Infinitely replayable and just the right side of predictable, Kingdom: New Lands takes strategy 2D with this pixel art medieval adventure.
When it comes to just a scant half-hour of game time or the chance to sit down for some de-stressing, unpressured gameplay, Kingdom: New Lands is precisely the right side of difficult; presenting enough challenge to keep me playing time and time again while remaining comfortingly ever-enjoyable and straightforward.
Kingdom: New Lands is one of those titles that crept out of the woodwork, rather than emerging in a fanfare, after the moderate success of its original title, now re-released under Kingdom: Classic; another game I found myself returning to time and time again, with 200-plus hours spent on just the first hour or so of the full game itself.
As with its previous entry, Kingdom: New Lands, from developer Noio, is deceptively simple in design. As king or queen of a brand new kingdom, you must gather funds, direct troops and recruit locals to your cause, all the while expanding your lands and upgrading your castle to newer and better things.
So far, so 2000s world-building strategy game. But where the difference comes in is with Kingdom: New Lands’ rather more intriguing combat system, in which you fight against various terrible and demon-like creatures emerging from mysterious portals that seem intent on stealing your riches and crown.
The majority of gameplay is spent gearing yourself up for these bi-nightly battles, with a large ‘blood moon’ event on occasion that, if you’re not ready for, may result in a decimated camp and restarted play through – especially for less experienced players.
To combat these enemies, you must build stronger walls, recruit more archers or artisans to allow for further protection, and earn more money through the game’s farming mechanics, as well as a deeper exploration into the forests to either side of your kingdom.
Though all of these mechanics were introduced, rather neatly, in the original Kingdom, the second title in the series builds on its predecessor by adding random events, additional challenges and the ability to expand your kingdom by creating a boat and continuing to colonise further, increasingly deadly islands.
While Kingdom: New Lands could be considered your typical indie pixel art fare, a lot of care and consideration has been put into the game style, with pixel art alongside a soundtrack that’s more stylised than used in replacement of better graphics capabilities, and making it a dream to play even on lower end machines.
Overall, Kingdom: New Lands is a solid title, and more than worth the small cost of £10.99, which can often be far lower in Steam’s many ongoing sales. If you’re unsure if the game is right for you, it’s still a favourite short-stream fare for many YouTubers and Twitch streamers, and plenty of gameplay is out there to review.
With Kingdom Two Crowns just on the horizon as an evolution of the series, with an expected launch of December 11th 2018, there’s never been a better time to get stuck into this series.