.
Besides, the campaign is just a tutorial in disguise to get you used to commanding the different types of units and mastering the strategies you will take online or to local matches against friends. The ability to play in Skirmishes locally is a great boon to the game as it is immensely satisfying to conquer your friends castle and see their reaction as you do so.
The gameplay consists of commanding various units to accomplish the annihilation of the opposing side or sides. All units have movement and at least one attack. Some units have special actions, for example the Illusionist can create a copy of a unit that keeps all the stats but can only take one hit. This means choosing your units is not just about sheer strength but increasingly tactical as the game goes on, which allows the player to improve as they go and really sink their teeth into the tactics that each unit allow for. Of course you can't just make units whenever you want, you have to earn gold to do so. You can garner a larger income by capturing various buildings with your units, only a select few can do so though the cheapest of which are your Guards. This again harks back to Advance Wars and keeps the flow of each battle feeling tense as you and your opponent vie for the resources scattered around the map slowly working your way through each others defences until finally one empire has fallen.
While the gameplay is incredibly good fun it can feel a little slow in the campaign, it would certainly be nice to be able to speed up some of the enemy turns as by the end of the campaign there are a plethora of different units out at the same time and waiting for every individual unit can take a fair bit of time. Other than this one small niggle though the game is an incredibly fun turn based strategy game that has enough different units and possible strategies that the multiplayer should feel exciting for a long time. The small small three person team that have created Exorder should be very happy with themselves.