Peace of destruction

There is something overwhelmingly peaceful about watching explosions tear apart a landscape in slow motion. Welcome to “Besiege.” The goal is to complete certain level objectives by building a medieval-style war machine. With a physics-based engine and a plethora of building parts, the game gives no set rules on what you should build, only specifying what the machine must do.

The building mechanic can be a challenge at first, but it is easy to get the hang of after building your first couple of machines, since building quickly becomes simple and fluid. Once you get the hang of it, you can build anything you can think of. I’ve built a cat-like machine that claws apart the land with moving front paws, a clumsy-bladed windmill, a happy bouncing dog that tramples its enemies and so many more. Your machines can fly, walk, roll or simply stand still and explode as you see fit, and you can arm them with anything from cannons to bombs to spikes.

The complexity of your machine depends entirely on you. You can build something as simple as a wheeled cannon or you can build a machine with astounding amounts of moving parts that trigger each other like a terrifying Rube Goldberg machine. The builder provides pistons, hinges, powered wheels and gears, decouplers, springs and more. With these tools, you are free to try out any steampunk-like death machine your heart desires.

“Besiege” is obviously violent, but because of the soft soundtrack and the beauty of running your carnage at a slow time, it has more of a zen-garden-of-destruction feel. Level objectives are most frequently along the lines of “destroy two castles,” “destroy 50% of the sheep,” or similar, but there are a few that have more-mobility based goals like delivering special items or getting to an area without blowing up.

While it doesn’t have multiplayer yet (hopefully in the future), it is still fun to build machines with friends. Simply sitting together and bouncing new machine ideas off of each other and then watching the chaos unfold is amazingly fun and frequently hilarious since many of your machines will, most likely, horribly self-destruct.

The cat machine I mentioned earlier always seems to catch itself on fire and then move through the fully-destructible landscape like some horrifying hell-beast. Other machines I’ve built self-destruct on purpose in order to cause as much carnage as possible. Of course, watching the chaos unfold is always fun, no matter how successful your machine ends up being.

The game’s alpha was released on Jan. 28 and currently is only $6.99 on Steam. Between the low price tag and the sandbox-like gameplay, Spiderling Games’ “Besiege” is the perfect college game. Even though it is an alpha, it has gotten overwhelmingly positive reviews from its players. If you still aren’t convinced, watch some gameplay videos on YouTube (I like “Besiege #2 – War Corgi” by Robbaz). Share any fun machine ideas or stories at msuexponent.com.