Valiant Hearts, despite being visually reminiscent of the countless early-noughties Flash animations that scoured our devices, is arguably one of the best independent war dramas of our time. It's also deserving of the multide of awards it picked up following its mesmerizing debut back in 2014, too, which alone ushered dozens of other IPs to come forward and give Ubisoft Montpellier a run for their own money. Did such a movement produce any worthy candidates as a result? In ways, perhaps.
Whatever the case may be, if you did happen to enjoy shoveling through Valiant Hearts: The Great War, and are now looking to bide your time ahead of its sequel's release, then you're in luck. Here are, without a doubt, the closest alternatives to Valiant Hearts money can currently buy…
5. This War of Mine
This War of Mine doesn't necessarily deal with life on the frontline, but more so in the background—in a city engulfed in the spoils of war, where regular citizens are forced to use a network of close-knit comnunitues to sneak between shelters and learn to survive beneath the radar. This is where you, playing as a selection of characters, will begin your journey: in the center of a tainted world, struggling to make ends meet while those in the skies rain down on your parade.
Granted, it isn't that much like Valiant Hearts as far as gameplay goes. That said, if you're one for survival games, and also take pride in developing a community from the rubble up, then you'll definitely find something to work with in This War of Mine. It's surprisingly weighty and laden with eye-opening theatrics, and it'll certainly have you questioning just about every decision you make along the way. And so, if you enjoy the feeling of being morally conflicted, then hey, you've just found your go-to haven.
4. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
If you're all for the idea of substituting The Great War for a more fantasy-like setting, then you'll find that Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons can be a pretty convincing candidate. What's more, it still stands its ground as one of the best co-op games of its kind—a title that has remained locked in position for well over a decade of so now.
Brothers, for those who missed the opportunity to experience it back in 2013, casts its focus on a pair of siblings during their expedition to locate a cure for their terminally ill father. En route, the two come across various fantasy creatures, realms, and obstacles; puzzles that only two boisterous but surprisingly capable brothers have the power to solve. Think It Takes Two, but with a richer narrative and an even more thought-provoking moral to boot, and you'll have a vague idea of what we're talking about. And yes, like Valiant Hearts: The Great War, it will most definitely tug on your heartstrings.
3. 11-11: Memories Retold
11-11: Memories Retold is an elegant yet surprisingly impactful adventure game set during the height of World War I. With a visual style greatly inspired by impressionist art—a palette stitched together by none other than Aardman Animations—the game itself goes way beyond being a bog-standard walking simulator. On the contrary, it paints a picture, and essentially has you coursing along a series of layers that are both hard-hitting and somewhat heartbreaking.
To put it short, 11-11: Memories Retold tells the tale of two soldiers; a Canadian photographer who's sent out to join the western front, and a German technician who's tasked with finding his missing son. Playing as both waylaid soldiers, you will gradually work towards a variation of objectives, capturing the essence of war and all its trials and tribulations from the thick of the frontline.
2. Gerda: A Flame in Winter
Gerda: A Flame in Winter is a narrative-driven adventure game that depicts a young nurse's struggles during the final phases of World War II. Set in a quaint Danish town ravaged by war and turmoil, you will embark on a quest to not only keep your neighbors' spirits held high, but save your husband, Anders, whose survival hangs in the balance.
If making tough decisions that carry life-changing consequences is your ideal cup of tea, then you'll certainly find your money's worth of moral dilemmas here. As Gerda, you will have the opportunity to explore at your own pace, and in short, decide who to help and how to progress deeper and deeper into 1945 Denmark. Just note that your actions, as one of the town's most tenacious nurses, will shape the future. In other words, “the war is almost over but your fight is about to begin.”
1. Bomber Crew
Bomber Crew may not be as emotionally driven as Valiant Hearts, but it does provide a number of recognizable elements; team-based challenges, puzzles, and light platforming mechanics, to name but a few. And while it does fall short in the narrative department, it still manages to come up strong via its addictive co-op gameplay style and customization features.
In Bomber Crew, you take control of a flight crew during World War II. After assigning the roles to your squad, you will take your aviation experts into the skies and embark on a slew of missions around the globe. The only issue is, controlling the plane isn't your only task; you'll also need to manage the turrets, repair any posing damages, and scout out ahead for enemy threats. Basically, it's all on you, which means you'll have no room for error or misjudgement. No pressure there, then.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Are there any games that are similar to Valiant Hearts that you'd recommend picking up? Let us know your thoughts over on our socials here.