Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad(s AAPL) that we think is awesome enough to keep you busy until Monday, at least.
Fortress Under Siege (Free iPhone, Free iPad, $2.99 Mac) is a medieval tower defense game that starts out a little like SimCity as you plan out and build your kingdom, progresses into a more typical Plants vs Zombies strategy game, with a dash of Battleheart troop customization thrown in for good measure.
Starting off you find yourself commanding an army loyal to Arthur. It plays out like a typical castle defense game: You purchase walls, buildings and troops to surround and defend Arthur from an attacking force. When you are finished laying out your defenses, you click start and wait to see what sort of army is going to march against you. Then the game turns into more of a real-time strategy game as you can control your troops’ movements and maximize their opportunity for victory. You do that by making adjustments on the battlefield to reposition the appropriate troops to defend against the varying strengths of the attackers. For instance, your archers may be better suited attacking knights on horses from atop the castle walls, but your swordsmen may be better off charging against enemy archers on the ground.
Then you start to realize that your troops are no longer a match for the opposing force that is attacking them — that is until you engage the upgrade system where you can increase the attack and health of each type of soldier you have in your army. With each passing campaign, you also face new and better troops. You even gain access to magic. How you lay out your kingdom influences what you can do on the battlefield. If you do not have enough houses in your kingdom, your army will not be able to grow in number beyond a certain point: Add more houses to the kingdom, and you will be able to support additional troops.
This game does get increasingly difficult as the days pass and the campaigns progress. If you are in a hurry, the iOS version of the game offers an in-app purchase system where you can buy gold for cash. This will allow you to amass larger armies, upgrade your troops and fortresses withe ease, and build impenetrable fortresses that are easy to defend. This strategy also lends itself well to increasing the speed of the game to force the battlefield to a swift victory for your troops. There is a slider control that can speed up or slow down the battle in the preferences.
If you take the longer path to victory, by slowing down the battle in the settings, you will discover that the battle mode can be rewarding as a real-time strategy game. Moving your troops around the battlefield to maximize your strategic advantage, you will realize that the enemy’s strength is in its number of attackers,something that you cannot compensate for even when you throw a lot of cast into the game. Not only will a defeat teach you a lesson on where your army needs to make improvements, but there is also profit to be made. For each loss on the battlefield that does not financially set you back, it moves you forward with each kill. Whatever gold you earned you keep as the game progresses, even when you lose and must play a day’s battle over again. Overall this is a surprisingly deep game with plenty of replay value and customization.