Review: Kingdom: New Lands
My oh my! Raw Fury Games’s Kingdom really came a long way, doesn’t it? Started as a simple project by Thomas van den Berg and Marco Bancale, Kingdom was recently nominated for the Excellence in Design award during the 2016 Independent Games Festival, and after a successful launch on PC, the developers announced that an Xbox One version was in the making, including a lot of updates that will be free to all original buyers.
Replacing even the base game, now simply named Kingdom: New Lands, this updated version will add new mounts, vendors or beggars while refining the gameplay and fixing a lot of the issues that plagued the first launch, based mostly on the demands of the community, as well as new enemies and challenge that our monarch will need to overcome.
For those of you that don’t know the game, Kingdom is a strategy-survival game, which requires you to manage your ressource to rebuild your kingdom from a makeshift camp. To achieve this, player must allocate tasks to its subjects, and extend its domination to the left and right side of the map (it’s a side-scrolling game). But every night creatures will endanger this perilous enterprise.
You start the game by assuming the control of a king (or queen), and will have to survive as much as possible, as almost every night, hordes of demons come to try to steal what you have in terms of money and steal tools from your people. The world is painted with an 8bit retro brush, which will appeal to most indie game fans, especially if you played The Deer God from Crescent Moon Games. The reflections in the water, the movement of the trees, everything is really well done and full in details even with these minimalist graphics.
Kingdom: New Lands is divided into two distinct “areas”: your land (which consist of a plain) and the forest. In the first, you can fortify your kingdom with walls, towers and build farms to produce gold (the main and only ressource in the game). You can improve your “buildings” repeatedly for the ultimate protection and thus rely on the gold that are produced by your farms. In the Forest, this is where you will find poor commoners that you will fight for your cause for the modest sum of a symbolic gold coin. This is also where you can hunt animals (deers and bunnies) for coins, but also a way to expand your land and defenses, by cutting down these trees. With Kingdom: New Lands, the addition of a weather and season cycle clearly changed the meta, by forcing to rely on farmers during winter for example, since there will be less animals to hunt in the cold.
As mentioned above, gold is the only resource in this game, which can be collected from your subject that work for you in the fields or hunt, which in Kingdom: New Lands, are the only two ways to earn gold. All this fortune will allow you to hire more men and improve your buildings and your main base, but it is also useful to build equipment for your people which will act as a role assignment. Pay coins to build hammers, bows or scythes and you’ll respectively get your builders, archers and peasants. As you progress, you’ll understand that archers will represent the biggest part of your population, because they defend your walls at night and hunt for animals during the day.
Once the sun has set and nightfall comes, your royal minions hide behind your walls, because they know what awaits them. After dark, waves of enemies charge at your defenses to claim your wealth and crown. To get rid of these monsters, you will rely on your archers, which will face bigger monsters, and worse, every couple of days (happened to me on the 25th) the blood moons will energize some monsters that will be able to rapidly jump over your walls. But the gods have not abandoned you, and as you expand your kingdom, you’ll soon discover statues that improve your archers and builder for a while but the only true way to have peace, and preserve your wealth is to attack the portals where these monsters emerge from. For this, you need to hire knights and send them to destroy the gates, but it is not easily done as most portals are quite far from your defensive walls, thus you need to prepare and expand for your knights to have a chance to destroy the portal before nightfall.
Once you learn how to manage your kingdom and hold your fort with an iron hand, the game may no longer really be of interest to you, but thankfully in comparison to the original release, there’s a rich end game expansion but it’s still the same recipe nevertheless. Although little things help diversity the game such as the ability to travel to new lands by building a boat, the possibilities are still really thin, so when you finish the game once or twice, you don’t have that much left to bite unless you are a hardcore completionist.
Kingdom: New Lands was reviewed using an Xbox One downloadable code provided by the Raw Fury Games.This game is also available on PC, MAC and Linux. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published
• Simple yet rich gameplay
• Love the retro art
• Highly addictive
• Greatly priced
• Short lifespan
• Not for everyone
• Not a fan of the music