Wednesday, 19 September 2018 13:16

REVIEW: Siegecraft Commander (Nintendo Switch)

Written by RiotArms
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Everyone had a certain gaming genre that they don’t usually play. This can be First Person Shooters, Arcade Platformers or Fighting games to name a few. Mine are Real Time Strategies, gone were the days where I enjoyed a clutch match of Starcraft or Command and Conquer: Red Alert. Now days I pick up an RTS and I just cringe at the potential of playing it only to get wiped, voiding your entire play experience. The game that I’m reviewing today not only rekindled my love for RTS’s, but also provided me with hours of genuinely fun gameplay that I would recommend to everyone.

Siegecraft commander; the latest instalment in the Siegecraft franchise, is the brainchild of Sydney born and bred Blowfish Studios. These Australian cool cats are a special bunch, snagging the lucrative piece of the money pie provided by Screen Australia, a government initiative providing a share of $2.6 Million Australian Dollars to 21 Australian independent gaming companies. For an indie gaming studio; this is a critical breakthrough into the $80 Billion Dollar global market.

So, what did this game have to suck ol’ Riot back in? Let’s take a closer look.

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Look at me; IM the commander now!

So Siege Commander; what is it all about? Picture tower defence with added flexibility. Starting from a keep, you as the commander must build a strong and fortified fortress with specialised towers. By selecting where you build these towers you also automatically link them with an indestructible wall. Different towers do different things such as hurl TNT or generate soldiers. More on that later.

Building towers involves choosing the type of tower you want, adjusting the angle and trajectory of the tower then launching it from the keep. As the tower unfurls, the wall also follows. This game allows you to be creative in relation to the construction of your fortress. You can either build straight linear constructs which link towers one after another for fast land seizures, or flower like designs which create staging areas, designed to withstand enemy attack. Sky’s the limit.

Modes of play include a light hearted, comedic single player campaign where you can play 1 of 2 races, local and online multiplayer.

Let’s get stuck into it!

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Initiate Commander mode activate!

As the splash screen loads I still can’t get over the fact that this game was sponsored by the Australian Government. So good to see indie developers getting a leg up. Upon entering the menu, you can feel the medieval music play in the background as you select the campaign mode.

In single player you have the choice of fighting with the treasure hungry Knights of Freemoi or help the Lee Zhard (geddit?) lizard people ascend from the mountain and fight the traitorous Hurtrad Tribe. With no visible tutorial I choose the first campaign. The loading screens are small animations of characters from the game. I still chuckle when I see the goofy eyes Wyvern carrying a cow past the bemused humans that watch on. After a short cinematic I was greeted to Commander Steerson, the big dog that runs this outfit. Voice acting was entertaining with their obviously put on accents; setting the tone of easy going game.

As I play I realise that the tutorial is seamless integrated into the campaign. The first half of the mission involves teaching you the basics. One thing that it neglects to inform you is players can use the power of the Switch touch screen and select characters and launch towers by a combination of scrolls and gestures on the screen. In some instances, it is faster to use the joycon but the flexibility to do both is pretty rad.

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After smashing the first mission I was quite content myself. As the 2nd mission loaded I had a feeling that this game was about to chuck me into the deep end and it sure did! The 2nd mission still focussed on teaching the basics however it slowly slotted you into a more complex scenario; introducing you into the true concept of the game and how truly expansive it could get. This mission focussed on teaching you how to build up your armies and enables you explore your expansion tactics. As my tendrils of outposts and garrisons touch the far corners of the map, I reminisce a game I used to play back in yesteryear called Moon base commander. As I day dreamed about my past I failed to realise the steady stream of Lizard soldiers marching towards my outpost and destroying it; causing a change reaction of brick and mortar being thrown up in the air and casting me back a few hundred metres. If there was a hard way in teaching players a lesson it is this; careful construction is key to success. After expanding my network of military might across the far reaches of the land (and to my delight) I complete the mission with my army of soldiers and fire mages which were unlocked.

As the 3rd mission rolls on you get the feel for the game and your play style. At this point you are well prepared on your tactics and how to achieve the missions with all buildings unlocked. With the introduction of materials required for capture (such as gold and gems for lightning towers etc) it adds another depth of gameplay where the player can either ignore and push on or acquire these materials to give you that extra boost.

At this point I’m ready to break it down.

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Breakdown

I for one loved this cute game. It had the right feel and mechanics that captured my attention wholeheartedly. Nutting it out that bit more here are my findings:

Graphics were as per expected; cartoony and artistic however drawn to point. The animations and character movements were great and fluid. The maps are unique in their creation and give you that feel of a real RTS. Only gripe I had was menus seemed a bit unpolished and didn’t make selections stand out as they should have.

Sounds and music were on point. With the battle music playing and ambient it really made you feel in the mood to slay some Lee Zhard people and conquer the lands. The sound effects were sharp and crispy; from the explosions of the kegs, to the lamentations of units being killed, all were enjoyable. Voice acting was very over the top but added to that comedic flair that we all have come to love with this title.

Gameplay was easily adapted to with the joycon; whether it is controlling the camera angles, to selecting buildings and their launch. Again, as mentioned the lack of explanation for the switch touch capabilities (since this is a port mind you) was a surprise but again it does take some time to get used to but once mastered enables you to make those quick decisions more effectively in this real time-based game. Difficulty scales accordingly; a bit steep by the 3rd missions however the game still makes it enjoyable enough to play and retry if failure is achieved. With a concise tutorial incorporated into the story you can’t really go wrong. Only gripe with game play is the races have the same buildings just different names for the towers. It would be good to see some more races with different units or play styles.

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Riots remarks

If you’re looking for a new fresh take on tower defence and have a few friends by all means get this game. Even if you don’t have friends, the single player campaigns will provide some with challenging gameplay which will make you reconsider certain thought processes and tactics used. With offline and online multiplayer capabilities, the replayability of this game is a certain.

In conclusion, as you all know I’m a big advocate on supporting local talent and indie games so show your support and get this amazing title. You won’t regret it.

Good

* Challenging and fun gameplay
* Multiplayer capable
* New fresh take on an old classic done well

Bad

* Menus somewhat unintuitive
* Same units with different races

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Blowfish Studios
  • Publisher: Blowfish Studios
  • Genre: Strategy, Action