While the RTS genre is typically more known amongst the hardcore gamer crowd, the genre has been making lots of strides recently on mobile platforms that have opened it up to a wider audience. Games like Clash of Clans have taken what RTS titans like Starcraft and Age of Empires did and boiled it all down to something much simpler, though by many accounts also eliminating many elements that made those classics great in the first place. This is where Crush Your Enemies comes in to save the day, as it’s an RTS that similarly keeps things very simple while also presenting its mechanics in a way that nods to its classic contemporaries.
The main draw of Crush Your Enemies is that it offers the essentials of what an old-school RTS game does, but without all of the added fluff that results in some of those skirmishes lasting upwards of an hour. You’re given a small map with your army taking on the opponent as you battle to conquer land, buildings and ultimately the opposing forces. There is no resource management to slow things down (early on), putting the full emphasis solely on just taking your enemies out as quickly as possible. The bluntness of the game’s mechanics allows matches to be completed in just a handful of minutes, but while also allowing for a solid bit of strategy.
The simplicity of the levels is also represented by its control scheme, which is handled entirely with the mouse. Managing your troops as you lead them across the battlefield is very responsive as you click on them once and then click on where you want them to end up to complete an action. As your troops numbers increase you’ll regularly have to split them up and send them in different directions in order to stay ahead of the enemy team, or you can just click directly on an enemy group to start a battle. There are several things that factor into which team’s units will win the battle, but it’s typically the unit count and class advantage that seals the deal.
As the game begins you’ll simply be trying to take out all of the enemies on the map, but as this 8-10-hour adventure unfolds there are a lot of other objectives thrown in to ramp up the challenge. Each level has an Angry Birds-like 3-star system, and while just completing the level will get you by, you’ll want to get all 3 stars to put towards unlocking more levels. The tougher objectives will ask you to do things like take out the entire enemy team within a certain time limit or only with a certain kind of troop. While the lack of resource management is one of the draws to its gameplay early on, some of the more difficult later levels actually incorporate it into the game to make the challenge gradually climb as you progress.
As battles take place on these relatively small maps it all becomes a game of keeping an eagle eye on all of your troops and making sure everyone is pulling their weight. There will be buildings that will increase your troop numbers that are essential to keep running, as they can then be sent out to hunt down the enemies, take over land or capture/construct new buildings to create archer sniping towers and class-changing buildings (including peasants, archers, warriors and more). You can also only move freely on land that you’ve claimed, meaning that progressing through the map requires your troops to claim each square on the way to their objective.
Despite the typical level only lasting a handful of minutes, that doesn’t mean that they won’t require you to really use your head in order to win. The enemy AI is so strong that they will consistently require you to bring your A-game in order to bring them down, with strategy adjustments and quick thinking being a must. The tide of the battle regularly changes quickly, and if you’re not quick on your feet then you’ll be overrun by the enemy before you even knew what happened. This sense of challenge is largely what keeps the combat so entertaining, as you always feel like you’ve earned your victories. Taking on a human opponent is just as fun in the game’s multiplayer mode, with the mode containing several of its own maps that features cross-play between the PC and mobile versions.
It also doesn’t hurt that the developer has wrapped up this grassroots RTS in a very silly setting featuring a cast of characters that regularly deliver great dialogue. Characters are voiced with simple mumbles as the dialogue is presented on the screen, and just about everything said is a pleasure to read through. You control a group of barbarians as they seek to crush all who oppose them, and the resulting self-aware character interactions are often hilarious. All dialogue is kept very brief, however, as it’s all about the gameplay at the end of the day.
Crush Your Enemies offers a quicker take on the RTS genre that both hardcore and casual fans will be able to get wrapped up in. The levels are short and sweet while providing plenty of strategy to keep things engaging, and the game’s silly humor keeps the laughs coming throughout. It may not be a game-changer, but if you’ve been looking for an RTS with no nonsense then this is the one to get.
Crush Your Enemies
- Available On: PC, iOS, Android
- Published By: Gambitious
- Developed By: Vile Monarch
- Genre: RTS
- US Release Date: July 13th, 2016
- Reviewed On: PC
- Quote: "Crush Your Enemies offers a quicker take on the RTS genre that both hardcore and casual fans will be able to get wrapped up in. It may not be a game-changer, but if you’ve been looking for an RTS with no nonsense then this is the one to get."