When most people think of Nintendo, it’s usually the same old mascots that come to mind. Yet for gamers growing up in the 90s, there’s one forgotten franchise that’s been sorely missed over the last decade — Advance Wars.
Developed by the brains behind Fire Emblem — Intelligent Systems –this quirky turn based strategy game saw chirpy anime-esque characters command massive armies. It was stylish, fun and had character by the bucket load.
Unsurprisingly, it rapidly earned itself cult status.
Yet, despite winning over the hearts and minds of Game Boy Advance owners everywhere, the popular series almost died with Nintendo’s 32bit handheld. Despite spawning two well-received DS sequels, nothing has been seen from the beloved franchise since 2008.
Thank god for Tiny Metal then. Dreamed up by a small team of gamers who never quite got over the death of Advance Wars, this 3D spiritual successor scratches that turn-based military strategy itch.
After gaining a huge amount of support from excited fans on Kickstarter, Tiny Metal rapidly reached its funding goals.
Then in a brilliant twist of fate, the once PC-exclusive strategy homage impressed Nintendo so much, that it was later revealed to be coming to the Switch.
As anyone who’s played it will attest, Tiny Metal manages to strike the balance between offering a nostalgic strategy experience while still adding enough of its own twists to keep it from feeling like a straight Advance Wars clone.
With the game having just launched on PC, PS4 and Switch, we spoke to its director, Hiroaki Yura, to find out more about the journey that led them there.
“We are big fans of Advance Wars and we thought it was time that someone made something like it but with a modern twist. We are very proud that we got this far.”
While the team is made up of industry veterans that have worked on various AAA games, collectively as Area 35, Tiny Metal is their debut game.
Yet, despite not being shy about their influences Hiro and the team were adamant that they wanted to add their own twist on the classic Advance Wars experience.
“We tried to add a bunch of new features. Basically things that would negate being pinned down and stop [levels] from being a slogging match between infantry and artillery,” Yura said. “[It also] felt kind of cold to let your units die just because they become weaker, so we wanted to give players an incentive to keep them alive. If you rank [them] up your attack power gets 10%, 35% higher so it’s better to make them retreat, recover and have them fight again. It’s worth the effort.”
Now their hard work has paid off, with Nintendo signing off on a Switch port of the game. With Tiny Metal now running on a handheld just like their inspiration, the team couldn’t be prouder.
“It’s unbelievable, We’ve had a lot of support from Nintendo, they love our game… we’re chuffed.”
Yet that’s not all for Tiny Metal. While the game only supports solo play at the moment, Yura reveals that multiplayer will be coming to Tiny Metal too.
“We are planning a patch that allows people to play multiplayer, 1-v-1, either online or on the switch, locally too.”