This game kicks all ass. I'm 5 hours in now and it's super fun. A lot like Advance Wars, sure, but there's a real story, and the fantasy setting is nice. The fact that the game saves automatically after every move makes this hands down the best portable tactical game of all time. You can turn the game clean off at any time iduring a battle and turn it back on to the exact spot you left it. If you feel you goofed up really bad or lost a unit you like, you have the option of restarting the battle over from the beginning too.
The game isn't as hard as I'd heard it was. Sure there's the permanent death thing, but it's not a bad thing at all. Like the guy at IGN
said, it actually makes you CARE about the units. I don't charge in without thinking long and hard about it. It makes the game feel like a lot more than just a glorified game of rock/paper/scissors. There's an element of urgency and strategy here that I haven't seen in other tactical games.
If the turn-off-anytime feature didn't already make this game kick ass for a handheld game, it's totally fast paced to boot. If you want to play fast and dirty you can turn combat animations off completely and just get the final damage numbers subtracted from your and your enemy's total HP. The text speed is lightning fast too. One of my biggest complaints about games like this is that clicking and waiting through dialogue is so slow, and it's really a problem here. You can honestly jump on this game a do a few rounds of combat in literally a few seconds if you're short on time.
The one thing that I've noticed that isn't totally good is that the game is TOTALLY linear! Sure there's a side quest every now and then, but they are presented before you so you can't really miss them, and when they are done it's back to the main story. Plus there's no way to get additional units other than what is introduced through the plot (other than getting some during side quests, and rarely during map exploration). And no unit development at all aside from level gaining and what weapons you give them. I dunno, but I really don't think I could see myself replaying this, unless it was like a year or more later. There just doesn't seem to be any replay value there at all, but I haven't beaten it yet so I can't say if there are any unlockables or anything. Somehow I highly doubt it. All things considered I like this game a lot more than both of the Advance Wars games, and though it's not really comparable to them FFTA and TO: KOL as well.
Go. Buy now.