Angry Birds currently sits as one of the best-selling mobile video games of all time, so it’s only reasonable to assume that there’s money to still be made out of flinging objects at structures in order to get points. There have been many copies since its inception, with other developers attempting to recreate the magic that spawned a franchise that simply didn’t want to die (resulting in one film, eight expansion packs, countless micro transactions that sapped your wallet, and two world records). Siege Wars is simply another title in a long line of copycats. Although this attempt is sadly underwhelming despite the original material given to the developers to try emulate.
Everything is just sloppier than any other ‘catapult tossing’ game out there. Especially given that this is sold for money, it pales sadly in comparison to flash games you could play online for free. Comparisons aside for a moment, Siege Wars as its own self-contained title is extremely weak. It lacks the intelligent play mechanics that make certain levels, or puzzles, rewarding to the player, thus making every area feel like a slog to complete. With eighty levels to get through, any charm the game had quickly wears off, as firing stones at tiny mages becomes a bore. Don’t bother with the story either. As it doesn’t go beyond, ‘the player takes control of a race of sentient, mobile catapults who are tired of being oppressed by the mages who rule their lands instead’.
The real crux in mechanics though, is the sheer lack of polish. Every part of the game feels like it was thrown into the wind after being completed, without being balanced or play tested by anyone. A crowning example of this, is the mages cast time. Having enemies target a random catapult, and then destroy it within a certain number of turns is actually a fantastic idea, as it forces the player to prioritise targets over easy kills. But it’s executed so badly that it’s infuriating to play against sometimes. On certain levels, when a mage begins to cast a spell and that same mage is killed before they can cast it on the player – another mage will cast instantly. Whether this is a bug or glitch is unclear; although considering how often it happens though, it seems like an intention feature.
This totally shifts the game from being skill based, to just hoping that your one good catapult doesn’t get wrecked by a random spell. Even some of the catapults are horrendously broken. The ballista especially, since it cannot be aimed either up, or down. This heavy restriction on aiming can only be countered by changing the amount of force behind the shot, which still leaves a massive error whereby the player can’t aim at anything that’s not just sitting in front of them.
Thankfully the areas are truly inspired pieces of design. With sand world, grass world, ice world, volcano world, and the mages citadel to trudge through. Every enemy you encounter is the same, and every area is only different because there’s a new background in it. Beyond getting a new catapult occasionally, and seeing a new type of enemy magic animation, the game shows all its’ got in the first ten or so levels. Not that you can enjoy the game for very long, as all eighty levels can be annihilated in one or two attempts if you’re even slightly competent at aiming. Sadly this equates to only a two hour completion time, which is shorter than most modern films. Of course, if you’re aiming for all stars, and amulets, then that will take much longer (why anyone would is unknown though).
Siege Wars misses its mark then, by a fair distance. It’s not a fun distraction, and fails to engage experienced players who possibly want a challenge. Not only does it not adapt the source material accurately, it doesn’t even manage to create original material competently in their own product.
Siege Wars – 28/100
Developer – RunServer
Publisher – RunServer
Genre – Casual, Indie, Mobile
Release date – 30th July 2015
Website – https://www.facebook.com/siegewarsgame
Written by Matt Dawson