Kingdom is, in short, incredible. The design is so smart. So smart. The interactions on the player’s end are kept to a minimum, but the effect that they can have on this small, but beautiful pixel world is vast. You’re always sitting on a horse and will journey at the start to a small campfire in the center. This will become your base. This becomes your fortress, your kingdom.
Apart from moving to left and right, the only other interaction the player has is dropping coins. Drop a coin in front of a beggar, and they’ll become a loyal servant. Wealth buys you everything in Kingdom, but you’ll soon run out, unless you make effective use of the people who look up to you. Each person you recruit can become a farmer or an archer; having both is vital to survive.
What happens? When the Sun dips and the moon rises to bring nightfall, green men, I guess zombies or something as evil, will come to invade your kingdom. Their ultimate goal is to use their numbers to brawl their way through the arrows that hurtle towards them and bash down the barricades you’ve had built to slow them down. They want your crown, and if they get it, you’ll see Game Over, but if they can’t reach it, they’ll settle with stealing your crops, killing your soldiers and farmers or smashing up your defenses.
Survive as long as you can. That’s the mission.
“As the hue turns from grey to orange, and then a pale shade of yellow with the dawn, you can have a special moment just admiring the scenery as your horse feeds.”
With each day, more peasants will stroll around, and you’d be wise to employ their services to help speed up the building of walls and seeing them turn from wooden stakes to high, solid barricades. The archers don’t just sit there and operate at night, either.
During the day, they’ll wander around and hunt rabbits, each dead one earning you another coin so you can build and recruit more. Similarly, when the farmers aren’t building, they tend to the crops, and when harvested, they bring a bunch of coins for you.
One of my favorite small details in Kingdom is that you need to feed your horse grass every now and then; otherwise, it grows too tired and slows right down. As the hue turns from grey to orange, and then a pale shade of yellow with the dawn, you can have a special moment just admiring the scenery as your horse feeds. You may see one of your farmers bolstering your expanding kingdom or an archer hunting after rabbits in the morning sun. It’s a truly luxurious game.
You’ll die at some point. It’s bound to happen. Your constant efforts to delay the inevitable may seem futile, but it’s worth playing over and over again just to walk alongside the river and admire your shimmering reflection. Try new tactics, such as not expanding your kingdom out as far and upgrading your inner kingdom with tougher defenses. Put coins into the campfire, and eventually, you’ll get a watch tower. Try to keep your men alive, and they’ll try to keep you alive.
I think it’s quite obvious that I’ll be playing Kingdom for some time yet. I can’t get enough of it.