Gamer on a Budget #12 – Kingdom: New Lands
Reviewed by William LJ Galaini
Kingdom: New Lands
Developer: Noio and Licorice
Price: $9.99 on devices – $14.99 elsewhere
Where: Mac Store, Google Play, Steam, GoG, Nintendo Store, Epic Store, Play Station Store
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux, Android, Switch, Xbox, Play Station, ios
Kingdom: New Lands is a charming, engaging, relaxing game perfect for a metro ride home or a long flight. The zen-like nature of growing your tiny settlement into a caste-walled Kingdom complete with farms, a banker, and defense turrets is curative for the workday’s stress.
Rough day homeschooling? Ride as a queen on the back of a bear to collect taxes from your subjects. Got an unfair work review? Bolster your defense towers with catapults to protect your farmers.
Unlike anything I’ve played before, Kingdom is a purely second-dimensional management simulator. Forgoing the typical isometric viewpoint, Kingdom instead keeps your avatar, be they king or queen, front and center at all times. The only vulnerability is that you must keep your crown on your head. If you lose that, the game is over and you start with a new monarch, guided by the ghost of the previous one.
But wait, how do you lose a crown in a lovely zen-kingdom game? At night, your archers abandon their hunting routes and run to their posts. Catapults and ballista take aim as soon as the sun hits the horizon because from either flank of your Kingdom you will be attacked. They come in waves, and your work during the day comes into play in defense of your kingdom from hordes of little greed monsters. They will steal your coins, tools, and smash your walls leaving your lands destitute.
The production value of the game is top-notch. There are tons of hidden features, mounts, and mechanics to uncover simply through experimentation. Kingdoms also expects you to fail on occasion, so there are rouge-like flourishes with randomized isles, shrines, monarchs, and as you can see, my monarch’s family crest is indeed a squirrel. DO NOT DOUBT THE SQUIRREL HOUSE.
In short, I adore my time with this game. It is best played on a phone or mobile device given that the controls were designed for touch, but it can be played on a full computer or massive screen if you wish. It is perfect for any age and no matter how much you think you’ve mastered it, there is always a more challenging isle to settle and a new feature to uncover.
Why you would buy it:
Fantastic sound and music
You want a unique rouge-like
Why you would pass on it:
Indirect control irks you
Not enough micromanagement
Minimal tutorial means you have to discover the game’s features
Anyone who day-dreams themselves as a monarch