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iPhone Game Review: Besieged
      #35480 - 12/24/09 02:10 PM

iPhone Game Review: Besieged
Reviewed by JadeDragon

Many casual games have made their way to the iPhone and iPod touch, and "defend your castle" genre is no exception. Besieged is a 2D castle defending game where you take control of castle's archers and rain arrows down on the incoming enemy forces. Besieged has fun gameplay, unique graphics and interesting sound. It has just 12 levels and one scene in the first installment, but the developers have promised to release more chapters that will add more scenes as well as more types of enemies.

Gameplay

The gameplay is pretty simple: the castle sits on the left and the enemies charge from the right. The distance between the castle and the enemy entrance spans more than one screen, so you will need to swipe the screen in the beginning to find the incoming enemy army. This setup gives the game a feel of side scrolling and also buys you more time to hit the enemy units as they advance. Your archers can hit anywhere on the screen even when the enemy units are just entering into the screen which is far from the castle. The game uses the Unity engine and it feels solid and smooth. Arrow movements have different velocities and angles depending on the distance from the castle. And when you get more ?knock back? upgrades in the arrows, the knock back effect looks realistic in the reactions the enemy units have when the arrows hit them.



At version 1.2 Besieged is still the first chapter and has three difficulty levels. The difficulty levels have balanced settings: the enemies coming at a slower speed and in fewer numbers in the Easy levels; as the difficulty levels go up, they come in faster and in bigger masses. In this first installment, we see only a few types of enemy units: the skeleton soldiers with axes, the skeleton lancers and archers, a mage and a large troll. The grey skeletons with axes are the weakest while the lancers in gold are harder to kill specially the ones with helmets. The archers can do damages to your castle even at a distance, creating an interesting dynamic to the gameplay. The mages create green smoke field in which you can?t easily see any enemy units and the mages can also add charging speed to the skeleton soldiers. The troll comes out at later levels and he is hard to kill.

To help you defeat the enemies, Besieged offers a large collection of upgrades that include improvements to the castle, the number of archers and enhancements to the weapon. These upgrades integrate with the gameplay nicely and require you to balance your upgrades in order to succeed in difficult levels. The castle upgrades include fortifications (maxing the health of castle), adding archer towers (increase archer recruits) and adding more archers (increase the number of arrows hitting the enemy). For the weapon upgrades your archers can get fire arrows, faster reload time, increased damage levels and increase knock back power which comes in very handy to keep the incoming army away from the castle. There are also two special upgrades including increase fire damage for the fire arrows and volley arrows which allow all archer fire at once.

The v1.2 added OpenFeint support that allows players to submit high scores online and compete with players around the world.



Graphics

Without extra embellishment for armor and garments Besieged has effective graphics. The movement of the enemy units is smooth and different enemy units have distinct looks or colors. The tranquil background scene provides good contrast to the mayhem unfolding in the foreground in both colors and mood, and the fantasy theme helps create the environment in a 2D world.

Sound

Besieged has both background music and sound FX. The orchestra style music creates a grand and epic mood that fits the game well, and it doesn?t get tiring either. The game has some interesting sound FX that include arrows finding the target, arrows hitting the ground, etc. and the sound of arrows crushing skeleton bones is specially satisfying.

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Conclusion

In many ways, Besieged is the chapter one of what we hope to be an interesting book. It laid out the format of the game, the engine is solid while the controls are smooth and gameplay balanced. The easy difficulty levels provide pick and play element for casual gamers while the higher difficulty levels give the genre players an intense workout. Though we are still long way from an epic journey Besieged sets a good stage for more chapters to come. The game is currently free on the iTunes App Store. For any castle defense player, that?s a hard price to beat.



Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: - 4.5 - Simple yet effective graphics.
Sound: - 4.5 - Great music and interesting sound FX.
Controls: - 5 - Very smooth control and the physics feel realistic.
Gameplay: - 4 - A fun castle defending game with a solid engine and nice gameplay. Overall the game feels balanced.

Playing Hints and Tips:

-The castle upgrades are just as important as the archer upgrades. So don?t ignore them.

-The multi-arrow shot and fire arrows have slow reload speeds. Switch them out quickly after each shot back to the normal arrow so you waste any time waiting.

App Facts:
Developer: Squiddle Games
Release Date: Sep 30, 2009
Price: $0.99
Buy App: iTunes App Store


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