Little Tournament Over Yonder Review
Posted by Marcel van Duyn
It can stay over yonder for all we care!
The strategy genre is not a very popular one on WiiWare - aside from the RTS game Swords & Soldiers, there's no real "traditional" offerings available. Little Tournament Over Yonder finally gives us a turn-based strategy game, although it has some action genre elements as well.
A match in Little Tournament consists of two "modes", which you switch between often. For the first few minutes, you'll be in "Strategy Mode," in which you move your units around a large grid. During this mode, you have a 60 minute time limit, and once that's up, the team with the most remaining units wins. If both teams have the same amount left it's a tie, except in the single-player mode, where you will be the loser.
When your units are next to the enemy's, they can engage in battle and you'll enter "Battle Mode," which is a real-time battle between the two units in question. You are given one minute to defeat the opponent; should you fail to do this within the time limit, the damage dealt will remain so you can finish the enemy off later. All units have two attacks during these battles: a primary attack, which is relatively weak but can be reused quickly, and a secondary attack, which deals quite a bit more damage but has a long recharge time.
The main objective of the single-player game is to win a medieval tournament nobody has ever won before. After selecting one of the four factions, you must win nine rounds, each of which consists of three matches (one against each other faction). Each of the factions starts with different units; for example, one has a huge amount of Knights, while another has an army of Archers. We found that Mages are easily the best "early game" unit - in battle, their secondary attack can be thrown over terrain deformations, while no other attacks can, meaning you can easily take out any opponent by running around and using it as much as possible.
One very important quirk is that the phrase "strength in numbers" counts at all times. If you create a long "chain" of units which are all "connected" during Strategy Mode, their power during Battle Mode will increase, and they will be healed a small amount in each turn. Therefore, most of the time you'll slowly be creeping forward across the battlefield with a giant wall of units, which means things can go a bit slowly as you can only move unit per turn. It is not at all recommended to take on an enemy backed by his entire team unless the same goes for your unit; a single unit versus the "entire" enemy team will deal little to no damage because of the huge stat bonuses the enemy gets, whereas the enemy will be able to beat you in two or three hits.
Taking a page from pre-Advance Wars games in Nintendo's "Wars" series, individual units also gain experience from each battle - gaining sufficient experience will grant them a level-up and slightly raise their stats, giving them a slight edge over the same units on the enemy's team.
After each match, you will get a score, which is converted into points. These points can be used to purchase units to replace your current ones with. At the start, each faction can only buy one unit (even though they already have units of multiple types), but as you progress through the tournament, more will be unlocked.
There's not really much to the Tournament Mode. Enemies get slightly stronger teams in each round, but for the most part matches will play out exactly the same way - you and your enemy slowly advance your units, after which you wait for the opponent to stupidly attack your giant group with a single unit. After that, you pick off the enemies one by one as their numbers diminish and their stat bonuses get smaller and smaller: once this starts happening there's really no way to avoid defeat.
Sadly, Versus Mode isn't really different. You and a friend get to pick one of the "default" (as in, starting) teams from Tournament Mode and then battle it out against each other. It's a bit more fun having an opponent who can't predict your every move during Battle Modes, but again, you and your friend will likely just spend most of the time slowly advancing your troops and not doing anything.
Graphically and musically the game is nothing special. The graphics are cute, but won't win any awards, and the music is decent but not memorable.
It's a bit hard to recommend Little Tournament Over Yonder to anyone. We were hoping that it would bring a nice turn-based strategy game to the table, but sadly, there's not exactly much strategy involved. If you don't mind slower games, it could be decent fun, but with only two modes and shallow gameplay it will get repetitive very quickly.