Crush Your Enemies is an interesting pairing of real-time strategy and puzzle. You must arrive on each map with some key buildings, and a small handful of units and find a way to… you guessed it, crush your enemies. This might include recruiting new people, putting your units into a hut to literally reproduce new units, or converting piping your workers into guard towers to hold map locations. All this while trying to take down an opponent working to do the same. You can really feel the race aspect of trying to out build and outpower your opponent, especially when you can see everything they’re doing while you’re doing it too. Unfortunately, I have a lot of problems with this game.
Each level is a little puzzle and has bonus objectives to gain full completion of a level. This generally means finishing under a time-limit or with a certain number of units around. It’s nice to have challenges to go back for, but since it’s not required to need every challenge completed, I found myself just trying to plow through to finish the game for review. As you march across the screen in an overworld and arrive at new levels to crush you are treated to a lackluster story about a barbarian and his son who want to drink and crush people.
The writing of Crush Your Enemies is just a step above middle-school boy humor. Your character mostly talks about crushing enemies, his junk, or how not to be a sissy man. His son tries to be a bumbling voice of reason, but even when he talks his bloodthirsty father into trying to use words instead of fists, it doesn’t really change many mechanics in the game. This could have been an interesting place for some evolving game mechanics, but it just usually means there’s now neutral mobs you can claim by moving to them. It all falls flat as a story and falls even more so in dialogue.
The dialogue is all throw-away and actively works to make me dislike everything about the game. It’s as if they tried to write a low-budget version of Family Guy jokes while removing any nuance to the jokes or humor. Every character is so flat and uninteresting and it makes every bit of story they try and give you just fluff they used to fill out the gap between the puzzle levels. I would have preferred if the characters had no dialogue and it was literally just choosing levels to play from a menu with only minor tutorialization on how the new units or abilities worked.
Putting aside the lowbrow writing and crude-for-crudes sake humor Crush Your Enemies just doesn’t feel great to play. At its core Crush Your Enemies is a simplified version of a Real Time Strategy game. Unfortunately, the precision needed to select units on a real-time time scale doesn’t feel great without a mouse or touch interface. The stick moves around your selected space and then you can confirm a whole unit move or hit a button to try and split your units as you move. This unfortunately always feels clumsy and time-consuming to get any amount of precision to your actions while still racing against the AI that is always moving forward. There are time-scale controlling buttons, but it only seems to add more complexity to an already overburdened control problem on a console.
This game would be far better served on PC or mobile where you can more directly and quickly interact with spots all around the map instead of having to select unit groups and then path out their movements. You could argue that a Switch has a touch-screen so it shouldn’t be so bad, except that it means you still can’t play it well if you ever want it on a big screen. I personally would just recommend playing it elsewhere if you want to experience the game. The controls just lead to too many losses that felt preventable if I could select and change my units orders as quickly as I wanted to without having to also juggle starting and stopping the action in the game.
To sum it up. I really didn’t care for this game. All the dialogue and story were both throwaway and an immature attempt to replicate something akin to Family Guy. It doesn’t play well on a console. If the interface was better and the theme and story were all stripped away, there is something at its core that could be great, but it’s wrapped in such an unappealing package. I just can’t recommend this one on Switch. I can’t really get behind it anywhere else, but it would be more playable and accessible elsewhere at least.
Note: GameOctane editors received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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Strategic Puzzle Action
Unique area-control mechanics
Throw Away Story
Lackluster Writing and Dialogue