A gaming genre that is fairly underrepresented in the realm of consoles is the RTS. Sure there are some things like Halo Wars that have done well, but you don’t see too many RTS titles on consoles, let alone many that can pull off using a controller well. Siegecraft Commander has now made it’s way to the Switch, and you would think that with a combination of controls and touchscreen, that the developers would be able to finely tune their RTS system. Sadly, they did not quite get there.
The setting for Siegecraft Commander is a fairly generic and safe fantasy one. You get to control either the greedy Knights of Freemoi, always looking to get some more bank or the Lizardmen who have their own agenda. You can choose to play through the campaign for either race, and the story is told through a simple chapter book which could have allowed the devs to create some great art to go along with the story. Sadly, there is no gorgeous art, nor is there a compelling story; just a mediocre tale to tie the chapters together with. There are hints of great designs here, but unfortunately, it just wasn’t fleshed out enough. In the end, the characters and story become just forgettable.
When it comes to the gameplay, however, this is where Siegecraft Commander shines, at least a little bit. The main strategy in the game is using your towers from your keep to venture out into the map and take on the enemy or specific challenges. You start off at your keep and fire off a tower, using angles and trajectories. There are walls that connect the towers and these can’t be destroyed, however, your towers can be, and if a tower in the middle of a chain is destroyed then it will clear out anything built after it. So, you need to play it smart and figure out where you are going to be placing your towers and walls.
It’s not just plain towers that are built though, you have access to different types like garrisons, ballistas, libraries, and more as the game progresses. You’ll also need to be making these different towers to provide you with soldiers to fight off other soldiers or ballistas needed to take down your opponents towers. There’s kind of a paper-rock-scissors thing going on that works fairly well. The biggest issue I had though was with the controls. I primarily played in handheld mode on the Switch and I figured that the combination of analog controls and touchscreen would be perfect.
Sadly, it was not the case, I was constantly fighting with the game over what I wanted to select, either with controls or touching the screen. I eventually gave up using the touchscreen completely as it would rarely register where I was touching and trying to select, and just went to using the controls, which were still finicky. It will take you some time to get through the eight different chapters per race and there are multiplayer options, but none of them made me want to stick around for very long.
Visually the game is pretty bland looking. I didn’t expect Siegecraft Commander to wow me, but handheld or docked, the game just doesn’t look great. The Knights levels especially are pretty mediocre, and the character designs look blocky and kind of funny. The Lizardmen at least have some great desert levels that are a bit nicer to look at, but still, after a number of levels it all kind of blurs together. The music is fairly nonexistent in the game, but at least the sound effects and voice over aren’t too bad. Again, mostly underwhelming stuff here but at least the gameplay could maybe be enough to keep you playing if you aren’t too hung up on how the game looks.
All in all, Siegecraft Commander is a nice try in regards to RTS style games on console, but sadly the game just isn’t that great to look at and has too many little control issues that affect gameplay. The multiplayer modes can be a little fun, especially with the couch co-op mode, but ultimately you’ll move on before too long. Siegecraft Commander is a slightly fun but flawed RTS, maybe next time around Blowfish will work out the kinks in the game.
A review code for Siegecraft Commander was provided courtesy of Blowfish Studios for the purpose of this review.