Warcraft Rumble first impressions preview - "Miniature scale, massive strategy"

Warcraft Rumble first impressions preview - "Miniature scale, massive strategy"

Fast, efficient, and with a rage that can rival even that of The Hulk, these avian warriors can cluck their way through the battlefield and overwhelm the tankiest foes with ease - and yes, I said "cluck". I am, of course, talking about the so-called Angry Chickens from Warcraft Rumble, Blizzard's latest foray into the mobile gaming market in the form of an accessible strategy-slash-tower "offence" game.


As opposed to its namesake, Warcraft Rumble doesn't really have much when it comes to its story - just the fun little fact that there's an actual arcade-esque video game within Azeroth that people have been playing, and it's all about battling with miniatures.

This quirky take on Warcraft lore is pretty refreshing, as you don't need to have any prior knowledge of the series to enjoy it. I initially thought I'd have to pick a class, so to speak, right off the bat, but while you'll find your typical Alliance and Horde classifications, these don't necessarily have any bearing on the minis that you can deploy on the battlefield.

In that sense, Blizzard has made a newbie-welcome game on mobile that should put new players at ease, given how intimidating the "Warcraft" name can be at times. Instead, players can simply pick up their phone, dive into this portrait-mode experience without any baggage, and unleash their strategic prowess onto unwitting foes both AI and real players alike.


That said, while Rumble is easy to get into, you shouldn't make the mistake of thinking it's a low-key casual experience. The gameplay here is something akin to LEGO Star Wars Battles, from my experience, as you'll have to take over towers and advance until you take down your foe's main base using your deck of minis. It's RTS but not quite RTS, but the action here is as real-time as ever, because it does get pretty stressful, especially since there's a timer.

As soon as the battle starts, you'll have Gold accumulating passively over time. Each mini you acquire and add to your team will have a Gold cost that you need to meet before you can deploy them onto the battlefield. You can choose to advance toward the enemy base straight away, or opt to take over towers to gain a foothold and a new base for yourself where you can spawn your minis. Of course, you'll also have to take into consideration how every new level has tricky terrain you need to navigate, or special conditions you need to fulfil along the way. There are also Mines you can occupy to gather more gold, which the enemy can occupy as well.

The key here isn't just to randomly deploy the first mini that pops up as soon as you have the Gold. It's all about strategy, as each mini features its own set of abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, so you'll need to use the right one to counter your enemy's units. Then, when the timer runs out, you'll enter a sort of overtime mode where Gold production is doubled, and you have to make sure you take down your opponent's base by then, or it'll result in a draw.


Of course, each defeat still rewards you with a bit of XP, so you can level up your minis and come back with a vengeance. Thanks to the many, many varied minis, there are layers upon layers of strategy you can tinker around with here, and I can see the endless possibilities that players can make when it comes to their team comps.

Outside of battle, you can also use your Gold to purchase new minis via a revolving shop, which reshuffles depending on the item you purchase. You can add new minis here or level up an existing one - you can also buy spells, and if you're lucky, you can nab good Leaders that offer special Leader abilities to your team. For instance, the first Leader I got was Baron Rivendare, who periodically spawns undead units from my base to add to the mayhem.

Going through the main campaign is satisfying enough, but you can also try your hand in PvP as well as in the Dungeon. It's as frantic as it can get, so you shouldn't let the cutesy visuals and character designs lull you into a false sense of security. Your reflexes need to be on point with each new battle - or, at least, you need to have your minis' strengths and weaknesses memorised to know which ones to deploy at a moment's notice. The aforementioned Angry Chickens, for instance, can peck a pesky enemy unit to death, but can be pretty squishy when they're up against AoE spells.

Overall, Warcraft Rumble is not a Warcraft game in the strictest sense, but it captures the same adrenaline-pumping vibe of RTS games on PC - only, it's presented in an almost deceptively accessible mobile package (and in portrait mode, no less). It's certainly built to test even the most seasoned strategy player, so if you feel like you've got what it takes, the game is now in open beta across certain regions so you can give it a go.

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Catherine Dellosa
Catherine Dellosa
Catherine plays video games for a living and writes because she’s in love with words. Her Young Adult contemporary novel, For The Win: The Not-So-Epic Quest Of A Non-Playable Character, is her third book published by Penguin Random House SEA - a poignant love letter to gamer geeks, mythological creatures, teenage heartbreak, and everything in between. She one day hopes to soar the skies as a superhero, but for now, she strongly believes in saving lives through her works in fiction. Check out her books at, or follow her on FB/IG/Twitter at @thenoobwife.