There have been plenty of castle and fort destruction games since the launch of Crush the Castle and the rising fame of Angry Birds -indeed we have all seen firsthand how enjoyable it is to launch boulders, cannonballs and various super powered birds at structures and see how much mayhem and destruction we can make.
Siege Hero: Viking Vengeance takes the castle destruction game genre and adds a little enjoyable twist: precision strikes. Gone is the old gameplay where we pull back on a catapult, make an educated guess about the ballistic trajectory, let go and hope for the best. No more of that ridiculous half-guessing. In Siege Hero, we get to shoot our shots exactly where we aim it, and every else becomes a matter of organized chaos. Of course, figuring out the game's physics will still take a bit of gameplay to get used to, but after a while, players will find themselves seeking out the weakest parts of the defensive fort in order to bring it down in a single shot.
Something New to Play
What makes Viking Vengeance pretty unique is the presence of friendly units in the game, basically, units that must not be harmed by your attacks. This means that you need to know exactly how much damage your attacks will cause and find a way to ensure that the destruction does not affect the friendly units. In cases where there are friendly NPCs in a stage, you must wipe out all the enemies while ensuring that your allies make it out alive. This is where the precision striking comes in. You need to hit specific pillars, swings and platforms in order to make sure that the debris does not crush your friends (or make sure that they are outside of any explosive blast radius). It may seem a little annoying at first (the whole babysitting/hostage thing is always a big drag for many games), but in this case, successfully finishing the stage does feel somewhat rewarding.
The concept of protecting friendly units may not be all that appealing to players, after all, when you play a game about destruction, the last thing on your mind is holding back on how much chaos you can unleash per shot. With that being said, this is not the game for those of you hoping for a less mindful level of gameplay. So if you simply want to shoot things without looking twice, then you should pass this game up.
Clever Little Tricks
One big advantage of having precision aiming is that the game will force players to make full use of the feature. This time, luck is no long of a big factor when it comes to bringing a castle down (an element that we somehow miss from other castle toppling games). That being said, knowing what to do with your shots will certainly get you far into the game.
Players must utilize a variety of projectiles (given in a set order per stage) and use the limited quantity to take down all targets efficiently. The puzzles can range from simple (such as simply bringing a roof down on your target), to overtly complex (like changing the overall balance of a platform to swing explosive barrels to the other side). While most stages can be finished in various ways (there is no set solution for most), there will always be a method that can be considered most effective overall.
A Scoring System
There is a heavy competitive element in this game -particularly with the online scoreboards. While many players in the ranking do complain about the massive score bonus one gets by simply liking the game on Facebook, most consider the boards to be one of the biggest factors for boosting the replay value of this game. It simply does not matter if you have already finished all the stages, you can always come back and try to get a higher than your previous attempt.
Calculating player score brings in various elements such as the number of shots taken, number of destructible content affected, coin and gold collected per stage, and other gameplay features. If you happen to have a very competitive nature, then this might be the castle toppling game for you.
Simplified Control System
Despite the fact that Siege Hero: Viking Vengeance has precision aiming, this means is that you simply point your cursor at your desired target then press the mouse button: easy as pie. What is important is in planning how your shots will affect the structures that you hit. Aiming for support pillars and other critical points will ensure that structures will lose stability. At the same time, you can also aim for minimum damage, which is something to aim for when you have to deal with saving friendly units.
Also, the game will require you to get familiar with the ingame physics: knowing how the various blocks and projectiles affect each other is a big factor in knowing what the true weak point of any given structure is.
And that is basically the gameplay of Siege Hero: Viking Vengeance -the constant search for a castle's weak spot. Evert stage has its own set of weak spots that must be exploited with the right kind of ammunition. That is right; it is not just a matter of knowing where to shoot, but also figuring out what to shoot at it. The game's ammunition queue is set per stage, so expect to do a bit of trial and error as on certain blocks to get the best effect possible.
Visuals and Delivery
Siege Hero's graphics are simple and easy to understand. The art is a little cartoony and nothing that truly stands out from other flash games and mobile apps. Overall, the game's visuals are sub-par. Fortunately for this game, players are going to pick it up for its gameplay, not for its graphics. That being said, the layout of the stages, the user interface and the complete look of the game nicely complements the gameplay it provides. It sure could have used a bit more smoothing in the animations, but at the end of the day what truly matters is that the visuals are easy to understand -and that is all we truly need from a game of this type.
Should You Play It?
Castle destruction is one tricky genre, especially with massive competitors already out on the market, a game like Siege Hero: Viking Vengeance has plenty of challenges to surmount. While it loses out early in the visuals department, it quickly makes up for with the unique gameplay experience it delivers. We give this game an angry viking's 81/100.