A retro fan-game and unofficial prequel to Nintendo's Advance Wars series made in the PICO-8 fantasy console.

Build an army from your bases.

Utilize terrain for tactical advantage.

Capture the enemy's HQ. 

Featuring cameos of Sami and Hachi as playable commanders, as well as many other new commanders in a new story that takes place before the events of Advance Wars. 

StatusIn development
PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux, HTML5
Release date Jun 20, 2020
Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars
(16 total ratings)
Made withPICO-8
Tags2D, advance-wars, artificial-intelligence, Demake, PICO-8, Pixel Art, Story Rich, Tactical, Turn-based Strategy, War


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

picowars_linux.zip 680 kB
picowars_osx.zip 3 MB
picowars_raspi.zip 1 MB
picowars_windows.zip 1 MB
soundtrack.zip 46 MB

Development log


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Is there any chance of getting the cartridge/ .png added to the downloads? Would love to play this on a handheld.

Here's the PNG:

It's also available on splore.

The cartridge version is a bit more minimal and lacks the campaign, though it's great for playing against the AI or another player.

I got it working on a clockwork pi pretty satisfactorily :D



Amazing, thank you.


Nice game, I've played it a lot. Campaign needs a map select screen. Only way to restart is to delete save data manually I think.

After a while the AI gets pretty easy so to make up for it in versus mode I sometimes skip 1-3 turns in the beginning of the game.

I like this more than Advance Wars! I like the simplicity.

TYSM! Agreed on the AI. I think it's a wee bit easier than Advance Wars AI.

"I like this more than Advance Wars!"

what a review!


This is incredibly amazing! Feels nostalgic.

Game is great, I only just got into the itch.io version but one thing bothers me, I can't capture the enemy's base and factories with anything but the mecs and infantry

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed. And yeah, it follows the original advance wars mechanics in that way


Really cool stuff!! Thanks for your awesome work!


Glad you enjoyed! Thank you for your support <3

(1 edit) (+2)

is there a sequel to this game?

i would love this game more if it has a sequel. :)


The sequel is Advance Wars by Nintendo, lol


You should add an instant finish when opponents can no longer win (like when they have no units and their factories are all covered)


Never played advance wars before but this makes me want to play it 


Does anyone have strategy tips for beating Storm? I can't seem to get the upper hand and even when I rushed APCs with Mechs, they just got destroyed before they could capture the HQ.


This game seems fun so far, but how do I use my artillery? I'm being overrun by infantry because I don't know how to shoot with them!

Really like the game otherwise just don't know where the instructions for units are?


Congrats on discovering that much out on your own! Here's a short guide: http://lambdanaut.com/posts/2020-06-25-How-To-Play-Picowars.html

The game was made for Advance Wars players so it can be a little difficult for noobies at first! 


Thank You!


This is a very fun game, but I found a really game breaking bug that lets you skip all the levels. In campaign mode, if you select "Abandon mission" while it's your enemies turn, you win automatically.

omg haha thank you for reporting this that is SUCH a huge bug. I just might have to fix it.

well after all the progress i made and all the fails i did in glitch's level i just skipped it. it was a big help actually.


I love advance wars and I love this game

TY so much cosmic turd I am glad you loved!


This is terrific - I loved Advance Wars and this captured the feeling really well.

Thanks for the kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed playing :)


I've never played Advanced Wars but I really enjoyed this game! The art is spectacular and the strategy is engaging. 

Thanks for the kind words! Glad you enjoyed :)


An 8-bit strategy game?! Well sign me up!


Nicely made game, I love it :)


Super nostalgic and lovely homage!

Thanks Krozo! Glad you enjoyed :)


VERY well done

Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed, and thanks for playing : )