About two months ago I wrote a preview for the indie game Siegecraft Commander. With the game being released today I decided to update my thoughts with a review of the final version of the game.
In Siegecraft Commander your goal is to destroy the other player’s main tower. Siegecraft Commander gives you a couple mechanics to help you with the task. The main mechanic in the game involves you firing projectiles in a cannon/catapult fashion. You will fire projectiles in order to build additional towers and to damage your opponent’s towers. Siegecraft Commander also includes RTS mechanics where you can build units to attack your opponent as well as some tower defense mechanics where you can create towers which will help defend against your opponent’s attacks.
The main mechanic in Siegecraft Commander that you will be spending most of your time with is the cannon/launching mechanic. If you don’t like the launching mechanic you are not going to like Siegecraft Commander. Basically the launching mechanic is used for almost everything in the game. The good news is that the launching mechanic works pretty well for the most part. The game includes multiple different control schemes for the launching mechanic so you can choose the one that works best for you. While you might struggle with aiming at first, after you get a hang of it you will get to the point where you can quickly aim and launch a projectile and approximately hit where you were aiming most of the time.
The first main mechanic that uses the launching is building your towers. Unlike most of these type of games, you can’t just choose a location to build a tower. To build your towers you need to launch them into the air and they will be built in the spot where they land (if it is a valid location). While it might seem weird to launch towers in order to build them, the mechanic works better than you would expect. While you don’t have to perfectly position your towers, you need to think about how you are going to lay them out. When you build towers you are basically creating a chain system. Each tower that is built is linked to the tower which created it. When you destroy a tower higher up in the chain it will destroy every other tower that was built off that tower. This means that while you need to be aggressive to defeat your opponent, you need to be careful not to leave a key tower in your chain vulnerable.
This takes me to the other main use of the launching mechanic, destroying towers. While you can cause some damage with the RTS and tower defense mechanics which I will get to shortly, you will have to do most of the damage yourself. Launching projectiles from your towers is the best way to defeat your opponent. Basically you need to create a chain of towers to get a tower close enough to launch at your opponent’s towers. When targeting towers you can use the chain mechanic against them by trying to attack a tower earlier in the chain which will destroy all of the towers built off from it. Two equally matched players will have a lot of back and forth which feels like a game of tug of war as both players deal damage to the other player’s chain of towers. This makes speed very important since you will lose a lot of towers so the player who shoots the fastest while actually hitting things will eventually make progress and defeat their opponent.
The Supporting Mechanics
While the cannon/launching mechanics are the heart of the game, I was interested in seeing how the supporting RTS and tower defense mechanics would work in the final game. While I knew these two mechanics were going to play a supporting role, I was hoping that they were going to play a bigger role since I am a big fan of both genres. As a whole they both do their jobs but I think more could have been done with both of them.
I was really interested in the RTS elements because I thought it would be interesting to see how individual units would work with a game that was mostly focused on building towers. I knew the RTS elements were never going to be as in depth as a game like Starcraft but I think they could have had more to them than they do in Siegecraft Commander. Basically you build towers that automatically start spawning units. There are only a couple units in the game which basically translate to ground and air units. Once they are created, the units act on their own and start attacking enemy units and towers.
While the RTS mechanics work fine, I was a little disappointed with them for two reasons. First it can only be used as a supporting mechanic since there is a limit on how many units you can have on the field at a time. Since the limit is not particularly high, your units are mostly just for defense against the other player’s units and can serve as a nuisance if they sneak up on the other player’s towers and destroy some while they aren’t paying attention. The other problem with the units is that there is basically no control over them. There is no way you could micromanage the units while focusing on building towers and attacking the enemy but a little control would have been appreciated. While the units are directed to attack enemy towers and units, too often they end up attacking areas that I am not targeting with my towers. The units take some strange paths to their targets and sometimes just seem to go in circles. It would have been nice to have a mechanic where you could select a location that you wanted the units to attack and they would head in that direction and attack anything they met on their way to that location.
Just like with the RTS elements, the tower defense mechanics work more in a supporting role. You basically can build auto-fire tower that attack your opponent’s ground and air units (the air towers can also shoot down towers’ projectiles). Since the towers can’t attack the other player’s towers, they basically work as a defensive mechanic in order to prevent the other player’s units from destroying your towers. Basically these towers work as road blocks for the other player’s units and thus have to be replaced as they are destroyed. While these towers won’t win you the game they are still important to help you win the game. If you don’t use these towers the opponent’s units can start attacking your earlier towers while you are focused on destroying towers. If these units destroy an earlier tower it could lead to a whole chain of towers being destroyed.
A Solid Single Player but Potentially Special Multiplayer
Siegecraft Commander has both a single player and a multiplayer mode. At this point I have spent most of my time with the single player.
While I wouldn’t call the single player campaign really easy, I wouldn’t consider it to be particularly difficult either. Basically if you are patient and build your chain of towers in a way that the computer can’t sneak behind it and destroy one of your earlier towers you should eventually win most of the missions on your first attempt. The computer is kind of predictable and if you just keep firing at their towers and rebuilding your own towers you will eventually make progress. While the computer is not so bad that that the game is boring, I wish it would be a little more challenging and fight back a little more than it does. I would estimate that most players could beat the sixteen single player campaign missions in five to seven hours. While some people might want to replay some of the levels, I don’t really see myself going back and replaying the single player missions.
While I really haven’t played the multiplayer yet, I think it should be a more interesting experience than the single player missions. Another human player should be able to come up with better strategies and you wouldn’t be able to beat them with the same strategy in every game like you mostly can in the single player. While the game is on the lighter side as far as strategy games are concerned, I can see players coming up with some interesting strategies. While I can see Siegecraft Commander developing a good online community, you never can tell until the game has been out for a while. If the game develops a good online community I think you could get quite a bit of enjoyment out of the game.
Overall I enjoyed Siegecraft Commander. The game is fun to play and is a unique experience due to combining a group of mechanics you don’t really see together often. The game has quite a bit of polish and the controls work better than you would expect. Siegecraft Commander doesn’t quite live up to its’ potential though because the tower defense and RTS mechanics could have been utilized more in my opinion. The single player campaign could also have been a little more challenging so the game’s longevity will depend on developing a strong online community.
If the game’s premise sounds interesting to you, you should enjoy Siegecraft Commander. While the game is good, if the premise doesn’t really intrigue you though I don’t think the game will change your mind.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Blowfish Studios for the review copy of Siegecraft Commander used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review.