Crush your enemies is a fast-paced Real Time Strategy, developed by Vile Monarch, who worked on previous games such as This War of Mine and SleepWalkers Journey. It is available on PC, Mac, Linux and IOS. And because I'm so nice, here's a link to its Steam page. Now grab your Blood-stained Axe and your busty lass, and let's get crushing.
IntroductionWhen I first entered Crush Your Enemies I was impressed, mostly by the games sprite work and its nonchalant attitude towards cursing every chance it got. This had me entertained at first, as the game was easy to play and its features blended together nicely. As time went on, I began feeling frustrated at the game, often its simplistic controls would hinder me, and the yells of my soldiers annoy me. But for now this isn't about me, so let's try and keep it objective. If you're looking for a time waster on your phone when you're visiting your Gran at the nursing home, then this game is for you, but if you want to be immersed and enjoy a solid RTS, then don't pick up Crush Your Enemies.
Don't get me wrong, this game has heaps of charm and bundles of colorful language to keep you smiling, however, at times it can seem rushed and is definitely missing something. Its premise is a good one, but much like communism it looks good on paper but doesn't work quite as well as you hope it will. This means respect most certainly has to be given to this game for its attempt at creating a whole new sub-genre, lighting hope that maybe more Indie Devs will step up to the plate for this style of RTS.
MechanicsI have touched upon this earlier, but Crush Your Enemies makes it glaringly obvious that it's a mobile game. With its watered down management system and controls, the game is just less fun to play on a platform like Steam. The player will enter each battle off of a hub map; the objective in each battle is usually to Crush Your Enemies, but sometimes it can be to survive or take over buildings. It's good that there are separate objectives, but I feel that it is less fun when these are in play, not to mention the fact that it betrays the game's meaning entirely. Battles start out simple early on in the game, with you mostly just needing to gather more men and defeat the enemy forces. Despite its flaws, victory always feels impactful, with a small amount of slow motion to sweeten the pot. The game controls simply with the mouse, this leads to the worst of the worst. Later on in the game, it is very difficult to manage your units without some sort of pause and command feature; the absence of shortcut keys just adds to the pressure of battle, which can cause you to lose due to you not having enough time to do everything you need to. I also found my mouse inputs to be unresponsive at times, leaving me clicking in the wind with my pants down, however, that could just be my mouse.
As you progress through the game you gain extra units which have different functions. For example, shield bearers and warriors. Warriors are a lot stronger in physical combat, and shield bearers can deflect arrows from Archers. All units start off as simpletons and must be moved to different buildings in order to gain a trait; they can also duplicate in a hut. They do this by, as our main man puts it, 'Banging'. I don't know how a unit of all males can produce offspring in such a way, but there we go. The largest unit possible is a group of 50. The player must also take over the land and buildings in order to move over them and sometimes can be slowed down by 'special land', like a swamp. As you can tell by this, it can all get very hectic, which is why the game can be disorientating, and in the late game, quite frankly, isn't very fun at all. Side Missions can also be partaken in, and I did complete most of them. You see, you gain heads when you finish a battle, as each encounter will incur two side objectives. A certain amount of these heads is needed to proceed through the levels and to do some of the side battles. The best thing to compare these to would be the stars in Angry Birds. These can be the best and the worst battles at times. The process of having to do these to gain heads is nice, as it makes it all worth it in the end, even if the mission was hard. Items can also be bought using beer as currency which you get from doing side encounters, however, I personally didn't buy items very often.
Visual DesignThis game has excellent Sprite work for sure, the detail is important as it makes it easy to differentiate between the various types of Men at your disposal. The drawn art is good but in places can seem a little lazy with some characters looking disproportionate and odd. This is hardly noticeable and isn't really a big issue, as it rarely seems to appear this way. One thing that I enjoyed was the blood effect when troops are fighting pixelated blood will fly out of the crowd, which does a good job of making slaughtering the enemy that much more satisfying. The environments in the game mostly consist of brown mountain, a bit of brown mountain, and oh good, more BROWN MOUNTAIN. If you couldn't already tell by my overwhelming sarcasm the map and areas you fight in are boring, this brings up a big issue this game has, and that's that there is little attention to detail. You traipse across the map which is mostly just a plain field with buildings dotted about: this brings a lot of light to the fact that Crush Your Enemies is obviously a mobile game, this has made the developers somewhat unimaginative leaving the player disappointed with its lackluster Brown Mountains. All in all, when you're in battle the game looks great, flying arrows, magic spells, and a giant death snail all look fabulous.
A large problem I have when it comes to visuals are the menus, sure they look fine, they go for an 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it mentality', which I don't mind in the slightest. Here's the bad news, there is no way to turn off your men's yelling. AT ALL. I had to alt-tab out of that sucker at 4am so they wouldn't wake up my Mum! This is a huge problem, I turned off all of the game's sound and yet it still played those infuriating yelps of battle at full blast. The options menu doesn't allow for much at all: it whittles down to a very basic display and creates problems that could easily be avoided. Once again showing its nature as a born and bred mobile game.
Sound DesignFor Sound let's talk about the music. I've not been paying attention to game music for very long, but now it's definitely a focus point: the blending of music with gameplay is a delicate process indeed. Crush Your Enemies soundtrack is very forgettable, with tracks that didn't hook my interest at all. It serves its purpose in sounding like a barbarian time score, with the use of a lot of string instruments, however, I just didn't enjoy it and there's not much special about it at all.
The crunch of your Men marching across the map is music to my ears (unlike the actual music), creating a sense of distance between one area and the next. The clanging of weapons is on point too, swords and arrows sound different, so you can tell what class of grunts is attacking you, even if you're dealing with another unit at the same time. As I stated earlier, enemy screams are very annoying, with no option to turn them off in the menus. The screams are also quite unrealistic and remind me a little of worms, to be honest, it's just a shame that their repetitiveness makes them very rage inducing, thus the need for my PC to be muted when playing this game was a must. In the end, the sound design isn't bad at all, but the yells of the troops get in the way of enjoying a lot of it.
Final Thoughts and OpinionsLook, this game isn't a bad game, but its issues stem from the fact that it just isn't meant for Steam. It claims it is simple to be fun, but this works against it, achieving nothing but making the player angry and frustrated at it. The games text is funny and quirky, and I did enjoy this part of it. The game is well designed and is a good length if you want to play a game that just wastes your time. But I do implore you, pick it up on iOS instead. I didn't have a section for the plot, as there really isn't much to say; a Barbarian and his son set out to Crush their enemies, and that's it. The story doesn't matter at all here, and the game knows it. It also goes out of its way not to waste the players time, and its personality whilst a little egotistical is also self-aware and better for that. In terms of the Multiplayer, I didn't get to play much of it, as not many people were playing. I personally don't like this game, I commend it for what it's trying to do, but it fails. At first, it appealed to me, and I thought it might be a laugh. I was disappointed. In the end, the game feels arduous and for me was a chore to play. Never the less I hope in the future we can see an RTS that does the fast combat justice but until then thanks for reading.
|+ Detailed Sprite Work||- Forgettable Soundtrack|
|+ Satisfying Victories||- Not really meant for Steam|
|+ Amusing Narrative||- Boring Environments|
|- Lackluster approach to Combat|