There has been a rush to get casual versions of more complex game-types onto the App Store since it launched, and in the case of BlowFish Studios' and Crescent Moon GamesSiegecraft [99¢], the goal seems to have been to create a casual RTS game with Angry Birds-esque physics.

You take control of one of two weapons throughout the campaign, a catapult and a crossbow. To shoot, you need to slide your finger to move and aim the crossbow, or touch and pull back to shoot the catapult. This works considerably better on an iPad than an iPhone since you have more room to pull back and aim. You'll have a set number of tasks to complete throughout the campaign, but most fall in two categories: attack and defend. That said, you'll always essentially be defending, since you can't move your weapons. Even the attack portions mostly just require you to kill off enemies so your soldiers, which you don't control, can get through.

That's the basic essence of the game and it continues throughout with little deviation. As you progress, you'll unlock coins to purchase weapon and ammo attachments via in-app purchase or campaign-grinding, but the core of the game doesn't shift, nor does the strategy you need to employ to win. You can, for all intents and purposes, think of this as a slightly more strategic Angry Birds and you'll get the general vibe. You'll get six campaigns from three different races, but they're all the same when it comes to how you'll be playing.

The nice part is, you'll be able to play any level in any campaign at any time. While some of them are easier if you buy weapon upgrades, they're all available to you at any time. The downside is that the menu screen is a bit confusing and it takes a few more taps than needed to get back to your place in the campaign. It also means it's not a linear experience, so despite there being words like "races" and "campaign," it's not a story-driven affair.

It's a simple game with simple ambitions, but it can get repetitive quickly because it never feels like you're progressing through it. That doesn't mean the game doesn't get challenging as it moves on, because it certainly does, but the basics of the level design and the skills you need to win aren't as diverse as they could be.

There are also a few iOS 5 specific features, including cloud saving and online multiplayer. The cloud saving only marks stars received and doesn't seem to transfer coins earned as far as I can tell, which makes the feature a bit of a bust, since that's the only reason you'd really want to hop across devices unless you're concerned with your place on the leaderboards. The multiplayer isn't exactly what you'd expect from playing the campaign -- where the single player is real-time, the online component is turn-based and asynchronous. This makes for much slower gameplay, but it also means you can pick up and play at any time without worrying about staying around the whole time.

More interesting is the iPad specific, single-screen multiplayer, which is far more entertaining. It takes the simple gameplay from the single player and pits you against someone on the opposite side of the screen. It doesn't take much to get into it and it's incredibly entertaining for short bursts of time. This is the one facet where it's nice the gameplay doesn't require a lot of headwork because anyone can start playing immediately, simply point and shoot and you're done.

The game looks great, with a few added tweaks to the graphics for iPad 2 owners, and it's nice it's available in one single universal version. Even on older devices, the visuals are well done and although the areas are small, the scope is presented in a way you feel like the battles are larger than they really are.

By the end of it all, Siegecraft feels like it could have been much more. While the easy to pick up and play gameplay is nice, I can't help but think there was more that could have gone into the campaign to create a better sense of progression. Where you start is essentially the same place as where you'll end up, which is too bad, because the core of the game is interesting enough to warrant a look.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://twitter.com/Inaba_kun Phil Baxter

    Personally I found this game dull as ditch water. Really simplistic and repetitive. 

    • Anonymous

      Conversely, I am really enjoying it. The levels are short enough that I can play thru two or three in between large stretches of work to clear my head. 

  • Anonymous

    I've played the first few levels, and so far this is a game that definitely does not live up to its promise. The touch aiming is finicky, the presentation and voice-acting are amateurish, graphics are nothing to write home about, and generally the game feels too simplistic. I initially thought I was getting a bargain at its launch price of $0.99 but even at a buck I'm now feeling that I shouldn't have gotten it.

  • Jayson Elliot

    The controls are terrible. The game itself isn't that difficult, but the frustrating controls make it completely un-fun.

    I love games that ramp up the difficulty at a proper pace by challenging your reflexes or your strategy. This isn't one of them. It just gives you a maddeningly twitchy aiming system, so you feel like you're fighting the interface instead of the baddies.

  • http://twitter.com/GutemberglCosta Gutemberg

    Looks good!you could offer me a promo code of the game please.

  • Anonymous

    The fact that you didn't call out the control issues is befuddling.  I mean...the problems REALLY get in the way of the player's enjoyment and make the game super frustrating.

    • RedGreen1

      It's true, and it is crazy that the biggest glaring flaw isn't mentioned. Seeing reviews like this lose my faith in using Touch Arcade to help me in deciding which apps to buy.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CN5B3ROVDFAFDYBQTPCMD3C3OI James Bond

    I bought it and was extremely disappointed in the dullness and the control's ineptness. 

    Honestly, the game is too slow paced and even lags slightly on the iPhone 4.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CN5B3ROVDFAFDYBQTPCMD3C3OI James Bond

      Performance > Graphics  !!!!

  • Noah

    I'm gunna pass because of the phrase "Any Time Any Where"

    Granted, "Any Time" can be spaced out and that would be acceptable, but "Any Where?" You're killin' me, Smalls. 

    "PLAY AGAINST YOUR FRIENDS ANYTIME, ANYWHERE"

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      Well that sure sounds reasonable.

  • http://twitter.com/goofyjmaster Jordan T

    I actually like the simplicity of this game. It's a casual catapult game, not a serious RTS. If you want a serious RTS buy one, that's what I did. There are plenty awesome RTS that have been released lately, so, again, having a nice casual game like this is very refreshing, especially for only one dollar. It also has a nice asynchronous multiplayer.  

  • Anonymous

    You young whippersnappers don't know nothin' about the inspiration for this game which comes all the way from 1983's board/miniature game known as Crossbows & Catapults! Angry Birds my crusty behind!

    Crossbows & Catapults used plastic crossbows and catapults which used the tension of rubber bands to flick plastic discs into your opponents plastic castle. Simple fun.

    That said, those rubber band powered catapults had notches to gauge and adjust the tension so you could actually measure your control. Seems to me that would be an easy fix to this game's controls. Give the player some visual feedback (a notched gauge or a number) on how much tension he's using so he can at least be consistent! Sheesh! Then maybe you wouldn't see so many complaints about the controls.

    Simple is good, but if you're gonna make it simple, don't make it frustrating.

  • Anonymous

    So this is Angry Birds disguised as old medieval type of game according to TA.

    ._.' 

Siegecraft Reviewed by Thorin Klosowski on . Rating: 3