Circle Empires (PC) Review with Stream
Easy to understand
Lack of controls
Poor UI choices
Real Time Strategy games, or RTS for short, have been around for a very long time. There are many to choose from, and it appeals to the player who loves details, and buildings armies, and feeling like god. But one handicap of this play style is that it can be too complex, and can frighten off many would be players with its depth of choices. Getting those types of gamers involved seems to be the goal of developer Luminous.
Resource management is always the beginning of any RTS, which means you need to not just build your army right away, but build the infrastructure that will support that army first. Usually that means food and wood, and maybe some odds and ends along the way. This is also true in Circle Empires, in which you have to have a store house, farmers, and woodsmen to start getting all those great materials to support your army. But, when you have enough wood, or gold, or food, you can start using it to either make structures like arrow towers, or saving up to get better soldiers.
My stream of Circle Empires is below:
Circle Empires is an RTS to the roots, with all the hallmarks that make that genre great. It has the resources, the warriors, the fantasy background, but it all has a very simplified view and aesthetic. It’s trying to look cute, and looks to be going for a younger player, who maybe has never played an RTS before. If you hover over any of the soldiers, it will tell you exactly how much of each resource you need to buy it, making it very simple. You don’t have to have a level of knowledge to create a certain house or structure in order to make the soldier, you just buy them individually.
Also, there’s no waiting like in other games, meaning if you have the resources you can just buy as much as you can afford and they will be there immediately. This is nice for beginners to understand how to play, but for any veterans this means that the player can just rush the neighboring enemy in numbers too large to fail. There is not a lot of strategy here, in that you can just wait and attack with way too many soldiers. I never once saw an adjacent circle attack me, or even try, they just stood there, even when the fence between us was down so all you had to do was wait and build your army until you were unstoppable.
Being simplistic and having a more cutesy character model is not a bad thing, and it’s refreshing in this genre, but there are not enough details to make this work as it should. For example, I could not figure out how to make a building like an arrow tower, but discovered that you had to make a storehouse first, then right click the house to build another structure like what I wanted. It’s a bad interface for someone versed in these types of games. While it does have flaws, I still had fun playing the game, because it still smells of RTS classics, and it has the right DNA, but it just doesn’t deliver enough power to the player to make it challenging or intriguing. That said, it’s cheap, it’s fun, and it would help get others to play games they might not normally so it is still worth a look.