Build-A-Murder-Machine Workshop: Besiege


Besiege‘s war machines would only appear in a history book if a bored schoolchild scribbled them in the margins – little pencil machines bristling with blades and flamethrowers whirl through stick figure armies leaving trails of red Biro. It’s a physics puzzler about piecing together pistons, hinges, blades, bombs, saws, spikes, cannons, wheels, wings, and other bits into death machines able to annihilate armies, crush castles, and conquer kingdoms. You can buy into the alpha now.

Cor, look at that diorama-y art style! If it weren’t poor netiquette, I’d embed this 6MB gif of a spinny blade machine mincing knights.

In these days of ironic physics, I do still enjoy the simple novelty of physics-based puzzlers where any kookiness is the result of a horrible accident as something I’ve made tears itself to pieces. I imagine that’ll happen a lot in Besiege. And I especially enjoy the examples in this here trailer where a machine going terribly wrong still manages to complete its objective:

You can buy the alpha, which currently has 15 levels and a sandbox mode, for $6.99 (£4.60). It’s currently laying siege to Steam Greenlight too. Should it breach the barrier, developers Spiderling Games plan to add Steam Workshop support to share siege engines.


Top comments

  1. Napalm Sushi says:

    I've now lost two entire nights' sleep deliriously tweaking the design of a war engine which is, in essence, a 30 foot-wide armoured lawnmower. Its six wheels remain infuriating weaknesses, their suspension worked to breaking point by the mounds of diced corpses that the device generates, but it usually manages to retain enough of them for long enough to complete its gruesome mission. I consider this to constitute a success.
  1. jasta85 says:

    not interested in any more alpha’s but it will be interesting to check it out on release. I enjoy games about inventing things, even better if those things can cause mayhem and destruction.

  2. Thurgret says:

    I’m a bit tired of being asked to pay to test people’s games for them, but this does look like it might be quite entertaining. And I like the art style. To the Steam reviews!

    • DavishBliff says:

      I don’t understand why people are upset at the practice of selling early access games. If you don’t want to buy early access, don’t do it. As long as it’s not advertised (or reported on) it as a final product, what’s wrong with it?

      • UncleLou says:

        I am with you. Noone is taking the option of buying games as people always did – namely, when they are released – away from them. All you get is an additional option.

        And I for one do want to be informed about such things.

      • Beanbee says:

        Absolutely, it’s one of few ways that can attract extra investment and ease cashflow up until release. I know a few indie developers who didn’t take a pay check for the first couple of years of their companies because the flow of the monies simply wouldn’t allow for it.

        • Frosty Grin says:

          On the flipside, early access games are probably siphoning off the cashflow and attention from regular games.

      • DeVadder says:

        The problem is me i reckon. I tend to buy these things because i want to play with the novel ideas, run into some kind of barrier likely due to the early state of the game, grow bored of the little content that is already there and am suddenly no longer enthusiastic about the novel idea and never come back.
        So of course i could just not play it now, but it looks so nice! And lately it has become entirely likely as well that the game will never be called finished or that RPS will not report on it beeing finished and thusly i might miss out on the novel idea entirely! Even more reason to try it now and get bored prematurely. :(

        tl:dr I am perfectly okay with early access to exist, i would just prefer if RPS reported more on “finished” games and less on alphas (when it comes to indies, these seem to be the vast majority).

      • Joshua Northey says:

        They didn’t sound upset at all. They just said they was tired of it.

    • Gruzbad says:

      Suck it up. No one’s forcing you to do s***. If you don’t want to do Early Access, don’t. Some people like them, not everyone, so if you don’t, fine, don’t participate.

      Some people will complain about ANYTHING.

      • Frosty Grin says:

        Anything, including other people’s complaints. :)

        • DeVadder says:

          Anything, including other people’s complaints about other people’s complaints. :)

    • Niko says:

      Just playing the game isn’t the same as testing it.

  3. Stonehead says:

    I would appreciate it if you guys put some flag when talking about alpha and early access games. I just got all excited about this and then my baloon got deflated. I have no interest in playing early access games. Or reading about them.

