When someone says “a game about war”, you probably think Call of Duty and the gleeful use of guns and bombs to cause as much damage, death and mayhem as possible. Because in a videogame context, war is usually sold as fun, consequence-free rampaging that gives no thought to the people involved who aren’t soldiers.

This War of Mine, on the other hand, is a PC game that’s all about how hellish war is for people caught in the crossfire. It’s a thoughtful exploration of what it’s like being a civilian in a warzone, and deals with things like basic survival, the inevitable ethical dilemmas that arise and managing a group of survivors by having the player babysit them as an unnamed war rages around them.

It asks uncomfortable questions like do you kill elderly survivors and take their stuff for the sake of your group, or do you try and help everyone while stretching your limited resources. The player is forced to make some really tough decisions that they’re just not faced with in most other games, bringing the weight of war home in a way not captured elsewhere.

As far as the actual game itself goes, This War of Mine is seen from a side-on perspective and combines elements of The Sims (need management), Deadlight (side-scrolling zombie shooter) and every game that features a lot of scavenging and supply-crafting. The aim is to see how long you can survive, and at what cost, with the ultimate goal of making it through to the end of the war which can happen at any time.

The developers, 11 Bit Studios, set it all against a clearly war-torn backdrop that uses a muted colour palette that subtly conveys a sense of hopelessness and desolation. Despite how depressing the whole thing is, it has struck a chord with gamers: according to an infographic published by the studio, it took just two days to make back their development costs.

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11 Bit Studios’ official This War of Mine inforgraphic.

This game is proving to be a brilliant example of news-based games that succeed in telling stories about modern happenings that traditional news outlets just can’t produce.

This War of Mine is currently PC-only and is available through Steam for $19.99, but is currently on special for $17.99.

[Source – 11 Bit Studios]
Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.