I actually forgot there was a new Age of Empires title out there, let alone a freemium one, so I thought it was time to try it out while testing the ASUS Transformer Book T100 Chi. Well, Castle Siege is available in the Windows Store here and it ran perfectly on the Windows 8.1 slate, but it’s not such a perfect game sadly.
Coming from Microsoft and a third party partner, this title is a base builder with relatively fast combat, implemented much like in Clash of Clans. The only difference is that you can actually control your units this time and move them around. The evolution of eras is slow and this it the type of game that needs to be played a few days, till you feel you advanced even a little bit.
Basically upgrading your keep makes you jump one age, as far as I saw. This is considered to be the mobile version of Age of Empires 2/ Age of Kings and allows you to play as one of the 6 civilizations, that include Britons, Franks, Kievan Rus, Teutonic, Saracens and Byzantines. Each have their own heroes and their own battles. There’s a campaign mode here, with famous sieges and sackings, like the one of Aleph or Thesallonic.
Combat takes 5 minutes tops in the PvP mode, since you also have that. Resources gathered here are food and lumber initially, then there’s also stone. With them you can build new buildings, defensive structures, a wall, soldiers and ballistas. You can sack other bases and get their food and lumber, which is what you’ll be doing all the time, since your farm and mill are very slow to produce resources.
Upgrades also last forever, but you can speed them up by spending a bit of gold and by “a bit” I mean a ton. The graphics are pretty good, with very nice details, like pigs wondering around a farm, or crossbow soldiers messing around the barracks. Buildings are also nicely drawn and colors are vivid. Still, the historical accuracy isn’t exactly here, since famous citadels are oversimplified.
Graphics are also a bit more cartoonish than expected. Overall, this is not the AoE I grew up with and while it’s fun in its own way and maybe even addictive, we’ll file it under “Clash of clans clone with a few extras”. We give it a 7.5 out of 10.