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The guy behind 'Threes' wants to 'fix' real-time strategy games

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'RTSes are miserable pain engines.'

Early this year, designer Asher Vollmer released one of 2014's best games with Threes, a title that boiled mobile puzzle games down to their very basics. It was simple, but wonderfully addictive, and it spawned a legion of copycat games. Now he's trying to do something similar with a much more complex genre: the real-time strategy game.

Vollmer's next game, Close Castles, is a collaboration with artist Dominique "Dom2D" Ferland: a game that aims to be a more accessible alternative to complex experiences like Starcraft. He describes these games as "miserable pain engines designed to give players the worst possible experience," adding that "I intend to fix all that with my new game." Close Castles will differ in a number of ways: matches will be short, at around three minutes each, for one thing, and because the game was built with a controller in mind instead of a mouse and keyboard, the experience has been streamlined quite a bit. It also looks adorable.

Close Castles

"This game is all about destroying buildings."

"The game is built for local multiplayer, so there's no hidden information," Vollmer explains in a post on the PlayStation blog. "This means that the game feels a lot more like a fighting game at higher levels. It becomes about reading your opponent and turning the tiny cracks in their strategy into a crumbling pile of failure / rubble. This game is all about destroying buildings, so there's a lot of rubble in it."

We'll have to wait until next year to see just how successful the game is at achieving this lofty goal. Vollmer says that Close Castles will be coming to "consoles," including the PlayStation 4, sometime in 2015.