Besiege: Engineering Ingenuity

War is a meat-grinder

War is a meat-grinder

Having equipped my machine with all sorts of weaponry, I lower its arms and send it into battle. Blood of my enemies splatters the landscape as my buzzsaws rip bodies apart, while the cannon shred buildings to pieces. Be wary, Besiege is not for the faint-hearted although it may look kid-friendly. Besiege is a machine-building game. Much like Lego, you create machines using blocks and mechanisms in order to complete an objective.

In Besiege, items are split into 7 categories: basic, blocks, mechanical, weaponry, flight and armour. Under mechanical, you’ll find lots of useful tools such as a piston, steering hinge, contractible spring etc. Ultimately, it is up to you to piece together a functional machine by combining these parts within a given 3 dimensional space.

While the objective is spelled out in each level, it is purely up to your imagination as to how you wish to accomplish it. For example, when tasked to eliminate the castle knights, whether you build a war robot or an apache helicopter, there are another million and one ways to go about it. Although your machine is brought over to the next level after completing the previous one, each level is different enough to require modifications to your machine in order to achieve the new objective.

Back to the ol' drawing board

Back to the ol’ drawing board

No matter what monstrosities you have conjured up, it is bound to fail the first couple or even hundreds of tries. What you’ll often encounter is that your machine unintentionally self-destructs. However, nothing quite satisfies as much as coming up with an idea, constructing it, conducting tests, making amendments and finally seeing it function beautifully, no matter how many trials it takes.

Bearing in mind this game is in early access with plans for updates, the main objective-based gamemode is pretty short and would only take upwards of 2 hours to complete. While the objective serves as a guide, the beauty of the game is in letting your creativity run wild. Hence, I found myself revisiting completed levels and creating ridiculously outlandish machines that ultimately brought joy and laughter to the child in me. Of course, there is a sandbox mode for you to play around with the creation and testing of machines just for fun.

If I had a bone to pick about Besiege, it would be the initially steep learning curve. I’ll admit, I struggled to understand how the game works at first and had to look up external videos and guides to learn the basics such as steering a machine. Only certain items have a description of its function and you are left to experimenting to figure most of it out. As such, to fully grasp the mechanics and create complex machines, you would have to invest a considerable amount of time playing the game. What I found was that the more I played, the more adventurous and less conventional my machines became.

Making use of a chopper design uploaded by a fellow builder

Making use of a chopper design uploaded by a fellow builder

On the upside, players are able to share their own creations by uploading them for other players to download. As such, if you do not have much time to invest, you can always mess around with other people’s creations. At first, I was jealous of what other people had built, but at the same time it inspired me with clever building techniques I could use for myself.

Currently, there is only a player vs environment aspect. However, I would really love to have a multiplayer arena. Simply, it would allow for machines of 2 or more players to be pitted against each other under certain limitations and rules for balance and to make such matches interesting. Personally, I think it would be awesome to have my robot battle another player’s, but even without a P-v-P feature, I would still purchase the game nonetheless.

Despite the development team being bound to make many changes prior to full release, Besiege is already an enjoyable and surprisingly polished game even at such an early stage of development. I’m excited to play the full experience once it’s released. Furthermore, this game only puts you back $7 USD or your regional equivalent, and has been worth every cent for me.

Besiege was released on Steam, 28 January 2015.