“Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more.”
“The following is a contributor post by The Midnight Mystic Mage.”
I have had some time since the beginning of the holidays to play both Kingdom: Classic and Kingdom: New Lands. Right at 4 hours in Classic and 21 hours in New Lands, I really didn’t know what to expect from them because I got them in a bundle on Steam a while back. I have gotta say this game has got me hooked. It is available for Mobile, Mac OS, Windows, Linux, Xbox, and Switch. It is honestly one of those games that I just want to own on multiple platforms now, mainly the portable ones such as Switch and Mobile. I have been playing it on my MacBook Air and it is a really great passive game to be playing while you binge out on a show or anything along those lines.
I really enjoyed both versions but Kingdom: New Lands is absolutely the definitive edition. If interested in these games there’s is no need to buy Kingdom: Classic, just skip right ahead to New Lands. The developers saw it as the best way to add all of the extra content to the base game rather than via an update. They added a whole new endgame as well as the ship which allow some you to travel to “New Lands” so it’s not just a clever name. There is a ton of things that were added and it basically is just a beefed up version of Kingdom that is less repetitive and with more to do.
Kingdom is simplicity at its finest in all aspects. The visuals are completely pixelated and 2D much like that of The Last Door series if you have ever played any of them. It is not the most stunning pixel graphics that you are going to find but definitely not the worst either. You only use three keys the entire game: left, right, and down. You play as the King or Queen who are randomly generated each time you start a new reign. You move from left to right on horseback and drop coins to the people who will become your builders, archers, farmers, and knights. You also drop coins to build your kingdom’s structures, such as archer towers, walls, and the castle itself which starts out as some tents with wooden outer walls.
The objective is to build your kingdom as large as possible while staving off the monsters that attack at night. You have your Archers, Builders, Farmers, and eventually Knights. I recently found my first dog as well who’s job it is to warn you of the oncoming monsters by barking from whichever side they are coming from. Other than that it just follows the King or Queen around and is just a generally good boy. Mine was snatched up by the baddies but I refuse to believe they were able to turn him into a bad boy, impossible!
Early in the game you are not rolling in the dough like you will be if you get everything flowing well later, but there are small treasure chests in different places about the island that you can find. On top of that there is a Merchant that comes every morning to trade you 8 or so coins for a chest in return. Another source of income for your kingdom comes by way of your archers hunting, this is one that is also vital to take advantage of early on. The largest source of income once you continue to grow your kingdom is your Farmers. Give them plenty of well protected farmland and watch the coins flow in like “You’re a Nazi” comments on a Pewdiepie YouTube video.
One thing that I wish I had known earlier on was that once you get your kingdom into the state of a castle there is a little long-haired fellow who begins prancing around the inner court of your kingdom. It turns out that this guy is a banker which comes in handy. You see you can only hold a certain amount of coins so once you reach your capacity they start falling out of your sack and into oblivion never to be seen again. I was solving this by running past all of my Archers and Farmers to minimize my coin loss, but now I feel very silly for ever doing that at all. Simply walk up to the banker and drop as many coins at him as you would like him to save in your vault. After that, watch those coins pile up like the list of Hollywood’s sexual offenders!
As you progress you will notice a broken ship along the side of the land, usually pretty close to your main kingdom area. You keep pumping that thing full of coins and you will be on your way to New Lands in no time. It requires a couple of builders and a handful of your archers will hop on it as well to come along with you. This is much easier the first time than it is as the difficulty continues to grow. The bad guys will take out your Builders and Archers and make it very difficult for you to move the ship forward to the pier where you can take off from.
Your kingdom will have new features basically every time you upgrade it from the center near the fire. One that comes in handy during raids is the catapults, you can have one on either side of the kingdom and it is best to have two Builders per catapult so that it can be properly moved and operated. There are also Archer towers and I have even seen pictures of structures that I have not even had the pleasure of coming across yet, so there really is a lot to see in this game and I doubt I will be able to get out of its grasp anytime soon, it is so fun to grow your castle and learn more and more to help you do better the next time you start one up.
That is about the high and low of Kingdom: New Lands a highly addictive and enjoyable game in my book. Just be sure to keep getting stronger and building your defenses, because the enemies continue to get bigger and stronger right along with you.
