Have you ever wanted to be a conqueror, bringing steel to those who oppose you, and use your expendable hordes of barbarians to their fullest capabilities to crush your enemies? I know I have, and now I can! With, well… Crush Your Enemies, for Nintendo Switch, developed by Vile Monarch in 2016 and ported to Switch in August 2018.
Personally, I’ve always had a bit of an inner-barbarian, (cue ‘Anvil of Crom’) and this games takes a quirky punch at that trait in all of us. You start the game as Brog the Barbarian, one of four unlockable characters, each with their own storylines and traits. Brog also turned out to be my favorite character; in time, a close second would be Fuzgut, his son.
From the get go, I really enjoyed Crush Your Enemies’ cartoonish art style. It sets the tone well as the buffoonish brutes trample the land, conquering everything in their path, making comments about present-day social issues and off-hand Conan references. Their crude humor is also quite funny, as it’s set up in spots where you don’t quite expect it and it catches you off guard. Honestly, it was those moments that had me laughing and made reading the story as the game progressed more bearable.
When I first started the game, I wasn’t exactly impressed by the map layout. As I played through, however, I got quite use to the simplicity. It makes sense within the story and fits the game well. It is a bit underwhelming on the art side as well, but I found that even that fits after some playtime. They’re barbarians, not artists. They wouldn’t have a pretty map to begin with!
Each level comes with three achievements to meet to complete the level. You don’t have to meet them all to win; usually, the only one you have to meet is to, again, Crush Your Enemies. Sometimes you may have to do this within a time limit, other times you’ll have to do it without losing a particular land piece.
This is where I have my biggest gripe about the game. Everything felt the same with these challenges and that honestly bored me. I really feel like the developers could have done more here, given the simplistic gameplay and controls. This could be considered game-breaking in some instances, as you’re on a roller coaster of fun. Some levels are challenging and fun, while others are so simple and bland it’s almost a chore to meet more than one goal. I just felt like the game was missing something each time I played a stage.
Crush Your Enemies also did a very good job explaining itself, as it is basically self-explanatory in the first place. Each time a new function is added to the game, it gives you details in the form of a cutscene, then explains them further in your ‘Conqueror’s Handbook’. You’ll also be able to unlock a store with usable items for each battle. This is more like an upgrade screen, as each of the items is permanently gained for use. However, they do cost beer, so you’ll want to conquer as many taverns as possible.
At the beginning of each battle, you’ll get to see what you have on the field, your items and your enemies in their positions. This give you some time get acquainted with each stage and plan your strategy. You’ll need this more on some stages than others, but trust me when I tell you, you’ll be grateful for it after a while. The stage I’m using in the review is specifically because of how difficult it was for more. I still only have one piked head! It is, to say the least, one of the more challenging stages of the game.
After you begin, you have to move fast. The enemy doesn’t play games, ironically enough. They are fast to build up their forces and swarm you, so you’ll want to do the same. As you can see above, I was the one being crushed, here. Not good. If you’re used to real-time strategy games, you’ll likely be fine with the movement in combat, as it’s essentially point and click. If you aren’t used to it, well, you’d better get used to it, because otherwise you’ll get crushed much faster than I did — which was pretty fast in this battle, mind you.
Overall, Crush Your Enemies is a fun game and experience, and if you’re into strategy or puzzle games, you’ll find it fits well into either of those categories. You can pick up your own copy of Crush Your Enemies on Steam and Nintendo Switch for £6.99 ($9.99)! Also, check out the credits of the game for some epic music!