Cyclops Castle is a worthy attempt at creating an attacking siege. Unfortunately a few design flaws keep this map from being top shelf quality. The castle in this map is a bizarre creation that looks and acts like a coiled snake. This is not enough however to overcome some problems with the challenge offered.
Playability 3/5 This is a smooth playing little map which is good because to start out your forces must march clear across the board to attack Cyclops Castle. Such large force movements can sometimes affect the game play. It is not a problem here. With the compass facing north you will notice a fortified outcropping. This structure is the Castle’s Achilles heel. The small force defending this part can be quickly wiped out and using this structure as cover, one can pummel the defenders to smithereens. A cheesy victory can even be obtained as the Keep is in extreme range. Ample funds are provided for engineers to build trebuchets and destroy the many gatehouses, effectively neutralizing the coils of the fortress. Although it must be noted that the AI defends well, the weakness I have just stated puts it at a severe disadvantage. From this point about two waves of ground troops are all that is needed. The first wave is used to clear the numerous and unavoidable kill pits, the second wave to take the keep and end the siege. Engineers with oil and pitch are also in abundance and it is a good idea to clear the archers before the final assault. I was able to beat this map on my first attempt. Playing on hard difficulty I suffered only a 28% troop loss.
Balance 4/5 the attacking and defending units are both very well balanced. The tremendous amount of kill pits, pitch and engineers with oil does offset the advantage given the attackers by the above noted design flaw. However war dogs placed inside the castle walls can be tripped off and used against the attackers. If one has destroyed all the gatehouses and there is access to the Keep, the dogs will attack the knights defending the Lord and greatly weaken them. This is actually more of a design issue rather than a balance one but it does give the attacker yet another unneeded advantage.
Creativity 4/5 I actually like the castle design a lot. It is quite bizarre in its appearance and unfortunately kind of scrunched up in one corner. One part of the fortress is inaccessible but this may be by choice rather than accident. The back again and around itself layout is tricky and some lethal crossfire would have had great effect if it weren’t for that sore thumb of an outcropping that is just such an easy target. The same can be said for the attacker having been forced to assault gatehouses. Had that weakness not been there this would have made a formidable obstacle. Overall this is quite a good effort at designing something a little different.
Map Design 3/5 Better than average some decent effort has been applied to the terrain modeling. The map just feels a bit rough with some very stark and unrealistic elevations. Some more of category three of this review should have been invested.
Story/Instructions 3/5 Download description page has a few notes on how the map should be played. The launch page has single paragraph story. To achieve a higher score in this department a lot more effort and thought is going to have to be applied.
In Short-a very good effort here. With a little more care and thought this author could turn out some great maps. As it is Cyclops Castle is a decent siege and perfectly suitable for one in the mood for something fun and easy.