By Chris Picone, 12 December 2022
Warlords: Under Siege is a difficult game to categorise. At its heart, it's a tower defence game, but it also features roguelike game looks with meta progression, RTS elements, and even deck building.
Warlords is a mish-mash of at least four different genres, but it works really well. Ultimately, it's a tower defence game; you have to protect your keep, which is attacked by seemingly endless waves of monsters. To do that, you first need to build your mines and mills to start the resources trickling in, and then buy your archer towers and walls, then supplement these with foot troops, upgrade everything where you can, repairing to minimise the overall cost. Sounds normal right? But in Warlords the buildings you can build is determined by card draw, with a new card being drawn every couple of minutes. Also, you have total control over your foot troops, so you can move them around the map as try to prioritise threats like you would in any RTS game. Except it's still a tower defence, so in between charging your armies around you're still trying to manage resources and build or repair your defences. It makes for some pretty engaging play. You also have a hero, who starts off fairly vanilla but who is also boosted by cards. Since this is a roguelike, at the end of each run you gain gold based on how long you survived (and other factors), and you use these to purchase new cards and town upgrades. The deck builder isn't a gimmick either, it's vital to maximising your strategy. Sure, you could include every card you acquire, but then you have less chance of gaining the card you need when you need it, so you need to determine your strategy first and then build your deck accordingly. At first you will die, and fairly quickly. But a few new card unlocks and some boosted town stats and you'll last a little longer, and the money earned will unlock even more power until eventually you survive long enough to unlock some new maps. It can get pretty addictive.
So, my first impression? I've had a lot of fun with this one already, burying more than four hours into the existing two maps. I think a little more balance is needed but the devs plan to keep the game in EA for another six months - it also needs a bit more variety but they have at least three new maps and three new heroes planned, so there will be plenty by the time the game fully releases. All-in-all, a solid purchase for any tower defence fans.