Circle Empires In-Depth Review

A short compact light strategy game.

BY DEATHTECH: Circle Empires is a lightweight strategy game, that is singleplayer only where you start off with one circle and a few base units and try to beat the game according to one of three game modes; Kill the target, Conquer the map, defeat the A.I. empires.

So let’s get stuck in!

The Circle Empires In-Depth Review:

The Basic Mechanics:

The Map / Circles

To start off we will go ahead and talk about the basic mechanics.  The map is split up in the titular “Circle” pieces of land. They are connected to each other via landbridges however these are not always present so something you may have to go the long road around to get where you want to be.

Each circle can have a different type, the types I have seen before are:

  • Gold Dessert
  • Forrest
  • Lake (fish + slow)
  • Swamp (poison + slow)
  • Graveyard (Monster base)

And for every cardinal direction, a circle can have a single wall {upgradable}, circles can also have one bank {generates gold over time}.

A circle gets conquered when only your forces remain in the circle. Hostile buildings also have to be destroyed.

The quantity of circles/map size is dependant on what the player chooses when starting a match.
There are 5 map sizes available; XS (4 circles), S (9 circles), M (16 circles), L(25 circles) and XL (49 circles).

There are also 6 difficulties available; easy, normal, hard, extreme, nightmare, and impossible.

The Leaders:

The game also has leaders you can pick and they will provide the player’s empire with specific bonuses. So let’s go over the leaders and their provided bonuses:

Wulfam the warlord: +300 wood at start, +2 watch towers per circle conquered.
Wilberforce the Wizard: +400 gold at start, +1 training dummy per circle conquered.
Barg the Barbarian: +400 food at start, +3 axe thrower units per circle conquered.
Ephius the Economist: +400 food, 4 workers, 1 bank at start, +1 gold pile per circle conquered.
Barandur the Builder: Can recruit golems instead of knights, +1 wall per circle conquered.
Sentia the Spellbound: Worker speed *2, Workers become pumpkins after 12 seconds idle time.
Harold the Hardy: Starts with only 1 worker and minimal resources {unofficial hard mode}
Laura the Lifegiver: +3 healers at start, +1 gold pile per circle conquered.
Xee and Xess the Demon Couple: Can recruit mermaids or summon undead, +1 poison tower per circle conquered.
Morgoth and Daughters: Can recruit goblins and frogs, +1 poison tower per circle conquered.
Swifty the Scavenger Lord: +100% more resources from kills.
Puck the Pumpkin King: +1000 wood at start, can only get pumpkin warriors by default.
Darrius the Druid: Recruit Crawler Queens / Giant Poison Frogs instead of Knights / Dragons +300 wood at the start, +3 trees per circle conquered.
Mindy the Mushroom Mage: +1 Explosive Mushroom, Healing Mushroom, Extra Life Mushroom per circle conquered.
Wyona the Water Queen: Recruits Mermaid healers/spearmen instead of axe throwers and healers, gets extra fish in lakes and swamps, +10 fish, +1 goldfish per circle conquered.
Angie the Adventurer: Can not build or recruit, +100 gold, +2 healers, +1 wizard, +1 knight, +5 archers, +10 guards at start.
Tenebria the Tribal Queen: Can only hire druids and tribal warriors, +12 workers at start.
Demian the Dragon: +400 gold at start, +2 workers per circle conquered.

The Units (Only default)

The units in the game are pretty predictable however more units can be hired from the merc camps or obtained through other means.

Although the game definitely favours the use of ranged units over melee, however, there was recently an update to rebalance some units so it may be a bit better now.

Guard: Basic Melee Unit
Archer: Basic Ranged Unit
Axe Thrower: Ranged Unit deals damage in a line
Knight: Elite Melee Unit with movement speed bonus
Healer: Heals units
Horse Archer: Archer on a horse
Wizard: Ranged unit with splash damage
Apprentice: Ranged unit weaker than wizard but can raise dead
Red Dragon: Ranged unit that sets everything hostile on fire

The Buildings (Only default)

The buildings in Circle Empires are rather very simple and straightforward for their functions.
Keep in mind that elemental towers do less base damage than the basic tower.

Storehouse: Resource dropoff
Wood Wall: Basic wall (upgradeable)
Bank: Generates Gold, levels up over time
Tower: Basic tower
Poison Tower: Tower + poison effect
Frost Tower: Tower + frost effect
Fire Tower: Tower + fire effect
Camp: Lets you hire mercs
Life Control: Lets you buy extra lives for units

The Gameplay

To start off a match will last longer depending on the game type, difficulty and map size.
But in most cases, your games would end up lasting between 15 – 30 minutes longer maybe depending on playstyle.

There are a few quality of life things that sadly just aren’t available in the game and a few recently added.

Originally there was no way to “attack move” which meant you would initiate an attack by sending some units in, usually to their deaths to trigger combat. However the recent updated added attack move.

Ranged units don’t automatically go into combat mode when you ask them to attack a unit in the enemy circle, this gets really annoying with large armies as you have to click them one at a time.
Well, at least until they reach your wall or circle then the auto attack happens as your circle is “under attack”. This behaviour is annoying as valuable time is lost when having to manually select targets.

An area’s respawning resources can annoyingly become mined out causing those workers to be wasted and the circle to become pretty much useless other than a defensive position which you rarely need.

However, on some positive notes. Units can be levelled up and thus be more resilient.
Upgrades can be done repeatedly to give you an edge if you can foot the bill.
No unit caps throughout the games, I’ve personally had armies so large they couldn’t fit in a single circle. This can make for some really epic battles.

On higher difficulties, enemies can respawn, attack each other, attack you and empires will try to conquer other circles. This can make for a really fun experience.

The game also sports fog of war so exploration has to be done cautiously.

To me, the game felt pretty well balanced and fun, however, the game does get very hard on higher difficulties as enemies spawn with loads of forces when you are just starting out.

The Scores

Graphics: 7/10

Music: 10/10

Gameplay: 8.5/10 (34/40)

  • Singleplayer Campaign: CNR (Could not review)
  • Multiplayer: CNR
  • Customisation: 6/10
  • Playability: 8/10
  • Entertainment: 10/10
  • Bug/Issues: 10/10

Final Score: 8.5/10 (25.5/30)

In Conclusion:

Circle Empires is a great way to enjoy yourself if you are at any time wanting to play a quick strategy game without having to dedicate 1 – 2 hours it normally takes to play a match.  The game has a plethora of different ways to play through and with so many possible different maps you could play many games before getting bored.

The music in the game is good too as it really gets you into that Warcraft 3 vibe.

The graphics are pretty nice, sure they aren’t hyper-realistic but that is not what they went for.
They chose to go for nice smooth artsy drawings that look pretty nice and the effort that went into them really shows.

The strategies you can use are pretty similar to other games and equally useful so pretty much any strategy game fan can just pop right in and feel like they have played for years.  The game is very fun to play either way if you enjoy strategy games.

I recommend Circle Empires, it’s only sad there is no multiplayer.  Either way, if you purchase the game it will definitely keep you occupied for a long time.