This War of Mine review: a brutal look at war from the civilians’ side

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In the video game industry, most war-related titles involve soldiers on the front line and put players onto the battlefield, fighting for a cause. Most are shooter games that let you test your sniper skills.

This War of Mine works from a completely different perspective. Instead of rescuing hostages in an airport, players act as civilians trying to survive in a war torn city. We’ve got a full game review of This War of Mine today.


Players control a small group of civilians that have joined together in an effort to survive during wartime in an unmentioned town. Each person has a special ability and some of them start the game sick, wounded, or both.

Your job is to help them survive by scavenging for useful materials, building things to aid in comfort and healing, and protect each other from ill-intentioned outsiders.


The game has an eerie, dark vibe to it. Characters move with such realism that it borders on uncomfortable. But that is the point, isn’t it. The mechanics are sort of like side scrolling, but not cartoonish. You can usually see everything in a scene on one screen, but can zoom in a little to get a closer look at something. Players tap the screen to move from one place to another.

During the day, you can hear the sounds of bombs going off in the background. The nights are quiet, but are also more dangerous since that’s when raiders make their rounds.

Everything is dark, broken down, and abandoned. No matter how much you improve your living space, it will always be a bombed out shelter. War is tough.

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Players work against the clock to get enough supplies to survive each day. At night, someone is sent out to scavenge while the others remain in the shelter, either resting up or standing guard.

During the day, let the ones who stayed up all night sleep while the well-rested work on building items to make life a little easier.

In your shelter, you’ll have to build beds, make food, and fashion tools out of materials. If you are lucky, there will be enough nutrition for everyone to stay well fed, but that is practically never the case.

When out on a nightly hunt, players can visit different areas nearby in an attempt to get materials needed. Some locations are innocuous and uninhabited. You can scavenge as much as you can fit in your backpack with no fear of getting caught. In other locations, players must attempt to sneak through, unnoticed, to avoid confrontation, and possible attack.

You will also be able to trade supplies with passersby that come knocking. If you manage to build worktables, like an herbal workshop where you can make medications and cigarettes, you can use your new supplies to trade for better items.

The game also provides multiple scenarios, which I believe are unlocked as you play the game. Different scenarios feature different civilians with different abilities. Some are good at scavenging (having a larger backpack to fit items), some are good at bargaining and can get better items in trade.

The game progresses daily and each day of survival gets harder. Your civilians start to get depressed and need consoling. Sometimes, you must suffer a mortal injury in order to bring food to the rest of the group. When it gets cold, you might have to use one of your books, which keeps you from losing hope, in order to stay warm. No matter how much materials or food you find, there is always a chance that raiders will come in the night and steal your food.

There is no happiness in this game. The most that your characters can hope for is some semblance of life with little comforts like a nice chair, warm food, and a good book.

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The Good

The game has multiple features to keep you interested. In your shelter, you must build things in order to stay alive. It is almost like a sandbox game. When scavenging, it seems more like a point-and-click adventure with a bit of stealth mixed in. It is very atmospheric and keeps you deeply immersed as you try to keep your characters alive and hopeful.

The Bad

I regularly made the mistake of accidentally having one character walk to take care of a task when I meant for another to do so. It is easy to forget which character is highlighted. I don’t think this is an issue that can be fixed though. It just takes a bit of getting used to.


This War of Mine costs $14.99 and it is worth every cent. If you like games that are deeply story driven you will be hugely impressed with the attention to detail that this game has. The replay value is extremely high. Not only do you find yourself wanting to spend hours dedicated to helping your characters survive, but you can also play new scenarios with different characters.


This is one of those games that truly has the potential of being Apple’s Game of the Year. It is riveting, well made, unique, and full of rich story to keep you engaged for long periods of time. I highly recommend it for fans of story-driven games. Be prepared for a melancholy experience, though. The scenarios usually don’t end well. This game is available on the iPad. Download it in the App Store today.

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This game is one-of-a-kind. It may have similarities with the point-and-click genre, but its dark storyline makes it unique.

What do you think of this gloomy, but captivating game? Let us know in the comments below.