In the medieval fantasy of Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator (SWS), the player leads a force of serfs to unseat a tyrant. It’s a small game, which combines the minimalistic goofiness of Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, the real-time tactical puzzling of Bad North, and the siege battles of your favourite medieval RTS.
In SWS, players direct squads to build siege weapons to assault enemy walls. It’s a chaotic experience governed by simple controls. The demo, at least, makes for a pleasant distraction.
You start each game by selecting your sword chaps and archer lads from a roster at the bottom of the screen, then slotting them into tiles in a defined deployment zone. The whole field of battle is made of these square tiles, and you attack opponents by directing your units to secure the ground beneath them.
Your units will start fighting automatically if they share a tile with an enemy. This works quite neatly, except for when you’re fighting ranged units. Enemy archer lads will run around your sword chaps, who won’t give chase unless you tell them to.
Some units have special abilities like devastating volleys and charges. Meanwhile, arranging your units can be important. This brings the game closer towards a tactics game than it initially appears. Thankfully, the game automatically slows down when you’re busy selecting and ordering troops.
When you come face to face with a castle, or just cliffs in the modestly ornamented landscape, you can get your troops to build equipment. These include ladders, siege towers, and ultimately trebuchets. These take a while to build, which elaborates on the management aspect of the game.
There is an enjoyable puzzle dynamic to SWS, which has you organising which units should absorb ranged damage, which should run headlong at the walls, and which should be sent back to get repaired to full health at the special tent.
Making effective use of the resources at your disposal while assessing the game’s varied scenarios supplies some of the satisfaction of a weightier RTS. It’s easy to imagine longevity being squeezed from the game. The demo itself contains missions tied together by a loose tutorial, and some trickier challenges.
The demo gives an impression of what the final release will entail, but there’s some rough edges. There’s no music, which leaves things feeling a bit stripped, and there’s a few bugs like audio cutting out completely. There are, however, some pretty grass animations.
SWS is the work of Chinese developer Screambox Studio. They’re the creators of Ancient Abyss, an Early Access title with positive reviews on Steam. A release date for Extremely Realistic Siege Warfare Simulator hasn’t been announced. The demo makes for a spot of fun, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.