Indie games can sometimes be hit or miss with today’s gamers, but we can’t overlook their importance for the industry. Besiege falls into this category, but with a major twist.
It’s in alpha.
Now don’t get discouraged, friends. I know what you’re thinking. This, pay-for-an-unfinished-game-before-it-comes-out thinking that seems to be wildly popular on formats such as Steam is a silly way to run an industry. Why should you pay for an unfinished game? There’s a reason.
Besiege is a medieval weapons building and physics simulator. A lot to take in yes, but let me explain. You are given multiple building materials, moving bits, and yes, crazy medieval weapons. The current version of the game has one of five worlds open. You are given a task in each level of the world, such as destroy a house or kill 90% of everything, and cannot move to the next level without completing the task at hand. The fun part comes from how you do it. There are no restrictions, and however you get the job done is up to you. You can be simple or extravagant. The choice is yours.
Besiege presents you with a blank slate, teaming with destructive, creative potential. Do you build a trebuchet? Or perhaps a wall of cannons? Maybe you just want to see how ridiculous you can get and still beat the level. These are all possible scenarios. Additionally, this game looks fantastic for a game in alpha. It also plays great. And sounds great. This game quickly makes you forget that it is in alpha.
This bring me back to the original point. Yes it is in alpha. But does that take away from the game? Perhaps content wise, yes, but the folks at Spiderling Games have proven their worth in the small amount available. Rather than open a lot of the game at lower quality, the developers took the time to concentrate on one area of the game and make it represent closer to what the finished product may ultimately look like. Because of this, the alpha version of Besiege feels complete. The seven dollars you may have reluctantly paid for “another buggy early access game” quickly becomes worth it as you see your giant flame throwing head you modeled after Steve Buscemi’s face burn a bunch of sheep alive, although that may not be exactly the goal given to you. Did I mention the sheep?
Failure is spectacular in this game and actually quite a big part of the hilarity. The grander your killing machine the more spectacular the destruction can be if you don’t build it right. Sometimes, you even find yourself setting yourself up for failure, just to see the results.
Besiege’s incomplete state does leave you with the feeling of yearning for something more. It is short and can seem to be unfulfilling after a while but, thankfully, the developers address this too. Regular updates occur to Besiege with new blocks and weapons every so often, and new worlds have estimated release dates on them. This keeps me going, and involved with the game because I know that more content will soon be added.
The physical game plays well with minor problems. One of the few is the camera. While it is fairly easy to grasp, it can be difficult at times to move throughout the playable field which is necessary on larger missions. Additionally, it can sometimes be cumbersome to re-map key bindings on more complicated machines, but the time you invest in this will make for a beautiful result in the long run.
I have bought alpha-stage games before only to be disappointed that they never come to fruition or are simply unplayable. Besiege is the first game i actually feel like the developers will keep adding to it until it is finished. This, to me, is the benefit of early access gaming. Small developers, like Spiderling Games, can take the time to make what they really want, while keeping fans interested.
Ultimately, the game an early access game, but don’t let that discourage you. For seven dollars it is an absolute BARGAIN. There is so much creative potential, it looks fantastic, its intuitive, and it still has more content coming. The continued playability doubled with the future release of more content makes this game extremely appealing, and should more than make up for its few shortcomings.