Kingdom (video game)
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, PlayStation 4|
|Release||Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux|
Kingdom is a kingdom-building simulation game developed by Thomas van den Berg and Marco Bancale with support from publisher Raw Fury. The title was released on 21 October 2015 for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux systems. A port for Xbox One was released on 8 August 2016, the ports for iOS and Android were released on 31 January 2017, and the ports for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 were released on 14 September 2017 and 16 January 2018 simultaneously. A reworked version of the game, titled Kingdom: New Lands, was released in August 2016, and a sequel, Kingdom: Two Crowns, was released in 2018.
The game is played out on a pixel art-based two-dimensional landscape; the player controls a king or queen that rides back and forth, collecting coins and using those coins to spend on various resources, such as hiring soldiers and weaponsmiths, building defenses against creatures that can attack and steal the king or queen's crown which will end the game, and otherwise expanding their kingdom. The player has otherwise little direct control of the game, and thus must use the coins they collect in judicious ways.
Kingdom received generally positive reviews appreciating the game's art and music, and its approach that required the players to figure out what to do based on these elements, but felt that the tedious nature of some tasks in the game affected its end-game and replayability.
Kingdom is presented to the player in a pixel art, two-dimensional screen, with the goal to build up and create a kingdom while surviving various foes that will attempt to capture the player-character's crown, effectively ending their rule. The player starts the game with a randomly generated king or queen on horseback. The player can move the character on horse to the left or right, including at a gallop, but has no other direct action. As the character passes landmarks, these will produce a few coins, from which the player can pick up by riding over them, and spend on various resources, which will be marked with open coin slots when the character passes near them; to purchase an upgrade, the player must be able to provide all the required coins at that time.
Initially, such resources will include hiring wandering travelers to become part of the kingdom and creating smiths to craft weapons and tools. As the player gathers more resources, new options to spend coins will open up. For example, once the player has a citizen of the kingdom with a tool, they can build defensive walls. Many such resources include upgrades that can be purchased with coins. To get more coins, the player roams their kingdom; additional landmarks will grant more coins, while servants in the kingdom can also generate coins.
While exploration of the kingdom can lead to finding more coins and potential resources, the areas away from the main kingdom center can become more dangerous for both the player-character and any followers; further, the game has a day-and-night cycle in which more harmful creatures can roam the kingdom at night, with subsequent nights becoming more and more dangerous. Other nights may have blood moons, which will cause much larger hordes of creatures to appear. These creatures will work to destroy existing resources that the player has created, steal gold from the player-character, and if the player-character has no gold, steal their crown, which represents failure in the game from which the player will need to restart the game. The player is encouraged to manage the construction of defenses and guards to manage those defenses against the need to expand and improve the kingdom. There is an ultimate goal to achieve victory, though the player must come to determine that for themselves.
Kingdom was developed by the two-man team of Thomas van den Berg and Marco Bancale, who go by the aliases noio and Licorice, respectively. The game is an expanded, standalone version of a Flash game by noio. The development of the game was supported by Raw Fury, a Sweden-based publisher launched by former members of Paradox Interactive and EA DICE. In May 2019, Raw Fury acquired the rights to the series from van de Berg, allowing the publisher to continue development.
In mid-2016, Raw Fury announced Kingdom: New Lands, an expansion to the original game. New content will be added to the game that will address some of the repetitive aspects critics found on the game's original release, such as adding new lands to be explored and a seasonal climate system that affects gameplay. The expansion released on 9 August 2016, with owners of the original game able to update for free.
Within one day of its Windows, OS X, and Linux release, Raw Fury announced that it had sold enough copies to pay for the game's development. As a result, they affirmed that they will be releasing the title for the Xbox One, and that all future improvements and expansions to the game will remain free to players on the forementioned platforms. The team also later announced plans for a port to the Nintendo Switch. Mobile versions of the game, including the "New Lands" additions, for iOS and NVIDIA Shield devices were released circa March 2017.
Kingdom has received generally favorable reviews. Dan Stapleton of IGN gave the title a 7.7 out of 10, and felt the lack of instruction combined with the tension of the various random attacks created a great experience for the game. Robert Purchase of Eurogamer gave the game a "Recommended" rating, believing the game achieved the right balance between being fair to the player while the player learns the mechanics of the game. James Davenport of PC Gamer, giving the game a 70 out of 100, was more critical of the lack of instruction, noting that a half-hour's worth of gameplay investment could be wiped away due to the player not being aware of how certain mechanics work, and that the game would be one to test a player's patience. Reviewers praised the game's retro pixel art look and its chiptune soundtrack, which created the appropriate atmosphere for the title and provided appropriate visual and audible clues as events in the game for the player to pick up on.
Reviewers commented that once the player understood the mechanics, the end-game and subsequent replays could become tedious. Stapleton found that the lack of information or means to manage the kingdom at the end-game made the end game more frustrating than difficult, and that once he had found a strategy to deal with the attacks, the game became too easy to play. Davenport commented that while the late game can be exciting on subsequent playthroughs, the early game of setting up the initial kingdom can become monotonous.
The Kingdom games have sold over 4 million copies by May 2019.
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- Kerr, Chris (31 May 2019). "Indie publisher Raw Fury has acquired the rights to the Kingdom franchise". Gamasutra. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
- Perez, Daniel (5 August 2016). "Here's over 30 minutes of exclusive Kingdom: New Lands gameplay". Shacknews. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
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- Purchase, Robert (20 January 2017). "Recommended strategy game Kingdom coming soon to iOS/Android". Eurogamer. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
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- "Kingdom: New Lands for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
- "Kingdom: New Lands for Switch Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
- Stapleton, Dan (21 October 2015). "Kingdom Review". IGN. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
- Purchase, Robert (21 October 2015). "Kingdom Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
- Davenport, James (29 October 2015). "Kingdom Review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
- Nunneley, Stephany (6 January 2016). "Her Story, Undertale, Darkest Dungeon receive multiple 2016 IGF Award nominations". VG247. Retrieved 6 January 2016.