Game Reviews

Samurai Siege

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| Samurai Siege
Samurai Siege
| Samurai Siege

I would love to have been samurai. How could you not? You wander about in an awesome suit of armour, sword by your side, protecting the residents of small villages, and dispensing cold hard justice when needed.

Perhaps Samurai Siege will capture some of this heroism, nobility, and feudal swagger. Perhaps it will transport us into a world of honour and sacrifice, where tradition means fighting and there's a word for trying out a new sword on a passerby ("tsuji-giri").

Or perhaps, if the screenshots are anything to go by, it's another Clash of Clans clone, the likes of which we've seen time and time again.

Join me as I find out.

First impressions

"Don't judge a book by its cover," wrote a smarty-pants some years ago. Sadly, the same doesn't seem to apply to screenshots on the App Store.

Wouldn't you know it, Samurai Siege is Clash of Clans with an Japanese theme. Much as I snidely predicted above.

So far the plot is innocuous nonsense. Your village is destroyed after an attack, and you must rebuild. Sensei and Commander Ren explain the (familiar) basics of the game, and you begin to gather resources.

There are two kinds of resources - Coins and Essence. You use Coins to build defences, and you use Essence to train new troops. You can send out troops to battles, but you don't have direct control over them. You simply need to tap where you want them to appear and they automatically attack buildings.

You create new buildings to gather more resources or protect your village, and then wait for them to construct. Alternatively, you can speed up the process with premium currency.

Sound familiar?

The only major difference I've found from the Clash of Clans formula is that I unlocked a third builder very quickly, which should allow me to initiate the construction of more buildings sooner.

Day 3: Hunkering down

I've played Samurai Siege for a few days now, and though I'm still absolutely convinced that this is a (very loving) homage to Clash of Clans, I'm starting to see that it's geared more towards hardcore players.

It's constantly pushing you towards PvP multiplayer, for one thing. You can rebuild the Alliance Portal to request troops from the get-go; when you head out to battle the game will always suggest you fight an online opponent; and as soon as you're in an Alliance you get involved with Wars.

Wars are where all Alliances that are fighting for dominance on the leaderboards battle one another. It's a neat addition, and I certainly felt more connected to my fellow clan members than I did in Clash of Clans.

I'm enjoying the progression, and having a third builder has made working my way through the game a bit easier. Wait times are a bit too lengthy for my tastes, but this isn't a title that you'll spend hours at a time on - it's a dip-in-and-out sort of affair.

Progression is familiar, but given a new lick of paint. I've unlocked the ninjas, which are basically the goblins from Clash of Clans since they specialise in stealing currency. But the way I've done so is by progressing through the campaign rather than by hitting an experience level. I feel like I've been rewarded for moving forward, rather than for filling a bar.

So far, then, I'm keen to see more of what Samurai Siege has to offer, even if what it has to offer has so far been a new take on a well-worn genre.

Day 7: Evolutionary

A week after starting Samurai Siege, and the differences between it and Clash of Clans are clear, if not particularly striking.

To use traditional video games as examples, the difference between Clash of Clans and Samurai Siege is the difference between Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Street Fighter Alpha 3, or FIFA 2000 and FIFA 2001, or Gran Turismo 3 and Gran Turismo 4.

It's an incremental improvement to the formula rather than a revolutionary one. Casual players are unlikely to notice any differences.

You still lose all troops you use in battles, for example, which is still a frustrating way to balance the gameplay. But occasionally there are battles that give you a few units - for free - that are pretty much crucial for the successful completion of that single-player encounter. It encourages you to move out of your comfort zone when it comes to strategy, and is a welcome addition.

I like the presentation, but the visuals are only marginally better than those found in Supercell's game.

The one improvement that I really appreciate is in the realm of defence. Building and upgrading walls is so much easier in Samurai Siege than in other games in the genre, and it ensured that I concentrated on this element more than I usually would.

I like Samurai Siege, then. It's an enjoyable, marginally improved take on another game, and it moves its aim slightly more towards competitive play.

Hardcore Clashers will want to give it their attention, as will those who missed out on all the Clash of Clans hubbub. But if you've already figured out that this brand of tactical resource-management isn't your thing, Samurai Siege won't change your mind.

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Samurai Siege

You've played this game before, albeit with a more barbaric theme, though that shouldn't stop you giving it a go if you're after more strategy-management action
Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.