I’ve always been fascinated by strategy games. I’ve never been particularly good at them, enough to get by, but I’ve enjoyed my time with older titles like Command and Conquer, Starcraft, and Age of Empires II. Crush Your Enemies claims to harken back to the time when these games were more popular but misses the mark on many levels. There’s no base building, no expansive maps, and no real strategy from what I can see. In fact, it’s more of a barbarian themed puzzle game.

The main objective in most missions are, as the title demands, to crush your enemies. You’re started off with a group of boys, their word not mine, and must use these boys to defeat the other army. Sounds simple enough. The map is divided into three colors --- orange, beige, and green --- 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, though they are not in every mission. 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.

Vile Monarch

Every mission starts you off with a predetermined amount of boys and some missions you get a Hut to make more boys. During certain missions, you can send your boys to Barracks to change them into the three professions offered --- warrior, archer, or shield bearer. Warriors do more offensive damage, archers can attack from a distance, and shield bearers can deflect archer fire. It’s all setup like tic-tac-toe and that’s about as deep as the strategy goes.

There was no mission I played, beyond the first few tutorial missions, that didn’t feel like I was being rushed by the enemy team immediately. The enemy always starts with more soldiers than you, and you never have control over where your buildings are set. You can send your boys to take over an enemy or neutral building, but once again, the enemy has a bigger force than you. They have more buildings than you, too, and any time you’re attacked at a point, your progress is stalled.

Crush Your Enemies does give you a few power-ups to aid you along in a mission, which is nice, but the boosts feel very short in length and underpowered. In order to unlock these power-ups, you must first complete the mission that unlocks them individually, and then you must use beer stein (an in-game currency) to increase the amount of times you can use them. In order to get these beer steins you must take over breweries, through either clicking on them or completing missions attached to them. But these missions aren’t any different from any other mission, and are just as frustrating.

Vile Monarch

Usually if a game has lackluster but somewhat decent gameplay, I am willing to give it a pass if the story is at least entertaining. It’s not. The game basically screams at you “Hey, do you like Conan the Barbarian? Because you should!” The main character is a bloodthirsty barbarian who just wants to crush his enemies. He has a fat son who drinks all the time, and is constantly berated by his father for being fat and inconsiderate of other people’s feelings. The enemy is a foppish British-esque man who is not man enough. Even the game menu options scream at you to be a man. If you try to quit a mission, it calls you a wimp. If you try to restart a mission, it calls you a wimp. Even if this is meant as tongue-in-cheek, it comes off like beer commercial machismo. It feels like something from another decade.

Overall, Crush Your Enemies feels like something from bygone era and not in a good way. The humor feels outdated, the gameplay is like something out of a MegaTouch machine, and the pixelated graphics look like a late Super Nintendo game without the charm. There is an iOS and Android version, which makes more sense, but as a full release on PC, it’s not worth your time.

This review is based on a download code of Crush Your Enemies provided by the publisher for PC.