Siegecraft Commander is the latest instalment in the popular Siegecraft franchise to come out of Blowfish Studios. Offering the player a combination of twitch mechanics and positional tactics, the objective of the game is to expand from your keep by launching connecting towers and offensive and defensive weapons to attack and crush the enemy whilst at the same time trying to defend you own base from the savage onslaught.

Now I’ve never played any of the previous Siegecraft games but have always been a fan of games like Tower Defense and Castle Siege but tended to always play these type of games on my PC, so was keen to try my hand at this as see how well it ported across to console. As soon as you start up the game you are presented with the menu screen offering you Campaign, Multiplayer or Commander. Campaign and Multiplayer are pretty self-explanatory and we will go into these in a bit more detail shortly where as Commander allows you to customise your online presence. As you play more and more online you will rank up levels and can then unlock extra abilities and perks that can be used within the game.

Wanting to learn the basics of the game I then headed into the single player campaign, hoping that there was some form of tutorial or something. As soon as you select the Campaign you then have to decide which side you are going to play for. You have a choice of two, either the Tribal Lizardmen who are led by a psychotic Shaman or the Knights of Freemoi, who are basically greedy treasure hunters. I decided to give the Knights a go as a thought they might be better equipped and I would probably have a better chance… or so I thought.

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An opening cut scene sets the background to the game and the first campaign mission takes you nicely though the controls explaining what you have to do, how you can do it, the general idea behind the game and your objective of clearing the area and progressing through the portal to the next land. Now those thinking huge menu’s, multiple options and cumbersome controls are going to be pleasantly surprised as everything is simplistic and gameplay is managed with the left thumbstick, to position your shot and control the power of it, and the A and B button to select and cancel. The aim of the game is to defeat your opponent by destroying their Keep before yours is destroyed. By positioning you cursor over your keep and then pressing A you bring up the build options menu, from here you can select to build towers, armoury’s, garrisons and library’s to expand your base. Once your building of choice is selected, you then can position the direction and how far away you want to build it from your keep or previous tower/building by using the left thumbstick. Pressing A then fires your projectile and where it lands your new building is built, connected to your previous building by a lovely indestructible wall. By doing this you expand your territory and move across the map towards your opponent. This is where skill and planning needs to come in as if you place the wrong building in the wrong place you can cut yourself off completely from progressing across the map, but at the same time a well-placed tower can also cut your opponent off from progressing. Add to this the scattering of resources about the game that need capturing to allow you to build more advanced building and items and you have a real fight for control of the landscape on your hands.

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Now for every tower built, whether it be an armory or garrison or library, you then can select this and get a sub menu from it to build further buildings. A garrison can produce a barracks that will generate 5 troops at a time who will head off to destroy the nearest enemy structure. Armory’s produce trebuchets and airships that can be used again to hurl death and destruction at your enemies or even a cow if you fancy it. Library’s offer Tesla shields and fireball towers to name a few things and also the options of what you can build changes dependent on if you are playing the Knights or the Lizardmen. So that’s how you attack but the other thing you have to keep in mind is defense as a well-placed shot of TNT from an enemies tower onto your tower can change the whole game in seconds. Every tower is interconnected by a wall to the previous tower is was built from. Now if you destroy a tower everything that has been built from it and all buildings attached to them buildings will also be destroyed in a chain reaction. Therefore this is where not relying on one structure to build you your entire base from is a valuable lesson to learn at the start (I speak from experience). Hence why it is vitally important to keep your keep safe as if that goes its game over as it will destroy everything else, in a very dramatic cascading explosion.

The multiplayer aspect of the game comes in a couple of flavors, customise game play allows you to set the type of game, the number of players, maps, local or online play and if you want RTS or Turn Based. Otherwise you can just select online multiplayer and get dropped into a game against up to 3 other opponents to battle it out. The beauty of this game is that when searching for multiplayer the game will hook you up to other players on cross platforms including PC gamers so you will never be short of a players to play against. So what’s good and bad?

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The Good – The game plays well and looks great with clear colorful graphics and amazing detailed landscapes to battle on. The combination of strategy and tower defense aspects all blends seamlessly together to provide a really solid gaming experience. Multiplayer work well and you are never short of finding players to game with.

The Bad – The controls however simplistic take a while to get use to as when you are trying to aim and control the power of the shot. You can find the direction going all over the place and just to over sensitive. Eventually when you get use to it the fun can begin but it can be frustrating to new players. The campaign can also be frustrating at times and without the ability to save your progress you can find that you just don’t have enough time to finish some of the levels. I was finding some games in the campaign lasting over an hour, now don’t get me wrong the battles were amazing but having to restart the level again if I had to quit was really annoying.

Overall the game is a great game, plays well and combines strategy with a tower defense type feel. Priced at a very reasonable £15.99, if you like this type of game and are up for the challenge that won’t be completed anytime soon then this is the game for you.

Thanks to Blowfish Studios & Xbox for supporting TiX