Besiege
Linux Format|September 2020
Management have fended off many a pleb revolt against LXF Towers, but Rick Lane has been plotting and practising with mighty siege machines!
Rick Lane

SPECS

Minimum OS: Ubuntu 12.04, Steam OS

CPU: 2GHz dual-core

Mem: 2GB

GPU: OpenGL 2.0, 512MB VRAM

HDD: 1GB

Besiege is notionally a game about engineering medieval siege weapons. But it’s best to think of it as a metaphor for the creative process. It begins with inspiration. “Egads! A mobile artillery platform with seven cannons running along a manually adjustable beam would bring down those wooden airships. It’s genius!”

With that, you grab your virtual hammer and set about erecting your ridiculous death contraption. You’ll hammer out the frame, align the wheels, affix the steering block and prepare to line up your cannons. This is it, your masterwork. History will remember you for this.

Then you slap your forehead. You forgot to add a pivot for adjusting the vertical aim. You fix this, but now your vehicle is taller than the level allows, so you need to reduce the overall height, which also means increasing the power of your cannons so their shot will reach its target.

Finally, you exit the building mode and press Play. You move the machine into position and fire, at which point the force of your cannons shreds the machine apart, and it collapses into a pile of splinters and flame. Well done! You just finished your first draft. Now to turn that smouldering mess of ideas into something that actually works.

Of course, Besiege is hardly the first game to do this. Games such as Crazy Machines and Kerbal Space Program let players indulge their inner crackpot scientist, constructing wildly ambitious contraptions before scratching their heads and muttering, “Perhaps a little more hydrazine…?” at the resulting mound of slag. Yet whereas Kerbal Space Program is a feast of fudged rocket science, Besiege is more like engineering tapas, breaking its challenge down into tiny, yet no-less tasty morsels.

The premise is vaguely reminiscent of Dungeon Keeper. Besiege points you toward a perfectly nice fantasy realm and orders you to completely ruin it. Only instead of building dungeons, you’re building siege weapons. This realm is split into four separate Kingdoms, each of which comprises around a dozen individual levels.

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