games / Reviews

Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (DS) Review

February 29, 2008 | Posted by Jacob Lopez

Our world is destroyed,
Fire rained from the sky,

The land burned…
The earth Shook…
The oceans Raged…

The devastation was total.
Dust covered the earth,
Blotting out all traces
of the sun,

It seems impossible that
Anything could survive

But amid the destruction,
There is hope…

Those are the words from the first page of the Advance Wars: Days of Ruin instruction manual and they sum it up nicely.

Here’s the story in a nutshell: Some meteors rain on an unnamed planet and kill off most of its inhabitants. A small group of survivors fights to maintain order and find others like them in hopes of rebuilding a new world. Some other guys just stopped giving a damn, and go travel from place to place killing off survivors and taking anything they can. There will be hell on earth and you get to experience it in Days of Ruin.


The visuals are what you have come to expect of an Advance Wars game, cool little hand-drawn anime inspired characters, and lots of gunning them down. While most of the gameplay graphics consists of tiny little tanks and dark end of the world battlefields reminiscent of the Road Warrior (with admittedly little to see as far as the scenery goes) the battle animations kick serious ass. The best is when you send out a war tank or other serious unit that says, “I mean business” and pit it up against a small Infantry unit, BAM BAM. You get to see their soldiers fly the battlefield in all its cool split top/bottom screen goodness. Then you get the satisfaction of seeing the other commanding officer cry “Nooooooo!” after watching the demise of their unit. Of course, this sucks when it’s the other way around, and it will happen a lot, or maybe I just suck.

No more blue skies here, just red post-apocalyptic backgrounds to satisfy your bleak end of the world needs. Gone are the cutesy characters of the previous offerings and the light-hearted mood offered in their visual style. What you get is a bunch of bold, tough as nails former soldiers who have seen the end of the world and have very little to laugh about. The one guy who does try to make light of any situation keeps getting shut up by the other characters…douchebags. This game is just like you would expect the world to look if a huge meteor came down and wiped out most of the life on Earth.

Another thing you will not see in this game is the cartoony tanks and fighters, as they have all been replaced with washed out colors and slightly more realistic drawings of war vehicles and soldiers. The units do sport a bolder outline than before, and it helps to maintain some of the cartoon element of the game.


The gameplay is much like the previous titles, but I have read that a few things changed. Since I have not played the older games I guess there is really nothing to miss. That being said, I will tell it to you from the perspective of an Advance Wars n00b.

Advance Wars is a turn-based strategic action title, with story elements between battles. The turns happen in 1-day increments, first you make your move, then your opponent makes theirs. You will learn early in the game that strategy is everything, because units all have set strengths and weaknesses, very little of this game is actually based on luck. It makes for a fairly balanced fight all the way through.

The game is tough, it takes you by the hand for the first few battles showing you the ins and outs of warfare, and then feeds you to the lions. Soon, you are fighting battles that last several in-game days, or a few hours in real life. Damn, it can be a real pisser when your army loses after a 60-day battle. Luckily, there is a quicksave feature, but it doesn’t help much if the enemy has already gained the upper hand. The computer opponent does not just bend over and take it either, it will throw everything it has at you for as long as it takes. Just when you think you have won, the enemy will start pounding away, singling out units and destroying them one by one as you helplessly watch and yell strings of obscenities that would make the Angry Videogame Nerd cover his ears.


There is not a whole lot to say about the sound; a few gunshots here, an explosion there and some background music to keep the mood going. The sound in Advance Wars: Days of Ruin does what it needs to do, no more, no less.

Lasting Appeal

There is always something new. Even after you beat the game, which in itself takes a while, you can play against friends via Wi-Fi or up to four players in DS to DS (everyone will need their own copy of the game though). The game even has voice chat for Wi-Fi battles, DURING PLAY! Hey Nintendo! Eliminate the need to hold the button and you have a definite winner. Still, it’s pretty awesome that we get voice chat. Now, if they would only start doing it on the Wii.

You can make and trade custom battle maps with your friends, a feature that really helps keep things fresh when you get tired of the pre-made maps. Bottom line, even if your friends don’t have a copy of the game, someone in the world does and is willing to fight. This game will last you a long time, even after you finish the main story.

Fun Factor

The game gets off to a somewhat slow start, because the first two levels are mostly talk and showing you how to move and attack units. Once the game starts though, expect to have a blast. Everything you do has a consequence so it keeps the action fun and alive. If you get too cocky the computer opponent will put you in your place. If you get tired of the story, just head on over to the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and take on some human opponents, the fun doesn’t stop.

The 411

Was this game worth my 30 bucks? HELL YEAH! Should you get it if you are not into strategic turn-based combat and some tough battles? Probably not. Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is a must-have for fans of the series or the genre, and will make a kick-ass addition to anyone’s DS library. I am proud as hell to own it and have had the chance to write about it.

Graphics8.5Nice character design and cinematics make the graphics pretty sweet411 Elite Award
Gameplay9.0The art of turn-based war lives on strong here 
Sound8.0This has to be the game's weakest point, but I can't dock it too much since sound design is not what this game is about. A few death screams would have been nice though. 
Lasting Appeal10.0With Wi-Fi capability and custom maps this games got it. 
Fun Factor 9.0Any fan of the genre will love Advance Wars: Days of Ruin 
Overall8.5   [ Very Good ]  legend

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Jacob Lopez
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