Generally favorable reviews - based on 55 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 54 out of 55
  2. Negative: 0 out of 55
  1. A couple of options and a decent script away from being the best strategy game ever made on any format. [Issue#20, p.84]
  2. Advance Wars: Dark Conflict is outrageously good, taking a simple formula and tuning it to perfection. This is a console-defining game.
  3. The control scheme in this title is perfect. The stylus is the best thing to ever happen to both the series and handheld, turn-based, strategy games as a whole. The speed and ease with which selections are made is phenomenal.
  4. It’s a bottom-line, top-notch, kick-ass portable strategy experience that finally breaks the online-competition barrier, and brings some new and long-awaited ‘dark cred’ to the traditionally cutesy series without losing its essential streamlined, battle-hardened goodness.
  5. The greys and browns might be offputting to those born and bred on Nintendo red, but don't be fooled. Advance Wars hasn't lost its true colours. Superb. [Mar 2008, p.122]
  6. If you have any interest in strategy warfare games whatsoever, then do yourself a favor and get this game. It’s a wonderful departure from the happy-go-lucky Advance Wars games of old.
  7. As you've probably guessed by now, I love Advance Wars: Dark Conflict. It's yet another classic entry to the series and continues Advance Wars' proud heritage with all the ingredients that have made it so damn great since the original game was released.
  8. Another awesome and challenging addition to the Advance Wars series, prepare to be addicted.
  9. One for experienced series fans, Advance Wars: Dark Conflict marches in near-flawless fashion to strengthen the cause of turn-based strategy gaming.
  10. Intelligent Systems put an awful lot of thought and effort into Dark Conflict. The result is that the series has been rebooted and revitalised. If you’ve had Advance Wars fever in the past, prepare for a relapse.
  11. Advance Wars: Days of Ruin comes with the highest recommendation – the only thing preventing wider appeal for the series, is its difficulty level which is high even for experienced players.
  12. The gameplay elevates the player past the sorrowful storyline and provides massive warring online fun.
  13. A new look with classic gameplay intact makes Days of Ruin a win/win for weary Advance Wars fans, purists, as well as anyone who enjoys strategy games.
  14. Days of Ruin may be marked as a turning point in the series, and with good reason, as the title could end up being heralded by some players for pushing the series in new directions, or bemoaned by others who enjoyed the plucky war game and its comedic aspects.
  15. A change in strategy can't disguise the fact that this is portable strategy at it's best. [Mar 2008, p.68]
  16. A deep, fulfilling and rewarding strategy epic. [Mar 2008, p.80]
  17. An awesome DS game for strategy veterans and recruits alike. While this doesn't bring anything groundbreaking to the table, it's still the solidest Advance Wars title to date.
  18. 90
    Days of Ruin is a great return to the classic turn-based franchise. The additions and refinements to the formula are stellar and it's yet another gem in the DS Lite's already impressive library.
  19. Overall, Days of Ruin is a fitting sequel to the popular Advance Wars franchise.
  20. Intelligent Systems has once again come up with a winner with Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. They have managed to refine the classic Advance Wars formula while making a gritty and darker game.
  21. The addition of online multiplayer via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection will be a great boon for some, but the core single-player experience feels like a small step back from the brilliance of Dual Strike. Still, this is a standout in the DS lineup and a sequel that shouldn’t disappoint the series’ many fans.
  22. Definitely feels like a part of the series but it's also refreshingly new. The new look doesn't really work and the amount and quality of the dialogue is off-putting but it doesn't really matter when the game itself works wonderfully and has surprisingly many medium and minor changes. [Mar 200]
  23. The complex chesslike game play is as terrific as ever, but what sets Ruin apart is a radical change in tone. The previous games all had a cutesy style and a negligible story, but Ruin details a grim post-apocalyptic world where survivors struggle to find food and avoid a deadly parasite that turns people into flower-bedecked corpses.
  24. 87
    Just be warned though, don't expect it to be an easy ride at all. War is hell, especially in Dark Conflict's case. If you're new to the series then maybe start with Dual Strike for a friendlier introduction.
  25. 87
    The presentation, while certainly more mature, has lost that almost imperceptible 'something' – personality or individuality perhaps – and you'll either dig the change, or you won't really care. And why won't you care? Because the gameplay is still just as solid, entertaining, compelling and addictive as ever.
  26. 86
    Nintendo has removed some previous features and added a few new ones, but when it's all added up I miss the old more than I like the new. Days of Ruin still delivers the fun, though, and strategy fans will once again have their hands full.
  27. Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is a risk that Nintendo didn't have to take, but they did, and with that, they've made the most interesting game in the series.
  28. Days of Ruin is strategy game bliss. Its super addictive and exhilarating combat make it one of the hardest games to put down. You will hate it every time you have to stop.
  29. If there were anything like the gaming equivalent of comfort food, Advance Wars would be it. [Feb 2008, p.86]
  30. 85
    Days of Ruin offers plenty new, but it's possible it got rid of too much of the old. But just like with our ol' buddy Jake, we're OK with trading up all those bonus modes in Dual Strike for more tactically oriented units and real online play (though it'll still take us some time to get used to this new CO gameplay). Advance Wars has finally advanced.
  31. The changes are in the most part cosmetic, but whether you like them or not, Advance Wars: Dark Conflict is still an extremely well balanced and addictive turn-based strategy game, rewarding strategic thinking and tactical forethought. [March 2008]
  32. Dark Conflict is a really interesting and fun game, for fans of turn-based strategy. It’s easy to get into, but becomes challenging as we advance throughout the 60 missions-plus.
  33. It comes off as being a well rounded turn-based strategy game.
  34. Online play alone will make this cartridge a near-permanent fixture in my DS. [Mar 2008, p.83]
  35. 83
    Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is essentially the same as previous installments, with some good upgrades and bad downgrades.
