Strategy games are some of my all-time favorites. Having to use quick wits and a superior game plan to defeat your foe has always brought me much joy. I was really excited for the chance to play Crush Your Enemies by Vile Monarch Studios before its release date and share my initial impressions with you.
At it’s core, Crush Your Enemies is a very fast paced RTS. You have to make quick decisions if you want a chance to survive. Most of the time the goal is to “Crush Your Enemies” and obliterate them from the screen. You start with predetermined set of barbarians, usually peasants, but also other unit types. Those peasants can then be turned into soldiers, archers, shield bearers, etc… but often times the best place to begin is to send them to the closest hut where the game tells you “they bang like rabbits”. So, by some magical power from a barbarian god (who knows) all these male peasants can shack up and multiply. Obviously by now, you have figured this game does not take itself too seriously.
The strength of the game comes in how well you maneuver and split up your units. Sometimes it is best to go to the hut and multiply and overwhelm your foe, other times it is better to turn those peasants into knights and blitzkrieg the opponents peasants. While Crush Your Enemies may seem simplistic and crude in nature, there is a surprising amount of depth.
Crush Your Enemies contains two campaigns. The first follows barbarian chief Brog trying to teach his son Fuzgut how to “Crush Your Enemies” and stop being a whiny child. The story is arguably the worst part of the game and doesn’t serve much purpose. The dialog at it’s best gives a slight chuckle at the use of all the vulgarity, and at worse just makes you shake your head at the fact that someone got paid to write it. Luckily for everyone, you can skip all the “cutscenes” and not have to really miss out on much.
It is sad to admit, but I am probably in the extreme minority that I do not own any iOS or Android devices. With that being the case, I was relegated to getting on Steam and using a mouse. While it plays fine, I feel that this game was made for a tablet. Some of the levels require you to move your units fast without having much time to react. Trying to be quick with click and drag from the mouse wasn’t always optimal. I feel using a touch option would have easily allowed for better movements and better response when selecting and splitting units up. This isn’t to say it was unplayable with a mouse, but it adds a little bit to the difficulty and may make you replay a few levels since one wrong click can spell disaster.
The graphics are nothing to write home about, but they aren’t intended to be in this fast paced battle. They are more than serviceable, and you can easily tell which units you are using and that is the most important part. The between level cut scenes have some colorful characters and are done well enough if you can stomach the dialogue (as mentioned previously).
Like most games you start out with some easy levels to get acclimated. However, the difficulty ramps up considerably, especially if you are a perfectionist. Each level has 3 goals. You only need to complete one of them to advance, but it certainly feels rewarding if you can complete them all and truly “Crush Your Enemies”. The goals are not the same for each level and can vary quite a bit. Every level can be done again with sometimes a completely different strategy needed to perfect a certain level.
As items get introduced and new classes become available the strategy gets more involved and needs to be more varied to be successful. Quite often, I would get killed quick by trying one method, and then be able to obliterate the opponent when switching things up. The winning strategy is not always apparent from the start screen as this game doesn’t hold your hand to victory.
As stated above, you can easily replay all levels for higher scores. There is also a multiplayer section. Prior to release I couldn’t find an opponent to match, but I did try again yesterday and found one quite quickly. Unfortunately, the three different play modes are not really explained well and do not appear in the game’s handbook, so I cannot tell you the differences. When I was matched up with another player there were units that I had not unlocked yet in the campaign and so I unsurprisingly got crushed fairly easily. With the way the game is set up though I feel like the multi-player could be quite a lot of fun, as the games are short and really will make you think about how to best play your opponent. I would just advise completing the campaign prior so you are familiar with all the units.
For this preview I completed about 40 levels out of the 72 in Brogs campaign and spent probably 5 hours with the game. Some of those included replaying levels for better score. With the 2 campaigns and multiplayer, I can easily see the hours accumulating quite rapidly in this game. I really like that there is no FTP model employed here and for the SRP of $9.99 I feel anyone that enjoys these types of games will certainly get their money’s worth. With Steam’s 2 hour refund policy you can easily get a feel for it, although I would suggest a touch screen if you have that option available. Until July 20th Crush Your Enemies has a first week promo to buy it for $8.49.
Note: This game was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.