    • Frosty Grin says:

      Do you also feel this way about regular games still in development? Coverage usually starts well in advance of release date.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      I mentioned the alpha before the jump. What would you rather?

      • Frosty Grin says:

        I think a coloured tab – like the ones you put on RPS features and supporter posts – would be distinctive enough.

        • Cinek says:

          +1. That’s a very good idea.
          This could help both: audience and developers in clarifying situation.

          • Stonehead says:

            I agree with this. Some nice colored tab or “[Alpha]” in the title or something distinctive like that would be nice :)

          • Alice O'Connor says:

            Curious: how specific would you want it? What about games which aren’t played in any form yet? Is it that unpleasant to read a post then discover the game’s not properly super finished yet?

          • Cinek says:

            I guess simple “early access” tag when applicable would do. To answer your second question: obvious solution would be “pre-release” tag for any materials about yet-unreleased games (eg. Grey Goo). As for the last question: Yes, it is. These games are completely different breed than a pre-release games from studios that can afford developing full titles on their own and they got much higher “risk rate” than anything else making them quite special in their own way. Steam already got their own marking and warnings for titles like that. I really wish more would follow. It can only make situation healthier.

          • Frosty Grin says:

            I don’t think there’s any need to make it complicated – the games on sale are explicitly marked as alpha or early access. Personally, while I don’t mind reading about them, they’re in a distinct category for me, somewhat like free-to-play games. The actual experience, with frequent game-changing updates, is different, not for everyone, and a game can be in this state for years.

          • Premium User Badge

            phuzz says:

            I’m not bothered either way, but magazines always used to have separate sections for previews vs reviews. Perhaps something like that would be to people’s tastes? (with an added “In Development” section).

            Although now I think about it, some games are basically in a constant state of development, running from “don’t buy Assain’s Creed yet, wait until the first bunch of patches come out” all the way to something like WoW, which is only just recognisable as the game that was first released.
            Maybe that’s why people are so annoyed, it used to be that a game was developed behind closed doors, then released, but now they’re open to the public from day one almost.

          • SuicideKing says:

            It doesn’t bother me too much because hey, they’re games, when they’re out, I’ll decide if should play them after reading about them on RPS. I also don’t get unduly excited either, so…yeah.

            Alice, I’d suggest just tagging it as it is. If it’s waiting to be greenlit, tag it “Greenlight”, if it’s made it to early access, tag it “early access”. If it’s a public (paid or otherwise) Alpha/Beta (but not on Steam), then simply “Alpha” or “Beta”.

            Anything without such tags will be assumed to be a released game, a concept or in closed development, discerned from context/title.

        • DeVadder says:

          I agree with this completely! Lately, at least when it comes to games i care for, the majority of posts seem to be about alphas and early access.

    • UncleLou says:

      I have no interest in playing early access games. Or reading about them.

      Not playing them: fair enough. But not reading about them? Does that mean you’re generally not interested in any articles about games that aren’t released yet, and onyl read reviews/WITs?

      • Stonehead says:

        I think the sudden realization that this game may never be finished and that I can’t play it yet got to me so my comment is a bit harsher than it should’ve been. :/

        • John O says:

          Well, from what i’ve seen thus far, it looks rather polished for a 0.1 Alpha. People are having fun playing with it, there’s levels and stuff, no reports of gamebreaking crashes or such…
          I think it’s just a type of game for which early access works really well. It’s a nice enough toy for the price they’re asking, and it’s looking to get better. Not like, say, a zombie shooter in a gray world that seems broken beyond repair to start with.

    • Gruzbad says:

      If this isn’t a First World Problem, then I don’t know what is…

      • Cinek says:

        Everything this would website discusses are a first world problems. In other corners of the world they don’t really care much about PC gaming… they’re more like…. busy with earning money for their basic needs than spending cash worth of X weeks of their work for a PC games.

    • Wowbagger says:

      Then thou has little choice but to hi thee to the monastery of ascetic monks of the no early access order where nought but Half life 2 and civilisation is discussed infinitum.

