Developer: Vile Monarch
Publisher: Vile Monarch
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Strategy, Multiplayer & Party
Release Date: August 2, 2018 (EU & NA)
Beers, Beat Downs, Barbarians!
Vile Monarch, the team behind the Switch releases of the Oh Sir… series of games has released Crush Your Enemies was previously released on iOS, Android, Linux, Mac, and Steam and is now on the Nintendo Switch.
Crush Your Enemies tells a simple tale of a Viking horde working their way through a conquest of castles and towns overthrowing the populous through brute force. In each of the levels, you will have a set of Vikings that you must use to conquer the enemies towers, training facilities and other buildings. As you conquer parts of the map the field and level tiles will begin to show your orange color and banners. If you leave sections on touched the enemy will overtake the land and trap you in a corner.
The game plays is short burst with some levels conquerable in a minute or two. Other times that map may force you to build your horde up by training the Vikings and raising an army. You then need to move your army of up to 50 troops to various locations on the map to overtake buildings or overthrow the opposing team.
Each level comes with a set of three skulls objectives. Think of these as your typical three star requirements to progress through many mobile games you will find in the app stores. These skulls are used as gateways to open up new levels and further your adventure through the game. A lot of times levels can be won with brute strength and quickness towards your objective. I often felt like catching my enemy off guard, just like in real life warfare, was the best way to ensure victory.
There is a lot to do in Crush Your Enemies. The single-player maps will keep you busy for hours, especially if you are looking to master all three objectives the game throws at you. Sometimes the objectives require you to win in an insanely fast time. Other times you will need to survive waves of foes for more than 3 minutes. These varied objectives help to hone your skills especially as challenges and steep difficulty in the late game make some levels seem near impossible.
There is also a multiplayer mode which puts you and a friend against each other in various maps each with a mirrored level design and breakneck speed at which you or your frenemy will try to crush each other. Since these matches happen on one screen they are fast-paced and have a ton of replayability through varied items and map designs. Sometimes you can outwit a human opponent easier than the AI, especially if your familiarity with the game supersedes your friend’s familiarity with the game mechanics.
In the single-player campaign, there are also booster items that you will find that will help strengthen your teammates or increase their recruitment turnover. These items can be purchased by gathering skull points which is a form of currency in a way in the game. This ‘three star’ approach makes the game feel very mobile-like, which is probably not by chance, seeing as the game is also available on mobile devices.
At least, from what I can see the game is a one-time purchase in mobile app stores and does not include in-app purchases to help you get ahead. Advancing in Crush Your Enemies can be difficult since the levels encourage fast pace management of your troops. If you send the wrong number of players careening towards an enemy camp to their doom it’s easy to restart and learn from your mistakes.
Crush Your Enemies is similar in scope and scale to the recently released Mushroom Wars game. Its unique take on the RTS genre is one that I can’t say I have seen before. In the Switch version, you can use a combination of touch-screen or joy-con controls. Since the battles are short and frantic at times I found that using my fingers to position troops and select items was easier than trying to navigate with the cursor and button prompts. Since the game has a mobile interface it seems fitting that the Switch touch screen controls work as the best way to play the game. I really preferred this method and I think after you try the onscreen cursor controls you will agree with me.
Crush Your Enemies has a variety of tunes within its levels, most of which are ceremonial drums which help to amp you up as you slaughter the opposing horde of soldiers. The tribal-like sounds help to strengthen the barbaric Vikings morale as you move troops across the battlefield. While none of the music sticks out to me, it’s also good to mention that none of it was out of place either.
During your battles, you will hear the cries of dying enemies as well as your own soldiers. The sounds of victory are also satisfying whether it’s the simple tasks of taking over a plot of land on the map or tearing down an entire building. There are subtle and over the top mixes of audio from the warring parties throughout each battle.
As your archers let loose their arrows you will hear them whizzing through the air. The clash of swords will also clank loudly as two armies duke it out for supremacy. In the middle of campaign matches, there are some grunts and groans as the text unfolds whether from your Viking leader or other NPCs you will encounter in conversation.
Crush Your Enemies has a great pixelated art style and unique approach to top-down RTS games. I really enjoyed my time moving throughout the campaign and challengingbeating my wife, in multiplayer matches as well. Your mileage may vary in the multiplayer game as skilled players are definitely at an advantage there. The single-player game has dozens and dozens of levels that should keep you busy, especially if you are looking for the three skull objectives.
My only issues with the game are that sometimes the item selection and navigation seemed a bit off when I would select and either try to use an item for my troops or create a waypoint. I don’t know if this was because of hit detection with regards to the Switch screen or because the controls were a bit off in the game, but that is one thing to keep an eye out.
There is a bit of a pickiness in how you have to navigate your troops through the map as you can’t go straight to objectives sometimes if there is a plot of land in your way that hasn’t yet been claimed by your team. Sometimes the finicky movement of directional and diagonal can make moving troops slowed down somewhat as you wait for them to get their destination.
I also thought that some of the over the top antics of your Viking leader and the conversations with other characters was just a bit more raunchier than I was expecting. There’s a liberal use of some wording and phrases that I wasn’t initially expecting. I don’t want to sound like a prude regarding some of the content, but it’s just something to be wary of as the aesthetics of the game may draw younger audiences in that may not be ready for some of the games references.
Crush Your Enemies is a great single-player RTS game. It has everything you want in a bite-sized, one-screen level design that really works. The touch-screen controls work really well, where the only thing holding this game back is some of the finicky movement controls and interface buttons being on the smaller size. You will not be disappointed if you are looking for challenge and completionist task of going after the three skull rewards. My time with Crush Your Enemies only made me want more levels and more challenges from this game and others in the genre. I hope that someday we get a sequel or DLC with new troop & building types, map designs, and more.
THE VERDICT: 9/10
*Review Key Provided by Vile Monarch
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This post was written by jonathanober