  36. The game isn’t completely mind blowing, but it does very few things wrong and is easily the best release of the series on the DS platform to date.
  37. Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is a nice continuation of the series, but there’s very little here that’s unexpected or particularly clever.
  38. The same game you've been playing for seven years - or perhaps even longer. And for that it's a thorough success. [Mar 2008, p.97]
  39. An Advance Wars game that we had just as much, if not more fun playing than ever, but one that proves a bit too grimy and unfriendly for our bright and bouncy taste. Fortunately though, Dark Conflict remains hospitable in most of the areas that really matter to its fans and the people finally tempted to give it a go, and the result is probably the better of the two DS versions.
  40. Dark Conflict remains one of the best games on the DS, is perfect for a lengthy commute, works brilliantly online and, for us, comes out on top compared with Dual Strike.
  41. Long-time fans shouldn't miss it.
  42. 80
    Days of Ruin adds some sheen to an already polished product. It's true that the postapocalyptic look and feel make the overall mood darker, but the game maintains the essential Advance Wars style.
  43. Advance Wars: Dark Conflict may look less childish from the outside compared to previous games in the franchise, but deep down inside this is still the good old gameplay we've come to love. There are some new units and the graphics take some getting used to, but fans will feel right at home.
  44. 80
    An extremely addictive and playable game that fans of the series will lap up. The inherent problem is that by making it more of a hardcore strategy game it immediately makes it less accessible to new comers and the removal of the extra modes just exacerbates the fact that this is a game for Advance Wars fans.
  45. Even if the stiff challenge and clumsy new "serious" tone don't make it the most accessible or recommendable entry in the series, there's still a lot to like about Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, especially if you're looking for some really compelling online action for your Nintendo DS.
  46. The more mature storyline, revamped unit list and redesigned CO system are all quite positive, and online play is something that Advance Wars has needed for a long time. Unfortunately, these good points are countered by the poorly designed COs themselves, the wacky unit balance, and the lackluster number of single-player offerings, which mean that unless you really enjoy playing Advance Wars online, Days of Ruin isn't going to have much appeal for you beyond a single playthrough.
  47. Days or Ruin isn’t better or worse then its last effort in Dual Strike, it’s only a new chapter in the Advance Wars saga.
  48. 80
    The most refined and solid entry in the Advance Wars series yet, though more emphasis on innovation instead of iteration would be a good thing.
  49. The darker and more serious tone won't appeal to everyone, but beneath it is the same great strategy game experience that's made the venerable Advance Wars series such a gem.
  50. 80
    One of the best series in handheld history is back for more, a refined and updated experience with the fantastic addition of online play.
  51. 80
    No amount of emo nonsense could ruin a game this good. Now drained of a substantial part of its charm, this outstanding strategy sim feels more like every other self-serious video game out there. That's a minor tragedy.
  52. 80
    We do wish that the changes that worked so well in Dual Strike hadn't been so casually tossed aside here. In fact, looking at the two out of context, we'd presume that Dual Strike was the later game. But the quality of design here is as phenomenal as ever, and we expect to be playing Days of Ruin for quite some time.
  53. The single player campaign seems short compared to its predecessor, but that may be due to familiarity of the game's design. It really doesn't make any difference though as the multiplayer options are absolutely phenomenal.
  54. 75
    It’s hard to find earlier entries in the series now, but if you can hunt one down, your money will be better spent there. However, if you’re itching for some more Advance Wars and don’t care about presentation – or indeed find the darker, moodier presentation a positive change – then you could do a lot worse than Advance Wars: Dark Conflict.
  55. If you’re a fan of turn-based strategy, don’t let my little multiplayer rant deter you from picking up this game; it’s definitely a fun and interesting title, especially if you’re actually going to utilize the multiplayer modes.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 82 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 2 out of 36
  1. Feb 18, 2013
    Bottomline: Overall this is just the kind of reboot this series needed. There is so much to explore in this game, which makes the game so interesting and, what makes this game really amazing is how, they add all these new dimensions without damaging the core mechanics in advance wars that players have come to love. There was something truly interesting about Advance wars days of ruin that stuck with me long after I put down my D.S and that was how much they explore in the game. There is a lot of depth to be explored in this game and while many players might enjoy the more cute and colorful experience of this game's predecessor there was so much about this game that truly caused players to explore the darker side of war. Players get to explore topics like post-apocalyptic worlds, unregulated science, charismatic megalomaniacs, how individuals select role-models, the dark side of being a soldier, fear, hope, mercenaries, governments, etc. all wrapped up in a turned based platform long-time fans of the series will love and is quick to learn for new players.

    In terms of game play there is a significant decrease in the number of commanders you get to choose from in multi-player mode, each commander holds little advantage over other commanders and Co-powers are less dominant in this game then in other games that share the advance war title. However, there is a major benefit to this new design and that how the playing field is leveled, which means players need to better major their resources in order to achieve a strategic advantage in battle against friends and AI enemies.
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 23, 2012
    The story was brilliant, I enjoyed the living dickinson out of it. The gameplay was great, and everything about it was great... BUT the difficulty was quite weird. The level, "A Hero's Farewell" is one of the hardest (if not the hardest) things I have ever done in a game. The final level is a cakewalk compared to it. But this game is still just fantastic, and one of my favorite DS games. 9.25/10 BAM Full Review »
  3. Sep 18, 2012
    I think it was a great step foward for the franchise, the campaing mode contain an amazing story and I found the combat more balanced than the past advance wars games, I really liked the way CO power works and there is just no need for 50 COs in it (just as dual strike did). So, I think thats it, my dream of a more hardcore advance wars came true. Full Review »