Set forth and conquer the lands in this brilliant strategy title
It is dawn. The ghost of a ruler once before appears and calls out to you, leading you through a forest lit by the rising sun. You follow the spirit on your trusted steed, until you reach a campsite and a couple vagrants. After speaking a few words of wisdom, the ghost disappears, leaving you to build your mighty Kingdom.
Kingdom: New Lands is a sidescrolling strategy game, with Tower Defense and roguelike elements mixed in. The object is to conquer each of the five islands by building your kingdom on each island from scratch. This includes hiring builders, archers and farmers (among others) to slowly fortify your base and raise funds to occupy the land. While the sun is up you need to get business done, for when the moon rises, the Greed come out to attack. Each day the onslaught increases, so building efficiently is key to succeeding.
Every new game has you seizing a new procedurally generated island, with the goal being to repair your broken ship and leave to conquer 4 more. Each island is more difficult than the previous one, but thankfully all of the strategy learned carries over.
Tutorials aren't included throughout the game, by design. A big part of the experience was learning how everything works at my own pace through trial and error. Making one little wrong move can prove to be disastrous for your kingdom and lead to a path of ruin. Learning how to deal with these mistakes shows just how deep the strategic elements really are, rising up from a seemingly shallow and simple game concept that's basically "expand your kingdom". I anxiously started a new game after each hard lesson to put into practice what I had just learned. This sort of gameplay had me completely hooked, holding my attention for hours by its sense of exploration, accompanied with the amazing satisfaction of dominating the land.
The visuals instantly delight with their beautifully designed sprites and impressive lighting effects. The layers upon layers of vibrant forests, landscapes and horizons combined with the soothing soundtrack make for a very engrossing experience. The only hiccup I've had with the game's presentation was the frame rate, which is inconsistent at times. Towards the end of completing an island the frame rate usually drops significantly, but never ruins the experience.
For also being available as a mobile title, it's not really surprising how well it plays on the go. But where I had the most fun was playing it on the TV. Because of this, having other people around to help strategize and delegate is not only possible, but extremely fun. My wife and I had a blast playing through each island, developing strategies on how we should set up our Kingdom in the next play through.
I have immensely enjoyed my time with Kingdom: New Lands. The set up of randomly generated island variations makes every playthrough both exciting and scary, and the feeling of branching out and fortifying your base is very satisfying. This is not a very action-heavy game, but more a dynamic adventure with the highs of triumph and the lows of defeat all wrapped up in a beautiful simulation game. With a great challenge, subtle and organic strategy and a gorgeous presentation, Kingdom: New Lands brings an excellent title to the Switch, one you won't want to miss.