Tales spread of far off isles with mysteries waiting to be discovered. Rulers will need all the strength of their subjects to sail away and find new kingdoms in these New Lands. Kingdom: New Lands builds upon the award-winning gameplay and mystery of Kingdom by introducing an abundance of new content to the IGF-nominated title while maintaining the simplicity and depth that legions of monarchs have come to experience and enjoy. Travel to the New Lands and welcome the deluge of new mounts, merchants, and vagrants that call these isles home, but be wary of the new obstacles that threaten your arrival — for not just the greedy creatures block your way but even the environment itself can defeat you. Be brave, ruler, and fight to the bitter end, lest these New Lands conquer you instead.
When I started seeing trailers for this game, I absolutely loved the look and the concept that the game was trying to pull off. However, I was a bit dubious about the fact that it was trying to pull it off as a scrolling 2D platformer.
The whole idea behind it was great, you’re a king/queen and you have to build an empire and defend it whatever the cost. Once you lose your crown, you lose the game, game over, finito, the end.
I can hear you all now, but Jon, how do you defend your empire from the evils within? That my friend is simple. You hire traders, builders, and little guys with Arrows to help you maintain your crown.
However, the one problem I had was that if I’m ambushed upon while on my jollys looking for more people or money to help expand my kingdom, I was a little screwed. There is no combat to be done, you just have to run like a pussy and hope for the best…. Although, thinking about it now, can you imagine Queen Elizabeth riding on horse back to help in wars? No dice.
But still, maybe some form of combat would have been good to help with the quest, even if it was crossbow from horse back, it would have been better than a kick in the teeth.
The game is quite a rewarding one, mainly because if you do lose the game, there is a sense of achievement in it, you want to go back and have another go, to see if you can do better than last time. My total so far is 7 days… Yup, my longest reign is 7 days…. Lady Jane Grey in 1553 lasted longer than that at 9 days!! (Little bit of history for you there.)
The pixel art within the game is wonderful to see, there is actually some love and care gone into the game, especially when the developers can make 2D pixel art mist look so damn good. There is also a wonderful fantasy feel to the game, which I felt was a brilliant bonus to help with the overall play with the games.
The passing of seasons within the game as well is brilliant, the game brings new lands, and also with the new lands comes new dynamics. There are loads of things that you will have to think about when it changes over to winter as no crops can grow, so how are you going to feed etc. Brilliant.
There isn’t a tutorial that you go through with the game per se. There are only 2 controls in the game, and that is to press A to spend some coin and use the trigger buttons to make Epona run. (That’s what I named my horse in the game, not that you can name the horse, just thought the horse needed a name…)
You can play this game in so many different ways and this is where it really stands out for me, you have the ultimate choice as the monarch to decide which needs building or upgrading, whether you need more men to build or fight, or more traders to get you more money. It’s all down to you and I think that is another reason why there isn’t a tutorial to go by as this game is very good at making you learn from your mistakes. Which is why you will want to go back and have another go, especially if it was a silly decision, you’ll want to make sure you don’t do that again and survive longer.
Knowing where to spend your coin as well can have a drastic impact on what happens later in the game, not setting something up, or getting enough guards can have devastating consequences later in your game.
However, there is a lot of risk and reward, when spending coin, you just have to keep an eye out to see what effect this has, and whether you think there are better options elsewhere. It can always be the case that what you think the best option is, isn’t really the best option.
I love in this game as well how to musical elements link in to the day/night cycle, you might have electric/synth type music before it suddenly changes into medieval folk type to pure haunting piano solos, it’s so gripping and when you get that haunting piano solo, it sent a shiver up my spine.
The game overall was very impressive and I was impressed with how much there was to learn and discover, you could be playing the game for 5+ hours and still be learning new things, and for a 2D platformer that was fantastic. However, I do think that the game would have benefited more from a command and conquer type top down system rather than the scrolling 2D that was used.
But saying that, the game is very good and has a lot of depth and replay value to it and it’s going to get an 8 from me.