Liberate Ukrainian cities in Threads of War, launching for PC later this year

With visuals inspired by Ukrainian embroidery.

4 mins read
A screenshot from Threads of War.

Heavily inspired by the game mechanics of Battle City (a popular game during the ’80s), newly-announced Threads of War is designed in the style of Ukrainian embroidery. The visual style particularly attracted my attention. War and embroidery may seem like complete opposites, but many Ukrainian artists have used the skillful craft (crafty skill?) as a sign of rebellion. Using the aforementioned mechanics combined with roguelite progression, the game has players experience the liberation of Ukrainian cities during the first year of full-scale war.

Players begin in Hostomel, continue in Kyiv and other cities, and end at the last “boss” in 2022: the battle for Kherson. Levels become more challenging as Threads of War progresses, with occasional mini-bosses. Mini-bosses are levels with special rules. For example, enemy drones can limit your movement area and to stop them, their headquarters must be destroyed. Between cities, choose bonuses that will affect the gameplay style.

Death equals defeat., but it’s not all bad. Defeat is what will help you gain experience and unlock new between-battle bonuses. There is symbolism here: for the death of every warrior who didn’t live to see victory, and for the ability of the Ukrainian army to learn from its mistakes.'s Discord banner. You click on it to be taken to the Website's Discord server

There is a two-player co-op mode that has the players going through the campaign on the same screen. Try to overcome enemies together, sure, but also tease each other by picking up ammunition or improvements before the other can. The player with the most points at the end of a level is the first to chooses a bonus before the next, so there is a good reason to fight for a higher score.

While the premise and artwork of Threads of War are interesting enough, I’d say the coolest thing is that the game is designed by a game developer and his 11-year old son. Andriy Kostiushko, a developer for 18 years, created the game’s design, art, and music. His son, Askold Kostiushko, wrote all of the code for it. All of the code. At the age of 11. He started coding at five though, so he’s not a newcomer to the process.

In a press release, Andriy Kostiushko speaks about the importance of embroidery and Ukrainian culture: “Embroidery is part of the Ukrainian cultural code … The patterns on the embroidery serve as talismans that provide strength and inspiration in our country’s defence against dark forces. This metaphor is the basis of the visual style.”

In addition to the story and visuals, the music in Thread of War is also inspired by Ukraine. Ukrainian folk melodies are reimagined in chiptune-style, but this is far past translating notes. The developer really aimed to convey the anxiety of war, the roar of a tank column, and the inner strength of Ukrainians by using instruments and musical techniques that were popular back when Battle City was considered contemporary.

Threads of War will be released for PC via Steam closer to the end of 2024.

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Lindsay picked up an NES controller for the first time at the age of 6 and instantly fell in love. She began reviewing GBA games 20 years ago and quickly branched out from her Nintendo comfort zone. She has has developed a great love of life sims and FMV titles. For her, accessibility is one of the most important parts of any game (but she also really appreciates good UI).

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