A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Promotes strategic thinking, but story glorifies life of a barbarian, glamorizing bloody battles, drinking, sex. Suggests only the strongest should prevail, can take what they want.
Positive Role Models
Primary characters -- a father and his son -- are obsessed with fighting, drinking, women. They do not talk about, want a peaceful existence. Their primary goal is, as title suggests, to crush all their enemies.
Ease of Play
Few RTS games are easier to understand, start playing; initial battles pretty easy. But there's a spike in difficulty around halfway point that could frustrate some players.
Violence & Scariness
Players send hordes of little pixelated warriors to do battle with enemies using axes, swords, bows. Defeated enemies fly from one tile to next, often cut in half, spewing blood. They lie in a pool of red for a few moments, then disappear.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of sexual innuendo in text, with characters talking about sex they have had, would like to have while using phrases like "blow me." A female character is presented with comically large breasts, deep cleavage.
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Frequent occurrences of nontraditional profanity, including words such as "gobshite," "feck," and "guttersnipe," plus more familiar language including "pissed," "bollocks."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters often talk about getting extremely drunk in taverns. In-game economy is based on frothing beer mugs, generated by breweries after battles. Some alcoholic concoctions can be used to enhance warriors' abilities, making them fight better.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Crush Your Enemies is a downloadable real-time strategy game for the Nintendo Switch and Windows PCs with a retro visual design. It's meant to be accessible and quick, but that doesn't mean it's any less violent than other games of its type. Hordes of tiny, pixelated warriors wielding axes, swords, and bows crowd into small tiles and attack each other, sending defeated combatants -- often cut in two and spewing blood -- sprawling and lying in pools of red liquid as they die. The main characters are barbarians who revel in fighting, drinking, profanity, and sex talk. Dialogue is loaded with colorful language both familiar and creative, from "bollocks" to "gobshite," and characters frequently speak in crude terms about having sex and getting "pissed." The game's economy is based on earning beer, and players can give their warriors special alcoholic concoctions to improve their performance. The dominant message is that barbarians are beholden to none and the strongest are entitled to take what they want.
Is It Any Good?
It's pretty safe to say no one has ever played an RTS quite like this one -- and not just because of its deeply juvenile sense of humor (which, with enemy names such as "Pissy LaPoop," is pretty hit-and-miss). Few -- if any -- other RTS games let players sit down, start accomplishing stuff, and having fun with minimal instruction in only a couple of minutes. In this sense, it has more in common with a mobile game such as Angry Birds than it does something like Command & Conquer. More impressive is the fact that the controls are very simple -- for example, the Nintendo Switch version can be played with one Joycon. It's surprisingly responsive since you don't need to make rapid motions with the controller, meaning that you're free to focus on defeating your enemies instead of getting lost in complex controls. There's a risk early on that this simplicity will negate any sort of satisfying strategy, but as the game moves on, players are forced to work out key strategies, such as carving the most efficient paths through enemy territory and flanking foes with warriors while archers keep them pinned down. Tactical thought is required.
But it does feel at times as though we're forced into a specific set of tactics -- especially if you want to accomplish all the bonus objectives. The small maps, limited unit types, and specific success criteria -- such as time limits -- often conspire to limit our options. You'll need to work out what the game's designers want you to do rather than come up with your own original strategies. Still, there's hardly time to grow troubled by this when most missions last only a few short minutes. It's easy to just keep clicking for the next mission until the wee hours of the morning. It may not be perfect, but Crush Your Enemies forges interesting new ground within a tired genre.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.