Wonder Tactics is a new strategy RPG by Com2uS that gives players hundreds of heroes to collect and battle with while they scour the game’s world looking to put an end to all evil. While Wonder Tactics features many of the same mechanics found in other mobile RPGs, the game has a few tricks up its sleeve that elevated the game, at least in my eyes, above most.
The “Tactics” part of the game’s title comes from the fact that the heroes fight the bad guys on 3×3 grids. The heroes stand on one 3×3 grid, separate from the opponent’s 3×3 grid. Stacking heroes is important here, as the characters in the front of the formation will take the brunt of the enemies’ attacks while the characters in the rear remain largely untouched. This requires a good bid of strategy on its own — particularly when you begin playing with more than three heroes, as you’ll need to develop characters who can take direct hits better than others if you plan on having the low-HP, high-damage dealers survive for very long.
On top of having to strategically place your heroes, their special abilities only affect certain parts of the 3×3 board that the enemies are placed on. You may have one character who can shoot an ice-blast down the middle three squares directly across from her, or you may have a fire-based character who deals fire damage to the enemies lined up in the front column. Each hero has their own special abilities, and the player needs to consider how best to use them in each battle. Using one special ability, whether it’s an attack or a defensive/healing ability, activates a short cooldown period before another special ability can be used again.
Carefully selecting the right special ability is important because once a battle begins, it does not stop. The enemy will not wait for you to take your turn. If they have a special ability ready to go, they’re going to use it, and if you don’t use yours that’s your own fault because they’re already queuing up their next special ability. Heroes will automatically attack opponents with their basic attacks, but it’s weak, uncontrollable, and randomly selected. As a player, your power comes from the “what” and “when” of using special abilities, and that is how you’ll defeat your opponents.
Special abilities in Wonder Tactics adapt as the enemies are cleared from the battlefield. Borrowing from my previous example, if the ice-beam attack that hits all the enemies in the middle row has no more targets in the middle row, the caster will randomly pick to attack the enemies remaining in the top row, or the bottom row. This was a bit frustrating, because sometimes the caster wouldn’t target the optimal row (maybe targeting the row with one enemy instead of the row with two) and it would feel like I just wasted a special ability. But that’s just how the game is; it’s largely randomized so that will work in your favor as much as it won’t.
Outside of the combat, Wonder Tactics is largely a cookie-cutter mobile RPG. You collect heroes (of which there are 250 of), loot gear, upgrade your heroes bit by bit with weaker heroes, login for your daily rewards, and have a handful of game modes to choose from including gauntlet runs and multiplayer battles.
With combat that places a high-emphasis on battle formations and rapid-fire decision making, players are going to find Wonder Tactics to be a surprisingly captivating experience. Even though the elements that surround that combat are not terribly original, the combat itself is good enough to warrant having to deal with the semi-repetitive feel of everything else.