Life is full of many things from which we find pleasure. They may vary from one person to another or between cultures such as food, music, art, and so on are common answers to what are some of the finer things in life. What is best in life, on the other hand, has one universally correct answer: Crush Your Enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women. And that is overall philosophy of Vile Monarch’s fast-paced RTS.
The main objective in most missions is, as the title demands, to crush your enemies. You start off with a group of boys and must use these boys to defeat the other army. The map is divided into three colors while the teams are divided into red, grey, and blue. You are orange/red, the enemy is blue/green, and the third grey/beige party in neutral and is free to be taken over by either side. In order to move your red boys into the blue territory, your boys have to turn every space marked green or beige to orange. The more boys you have on that space, the faster it is to take over. If your boys are attacked while invading, the takeover of that spot is stopped.
You can split up your hoard and send them to buildings on the map that serve different purposes. Sending them to shacks allows them to recruit. The rate of recruitment increases as the number of barbarians increases to a maximum of fifty. Send your troops to other buildings to give them specializations like archery or heavy fighters. Each specialized class has different strengths and weaknesses. Picking the right specializations and using them the right way is the key to mastering this game.
Resource management is also huge aspect this game, though you needn’t worry about tracking gold or building resources. Winning the round requires you to be on top of your management, and timing is key. Many times, the outcome of a round can be determined in the first few moments of the round, so be mindful what you decide to do early on.
The battles themselves follow a rather steep learning curve. In the beginning, you don’t do much. Battles play out automatically based on the gathered strength of units, but as gameplay advances there is a nice layer of strategy that emerges. The position of archers, the timing of when attackers rush in, the strength of defensive fortifications all starts to really matter.
The item system is nicely designed. Instead of having to buy items over and over, you invest your beer tribute to increase the count. The items vary in their usefulness depending on the scenario. An inflatable dummy barbarian can be placed on a territory to hold it, but is destroyed easily. This seems useless at first, until you get to battles where enemy paths really matter and a well-placed inflatable barbarian can delay an onslaught for the few crucial seconds that allow you to shore up some defenses. Like the rest of the game, the items are easy to understand at first, but reveal a deeper strategic purpose as you get further into the story.
Overall, Crush Your Enemies feels like something from bygone era with gameplay akin to some of our more retroactive RTS games from the 90s. But this isn’t a bad thing, especially as the humor brings a smirk to your face, and a surprising amount of strategy definitely provides dozens of hours of plays and reruns for precision. That’s my thoughts, but if you do not listen, then to hell with you!