Advance Wars: Days of Ruin

Common Sense Media says

Kid-friendly strategy franchise gets more mature.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game is about war, but the lead characters -- themselves members of the military -- do everything they can to halt the violence. Plus, they repeatedly exhibit admirable qualities including self-sacrifice, respect for authority, and cautious patriotism as they carry out their soldierly duties.


Vehicles are blown up and soldiers get shot, but both simply disappear from the screen when eliminated. No blood, moans, or corpses.

Not applicable

The words "hell" and "damn" pop up, but not very often.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is the most mature game yet in the Advance Wars franchise. While all of the games in the series focus on war, this is the darkest of the bunch, featuring a world that has been laid to waste by a near-extinction meteor shower and is now filled with depressed, ruthless, self-serving survivors. That said, players step into the boots of a group of altruistic soldiers whose actions and motives are never anything short of admirable. Still, there is a bit of coarse language, and the strategy can be quite complex, making it best suited for older kids, 10 and up. Also note that this game can be played online over a Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for kids under age 12.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

The darkest entry yet in Nintendo's highly popular handheld strategy series, ADVANCE WARS: DAYS OF RUIN is set shortly after a meteor storm devastates a planet dominated by two warring nations. Though both governments are gone and there are few survivors, the militaries of both countries continue to fight each other.

Taking the role of a group of soldiers who still fly the flag of one of the destroyed nations, players maneuver soldiers, tanks, aircraft, and boats -- each with their own movement abilities, weapon types, and weaknesses -- around a gridded map in drawn-out, chess-like battles.

Is it any good?


Days of Ruin's plot is easily the most compelling of any Advance Wars game to date, featuring surprisingly multifaceted characters on all sides of the conflict who contemplate the reasons why they fight and wisely question their leaders' motivations. Still, the story plays out with naught but text dialog and still images, so don't go in expecting Final Fantasy-quality dramatic narrative. And the game itself remains very similar to its predecessors. Players still need to secure factories to build new units, keep an eye on enemy patterns and tactics, and skillfully navigate diverse terrain that can hinder or increase the movement or vision range of different units. However, the biggest difference between Days of Ruin and other games in the series comes in the form of original units. For example, you now have available a Flare Tank capable of revealing hidden enemies and a new nuisance for helicopters and troops in the form of the Duster plane.

Unfortunately, the one major problem in the series has still been left unaddressed in this game: some missions don't allow for creative strategizing but instead force players to employ specific tactics in order to win the day.

The DS library has plenty of fun tactics games suitable for older kids, including Days of Ruin's predecessor, Advance Wars: Dual Strike. You might also try Luminous Arc, Front Mission, and Age of Empires: The Age of Kings. PlayStation Portable owners interested in turn-based strategy might consider Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, Field Commander, or Jeanne D'Arc. Console players can checkout the Wii's Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why nations go to war with one another. In this game, the factions' reasons for fighting transform from a legitimate dispute to simple hatred. Can you draw any parallels to historical conflicts in our own world? Families can also talk about getting creative with the game's easy-to-learn map editor. Can you use it to recreate real-world geography? If you recreate the United States by thoughtfully placing mountains, deserts, shorelines, and major cities, then set up an invading army, are you able to fend it off by strategically using the country's natural terrain to your advantage?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS
Available online?Not available online
Release date:January 22, 2008
ESRB rating:E10+ for Language, Mild Violence (Nintendo DS)

This review of Advance Wars: Days of Ruin was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old December 11, 2012

Strong Language, Nice Message.

Heavy language used frequently. Small warfare violence included, NOT recommended for and kid under 12, no sir. Words like "He**" or "Dam***" Are used frequently. Gives a good message about hope and to never give up.
Parent of a 12 year old Written byFrozenValley2019 January 4, 2010

A teens game

Its a great game! although it can get a bit boring after a while but you can still do a free battle so, oh well!
Kid, 9 years old December 13, 2010

On for 7+

I just got this game and it's hard to figure out. But it is about war. There might be some violence.
What other families should know
Too much violence


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