Since this is the first post in the series, I’m starting off with a game I’m currently playing called Kingdom Age.
If you can’t tell, the version I’m screenshotting is from Google+ Games. This will become relevant later.
Kingdom Age is a warrior RPG based loosely on D&D rules and is a mix between a hero game and a city-management game. I say it’s based loosely on D&D rules because you initially get to pick a class for your hero (either a Warrior, Mage or Rogue), you level up your abilities based on what skills you want to focus on (Army Attack, Army Defense, Stamina and Hero Strength) and you get to kill very familiar D&D monsters.
In addition, you’re in charge of building and managing a city and army, and attacking or invading other players’ cities.
The player interface has icons on the left that guide you through various quests to perform and sort of nudge you in a semi-successful direction. The quests alone don’t provide you with everything you’ll need to be able to obliterate other players, but they do show you quickly how things operate and try to throw in a little bit of story so at least you’re not running around all wily-nily just hacking stuff.
The problem is that the stories are short-lived blurbs that have no depth so I can’t even remember what the giant rats have done (other than being giant rats) that warrants wiping them out once I actually get to the battle screen.
There’s also not much sport because all your targets have huge green neon arrows hovering over them. So it ends up being a “hack-n-slash of whatever’s highlighted” rather than feeling like an “adventure”. The monsters are labeled, so it wouldn’t be hard to hunt them down even without the “HEY, HE’S OVER HERE! RIGHT HERE!” green arrows. I’ve played hours and hours of Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, etc and this is like someone setting an anesthetized rat down in front of me and handing me a gun.
Attacking other players is a bit more fun, mostly because you can see the approximate size of their army but you don’t know what kind of units they have. So there’s the potential to get into a battle with someone who has 15 Paladins when you’re working with an assortment of Foot Soldiers and Archers.
The problem that comes in is when you decide to get serious and start upgrading so you can get some real muscle. That’s where they get you.
Ahh, the old “ADD ALL YOUR FRIENDS OR YOU CAN’T HAVE THIS ZOMG!” trick. Very early on, you run into quests like “Build an Alchemy” that require you to either ask people to send you junk or pay to get gems in the game in order to purchase your supplies. I have to be REALLY DEEPLY into a game *cough*Lord of Ultima*cough* in order to spend money on it. This tells me right away that there’s only so far I’m going to be able to progress in the game unless I either A) cough up actual money in order to advance or B) manage to find other people playing that are willing to trade me for necessary items in the game.
I LOATHE the Farmville-style tactics that require you to ask people to help you with your games. It annoyed the hell out of me on Facebook and I refuse to contribute to it anywhere else because it really is irritating to have your feed/stream/whatever filled with requests for help on a game you’re not interested in. It clutters up the reason I’m ON a social network. If I want to play a game, I shouldn’t be REQUIRED to recruit people to play with me in order to continue playing and enjoying it.
Because of this, I downloaded Kingdom Age on my iPhone to see if the gameplay was substantially different. The biggest differences I found were;
- Ability to upgrade any building
- Daily “Scratch and Win” that adds a random item to your inventory or arsenal (I just opened it and won a Shredder Ballista, which I haven’t seen anywhere in the G+ game).
- Army size isn’t dependent on the number of farms and cottages you build. Whereas the G+ game requires you to upgrade or build more cottages to increase your army size and farms in order to feed more troops, those buildings are strictly money generators on the iOS app.
- More choices of army units, including siege weapons, beasts, etc.
- Less gold earned/dropped, which is how the game throttles your progress.
- Unable to accurately determine army size of other players when attacking/invading. (Oh, the suspense!)
- Ability to damage/demolish/raid buildings in other players’ cities when invading.
- You can add allies, but you have to have their game code in order to do it. There’s no in-game list to arbitrarily add allies you don’t personally know.
The game is much more enjoyable to play on iOS. There’s also an independent browser-based version that I haven’t tackled yet that I’m planning to try out.
All said and done, I would avoid this one on social networks but it’s worth playing as a mobile app.