Reviews - Updated on April 3, 2022

The success of the amazing Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun five years ago clearly showed that the genre of real-time stealth tactics, familiar to many players with experience in Commandos, Desperados and Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood, is also in demand among the modern consumer. The authors of Shadow Tactics from Mimimi Productions did not stop there and last year released an even more amazing Desperados III. The competitors that have appeared are not far behind: let us recall at least the domestic Partisans 1941 – a game not without flaws, but with its own view of the genre, not limited to simply copying a successful formula (perhaps the only thing you can find fault with Mimimi Productions projects).

War Mongrels from the Polish studio Destructive Creations (you must remember it from the “meat” action game Hatred) is another tactical strategy, this time dedicated to the actions of an underground detachment in the German rear on the Eastern Front. In the press version that fell into our hands, only two initial missions are available, but this is quite enough to understand what the game will be about.

To each his own

Those who are waiting for War Mongrels or at least looked at the strategy page on Steam know that its authors position their work as a serious project dedicated to those events of the Second World War that are better forgotten and not remembered. War crimes, murders and torture of civilians and prisoners, desertion and betrayal – this, perhaps, is enough in any war, let alone the largest and most destructive armed conflict in the history of mankind. The actions of the Nazi troops in the occupied territories are known to everyone – the Nazis showed themselves too zealously in the “final solution of the Jewish question” and the implementation of the provisions of the Ost plan.

War Mongrels: Press Release Preview

The prototype of these executions was the massacres that really took place in the Lithuanian Ponar – according to some estimates, in just the years of the war, up to 100 thousand people were killed in the vicinity of this village by the Nazis.

War Mongrels is trying to show the war from its darkest side – there is a striking contrast with Desperados and Commandos. This is a story about how the global slaughter breaks people’s lives and destinies, and not a dashing adventure in the bright scenery of the Wild West, not a fascinating story about daredevils from a special forces unit. And the main characters (there are three of them in the “demo”, but there will obviously be more in the full version) are not at all heroic here – two deserters from the Wehrmacht army and a resident of a small village where this couple of former Nazis fled, who raised their weapons on their comrades.

They were driven to betrayal by fear for their lives. Refusal to participate in the execution of civilians, sending to a penal battalion, a surprise attack by Soviet troops – and now Manfred and Ewald face a dilemma: die under bullets or save their own skin. Nobody likes deserters, so now not only Russians, but also Germans are in danger – in order to survive, two comrades will have to kill soldiers dressed in the uniform that they themselves recently wore.

War Mongrels: Press Release Preview

Small cutscenes between missions help to better understand the characters’ personalities.

Further – more: a trip to the village for food and fuel finally opens the eyes of the fugitives. The SS detachment executes civilians, having arranged a real conveyor of death, which only our heroes can stop. Now they understand – it turns out that the Nazis killed innocent people on an industrial scale! It is strange, of course, that such awareness came to them only at the end of the war (the action takes place in 1944), but better late than never. The second (and the last in the press version) mission ends with the fact that the main characters decide to join the local partisans, one of which turns out to be the third character, Lucas, who accidentally met in the village and became their forced ally.

Of course, you can smile condescendingly, watching how the scriptwriters praise the Polish underground in every possible way, but, in fairness, this is their past and their right to talk about it in any way they want. In Poland, the tragic fate of the Home Army is not forgotten, including in games. Such an attitude to the history of their homeland can only be welcomed, and personally I am glad that among domestic developers there are those who want to talk about the contribution of the Soviet partisan movement to the victory over fascism.

I must say right away that the authors did not do without attacks towards the USSR – the division of Poland in 1939 will be remembered by the Poles for a long time to come. It is from the Soviet soldiers that Manfred and Ewald run away in the first mission. “Ivans” behave according to stereotypes – they forget about everything at the sight of a bottle of moonshine (it can be used as bait for sentries), shoot prisoners and dream out loud “to get drunk properly” upon returning home. Well, at least they don’t burn their own whole villages, and thanks for that. Although who knows what the scriptwriters prepared in the remaining missions (they promise 12 in total), it’s not for nothing that the Polish underground workers repeatedly remind that their attitude towards the Soviet troops was not much better than towards the Nazis.

War Mongrels: Press Release Preview

The nondescript gamma once again emphasizes the idea of ​​the game that any war is a tragedy for most of its participants.

