When the great Sir Isaac Newton set to writing his Principia Mathematica in 1685, it's fair to say he had no idea that future generations would take his ideas and create electronic games employing his principles of physics to destroy virtual castles on desktop computers. Yet that's just what they did, and last year, legions of players were able to get their castle destruction fix thanks to a unique projectile tossing game called Sieger. Unlike other titles like Crush the Castle and its ilk, Sieger featured a precise first-person system where players targeted a series of structures that shattered and splintered like so much balsa wood. The game proved to be quite popular, leading Anton Fedoruk of Warspark to answer the demands of players around the world for more with the new Sieger Level Pack.
For those unfamiliar with the original game, the object of Sieger is to destroy all the bad guys by taking out their structures with carefully-placed mouse clicks. Once structures are damaged, gravity, mass, and momentum usually does the rest, much to the esteemed Sir Isaac's satisfaction. You earn points and medals by being careful and efficient with your shots, avoiding fragile hostages and conserving your precious ammo. Beyond the standard game there is a robust level editor, and a community to share and play levels with.
At its core, the Sieger Level Pack includes 40 additional levels that take advantage of a series of new projectiles and materials. While the original Sieger featured a set of 29 castles based on different historical eras, each new castle in the Level Pack is now themed, sometimes giving you a hint to its completion by its name. In addition to Sieger's standard, explosive, and diseased projectiles, a new triple shot brings more pain to your targets. And no longer are these targets made of mere static wood, stone, and steel - now levels include slippery ice blocks, rolling boulders, and explosive boxes and barrels for maximum chain reaction devastation. The castle builders of Sieger have even discovered a strong glue for connecting blocks, and have designed basic engines to create moving contraptions.
On top of the additional gameplay, the Level Pack's editor (called the castle builder) is also enhanced this time around with a cleaner interface and extra functionality. Instead of grouping building materials by era, they are now nicely separated into material types. It's much easier to rotate things, and you can add pin and motor joints to create interesting levels like never before. There's even a nice "settle" option to help clean up your levels, and you can layer items in front or behind each other to make architectural perfection.
Analysis: At first glance, the Level Pack doesn't feel very different from the original Sieger, but that's actually a good thing. The developers have chosen to keep what works and not deviate much from that formula, adding nifty features to an already solid game. The sounds and graphics are pretty much the same, though the backgrounds look a bit more varied and detailed. What I really enjoy is the pack's new chain reaction effects courtesy of the explosive boxes and barrels, which lead to some ridiculous levels of destruction that are quite satisfying. I also like using the new triple shot weapon, which is very effective at taking out moving machinery.
Difficulty-wise, I feel that the levels are akin to the original, offering sufficient challenge without leading to frustration. While there are a few castles that seem to require some amount of trial and error, you probably won't be too upset at having to replay a level since watching the animation and physics play out each time is a bit of a guilty pleasure. You may even surprise yourself at your ingenuity (or sheer luck) at getting an entire solid structure to fall like a house of cards with a single shot.
Overall, the Sieger Level Pack is a nice extension to one of the better casual games out there. Its content and features should appease projectile physics fans until a true sequel emerges. And while you might not find mouse-click destruction as a chapter in Newton's Principia, you can still thank the physicist for his contribution to another fun chapter in casual Flash gaming.