The 8-Bit Review
Some of the scenes are actually very beautiful, when the day changes to night or when you first see the snow begin to fall and gather on the ground. I am a fan of pixelated graphics and believe they did well in achieving a simplistic yet refined visual system for this game. It isn’t going to blow you out of the water and for people who don’t like the pixel graphics style, they may not like it at all. For me though I think it went very well with the simple gameplay and unique style of Kingdom: New Lands.
I have referenced many times throughout this review the simplicity of this game, I would like to now mention how strategic you really do have to be to accomplish anything. Remember when you lose your crown it is game over and you have to completely restart your kingdom. There are some things that remain such as new shrines and islands that you find along the way, but in order to find those things in the first place you have to learn the hard way how to build up and expand.
I have mentioned in previous reviews how I really love a game that doesn’t treat you like an idiot and allows you to figure things out for yourself as long as they are intuitive and make sense within the game. Kingdom nails this in both versions, they show you to the campfire with a few coins scattered about, give you two Beggars to turn into a Builder and Archer, and then they let you have at it.
The strategy can be pretty challenging especially when you get further along into your kingdom. It can be hard to keep track of how many Archers you need to have to sufficiently protect your outer walls, also if you have too many stuck onto stationary posts then you may not have enough free to go to the outer walls to defend them which can allow the monsters to come in and destroy your farmland and ruin your entire economy in one night’s time. You have to stay vigilant and learn from your mistakes if you are going to keep moving on and discovering more and more in this simple yet complex game.
It is super easy to catch on to, and you need little to no instruction in order to hop right in and get started. Both Kingdom games are about as accessible as it gets, while at the same time not being overly simplistic or redundant. They are easy to pick up, but difficult to master. This is most certainly one of the areas that Kingdom shines and I think it is a game that most could enjoy when trying to pass a little time.
Family Friendliness: 9/10
There is nothing that I would be uncomfortable letting my children play in this game if they were old enough to understand how. I feel like some of the night time scenes could be a bit frightening but no more than in Minecraft or Terraria. I would gladly recommend this game as fun for the whole family, and a great tool to learn how to think strategically and use resources to accomplish goals.
This is another one of the strongest categories for this game, because it is intended to be played over and over again. You learn from your past failures and use that to build your knowledge and your kingdom bigger and bigger each time. There is almost always something new to learn and a different technique to discover with each playthrough. You also uncover things such as new shrines that allow you to trade coins to strengthen your different classes for a night at a time. You may not be able to defeat the larger monsters that come, but once you have the shrine for your archers and you are able to keep it lit up, you may find that it is easier to take on the larger foes. There are plenty of things like this that you uncover the more you play and I am sure there are plenty more that I haven’t even come close to uncovering yet.
Kingdom executes the base-building/tower defense genres in a unique way but it is not the most ground breaking or genre-defining game around. I do really like the left to right side scrolling style of it and have never played a game quite like it in many ways. I feel like this isn’t what makes the game great though as much as just taking an established genre and really doing it well and making it incredibly fun and addictive.
Kingdom is the perfect mixture of being easy to pick up but difficult to master. Anybody can hop on and at least have some sort of idea of how to play and get things going, but it takes time and dedication to get better and learn how to be well prepared for the treacherous night time that starts off easy but quickly takes you by storm if you are ill-prepared. You may think it is going to be a piece of cake when you first get started, but with the larger enemies and larger numbers of them, it quickly becomes much more difficult and many times can prove to be too much to handle.
My Personal Grade: 8/10
Moving on with my gaming this will definitely be one of those games that remains a constant which I come back to over and over again. Hopefully I will get some Let’s Plays up for it on my YouTube channel soon, I would like to have had some ready for the review but I just have not had much time on my desktop lately. So if that interests you be sure to subscribe and look out for those in the future! Thanks so much for checking out my review and I hope that you go and check this game out for yourself. I really think it is a highly underappreciated and enjoyable game.
Aggregated Score: 8.3
The Midnight Mystic Mage is the resident writer of sublimereviews.wordpress.com, a reviewer of games, books, and film, and a fan of all things horror and spooky. Follow the link… if you dare!
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Categories: Game Review