But, I hope, absolutely vigorous cranberries can be avoided – the characters turned out to be quite lively and diverse, and from the small clips between missions that reveal the plot, you can understand that the authors of the game are not alien to a sense of taste. These videos, by the way, were a success: despite their external simplicity (they use the usual for inexpensive projects, slide pictures with poor animation), they look very expressive.

Commandos at maximum

It was not in vain that I paid so much attention to the plot and style – it is felt that in War Mongrels the main emphasis is placed on the narrative. The gameplay itself, although quite exciting, is not far from the classics. We remember this from the time of Commandos: enemy vision cones, dressing up in enemy uniforms and officers immune to such a trick, bushes for storing corpses, patrols wandering along the same routes, stationary machine guns, simultaneous action mode …

War Mongrels: Press Release Preview

After disguising himself, Manfred can ignore ordinary soldiers. The officers, however, will still understand that he is not who he claims to be.

We spied something on the new representatives of stealth tactics – for example, the use of environmental objects to create “accidents”. Here it comes to the ridiculous – a scene with a truck on a flyover, which can be removed from the brake and sent on a short trip to unsuspecting enemies, turned out to be almost a copy of the same episode of “Partisan”. Although, perhaps, this is a conscious reference.

Needless to say, the scene here is much more spectacular.

In terms of gameplay, War Mongrels does not give any special revelations (except, perhaps, the multiplayer promised at the release), but I will not say that this is harmful. I, as a big fan of such entertainment, did not find anything new here, but I can’t say that I got bored at least once during both missions. Hardcore is in moderation here, besides, there is a difficulty slider in the settings to adjust this indicator for yourself, but even at the average level (besides, given the semi-educational nature of the first tasks), I had to think a couple of times, solving the problem of silently eliminating the enemy. This is an indicator of quality in such strategies, neither more nor less.

The level design, by the way, does not encourage stealth as much as in the same Desperados: all characters can shoot (but each one can only use one type of weapon), and cartridges are always easy to find – there they are, every sentry has a store. Therefore, sometimes it is possible to arrange a shootout if you are not embarrassed by enemies rushing to the bustle.

War Mongrels: Press Release Preview

They will also let us shoot from a machine gun.

If you set a goal to complete the mission quietly and without unnecessary noise, then, as always, you have to combine the skills of the heroes, which are different for everyone. Manfred knows how to change into an enemy uniform, but his killing skill is too loud, so it’s worth remembering about the big man Ewald, who will turn his neck without too much noise, and throw moonshine under the patrolman’s feet so that he gets off the route. And if there are two bottles of booze, then it can calm down a couple of enemies at once – however, then you will have to look for new bottles to replace those broken on enemy heads.

What else is there? A trap, a distracting pebble, a pocket watch with a melody, a whistle… We have already seen all this in similar strategies, except perhaps with other heroes and in other combinations. Although, again, I’ll make a reservation – I only saw the very beginning of the game, maybe in the future unique characters with interesting skills will be added.

Sometimes you can’t do without the simultaneous action mode.

So far, War Mongrels has one indisputable plus – this is a serious approach to the plot with the disclosure of those aspects of military operations that people do not always like to remember. I don’t want to say that the gameplay is bad, it’s just that the gameplay (at least the one that I saw in the press version) didn’t surprise me with anything special.

This should by no means be considered a drawback – we don’t seem to have too many of these tactics to turn our noses up at a game just because it strongly resembles its genre brethren. Copied (and well copied, with skill) is just what attracts, so I’m still waiting for the release of War Mongrels – I hope the developers will not let you down and soon we will get an interesting story about the war without embellishment.

Similar content:

Boomerang X Review & Gameplay

Reviews • 31/03/2022

Relevant for platform: NSW Main Content Roundtrip Недожали One of the cool gameplay “tricks” of the latest God of War is associated with the ...

The Riftbreaker Review & Guide

Reviews • 29/03/2022

The tower defense genre, extremely popular on mobile devices, is nowhere near as noticeable on PC and consoles. Of course, there are similar projects ...

Rogue Lords Review & Gameplay

Reviews • 28/03/2022

Have you ever dreamed of a game starring the devil himself, with Bloody Mary, the Headless Horseman, Lilith and Count Dracula as his minions? ...

Doki Doki Literature Club!: Review

Reviews • 12/04/2022

We missed the Doki Doki Literature Club for nothing! I haven’t played a single visual novel (and I’m proud of it!). Neither Endless Summer ...