  4. Uglycat says:

    I’ve spent 10 minutes in it, but so far I’ve slaughtered 4 chickens and crushed 1 house, so I’m pretty pleased.

  5. John O says:

    I would very much buy the Alpha for that price, but i don’t see any info on whether or not that would buy me a Steam key? I guess so, but eh.

    • John O says:

      According to the Dev on Steam the answer is “yes”. So. Yes.

  6. iainl says:

    Trailer looks pretty. I’ll try to remember to check in on this in a year or so when Early Access finishes. That’s the problem I have with the whole Paid Alpha thing, anyway – by the time the game’s actually done and I’m ready to consider buying it, it’s old hat.

  7. Niko says:

    It looks quite stylish, I’m intrigued.

  8. Napalm Sushi says:

    I’ve now lost two entire nights’ sleep deliriously tweaking the design of a war engine which is, in essence, a 30 foot-wide armoured lawnmower. Its six wheels remain infuriating weaknesses, their suspension worked to breaking point by the mounds of diced corpses that the device generates, but it usually manages to retain enough of them for long enough to complete its gruesome mission. I consider this to constitute a success.

    • wu wei says:

      Are you on commission with Spiderling? Because you just sold it to me…

    • Tacroy says:

      that being said, there’s a certain beauty in simplicity – I’ve discovered that the first “kill all the troops” mission can be won with a single block – a fire ball placed atop your root block.

      • Napalm Sushi says:

        Somewhat ironically, The Gardener can’t actually win just by parking itself like your fireball siren: so desperate are the knights of Queen Wynnfrith to dive into its blades that they eventually block each other from doing so. One wonders what they agreed to in their vows.

        Yeah, the infantry AI could be just a little more danger-averse than it is right now.

  9. Monggerel says:

    Sweet jumping juniper goddam. I cringed pretty fucking hard when the limbs started flying.

  10. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    By Grabthar, I need this.

    • Rise / Run says:

      By Grabthar’s Spinning Spiked Hammers of Doom, you shall be avenged?

  11. Hunchback says:

    Looks delightful! Hope it manages to get a proper release and all…

  12. jonahcutter says:

    Such a well-crafted, satisfying, medieval destructo-sandbox already. And the little hammer that appears when you assemble something is somehow adorable.

    Thanks for the early-access alpha news RPS! Keep it up!

  13. Christo4 says:

    So kinda like Kerbal Space program, just with war machines and death?
    Hmm… Sounds intriguing, if the maps can be made bigger.

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      It has a puzzle game structure. I would also compare it to Angry Birds. Right now there is only one world with a ~dozen levels.

  14. tasteful says:

    so tired of reading anti early access comments
    take your glass gallon jars of pennies to the coinstar and preorder the physical edition of cane shaking simulator 1915 already

    • Rublore says:

      I agree with this. Perhaps we should tag such comments. Some nice colored tab or “[Anti-Alpha]” on the comment or something distinctive like that would be nice :)

      Or maybe that’s a silly idea.

  15. NonCavemanDan says:

    Skaven Doomwheel Maker the game, you say?

  16. Paradukes says:

    I don’t see why everyone’s so up-in-arms about a game still in alpha. Honestly, this feels more polished than a number of fully released games I’ve played lately. The only thing lacking are additional levels, and if the only thing I want is more, I can’t really complain. Once this thing has an editor and workshop support, there’ll be no shortage.

    I’m generally cautious when it comes to alpha stuff, but for less than a fiver, with the promise of a steam key, this really is worth it. I burned through the levels (literally, in several cases) in the course of a few hours, and found it pleasantly entertaining.

    The thing is, unlike most alphas I’ve played, this is already a game. It’s already fun in its present state, and aside from wanting a few more advanced controls (And controller support, which might let me control my fliers well enough to… well… fly), and obviously more levels to play through, it already feels nearly complete.

    If you were a fan of the old Crush the Castle flash game (And the insufferable Angry Birds series that ripped it off), you’ll like it. Hope that helps anyone sitting on the fence.