Game Review #383: Kingdom Two Crowns (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Chad M.
Developer: Noio, Coatsink
Publisher: Raw Fury
Category: RPG, Strategy, Simulation
Release Date: 12.10.2018
Price (at time of review): $19.99
Buy Kingdom Two Crowns from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Build A New Kingdom, Same Ole Feels
If you’re a fan of strategy and simulation games, then there is a good chance you’ve played the game Kingdom: New Lands. I first saw it on iOS, and it was called simply Kingdom, but the game was reworked and rereleased with the new title Kingdom: New Lands, where it came to consoles, including Nintendo Switch. The Switch is where I played it after briefly trying it on the iPhone. The game played really well on the Switch, and it was a solid experience that I enjoyed.
The Berlin-based developer, Noio, along with some help from British developer Coatsink, has created a sequel to the strategy game based on greed, called Kingdom Two Crowns. Publisher Raw Fury brought us the original, and has again brought us this sequel, which adds to their respectable and growing catalogue. So, it’s time to jump in and see how the sequel stacks up to the original. Does it stand on its own, or is it doomed to stand in the shadow of its successful predecessor?
Heavy Is The Head That Wears The Crown
You are the monarch who rides into the dark and dreary land as the dawn of a new day sets upon you. A ghost greets you and beckons you to follow it, and as you take on this task, you arrive at an abandoned campfire site. Here is where you make your stand. Here is where you hike your Kingdom.
The game is played out on a 2-D side-scrolling pixel-based landscape where the player controls a king or queen that rides back and forth, collecting coins and using those coins to spend on various resources such as hiring soldiers and weaponsmiths, building defenses against creatures that can attack in waves and steal the king or queen's crown—which will end the game—and otherwise expanding their kingdom. The player has otherwise little direct control of the game, and thus, must use the coins they collect in judicious ways. With only three buttons to use, the controls are very simple, and being able to control with just one hand made it fairly easy. I found that, while moving back and forth, everything was responsive, and the controls were fluid as I set to task.
The goal remains the same: build, expand, and defend; but Kingdom Two Crowns has ditched the roguelike elements of its predecessor for a more cohesive experience that won’t turn off gamers, and will hopefully be able to attract new blood to the series. The dread that would set in when you would be even close to losing in the first game is gone, because if your crown is lost, an ancestral newcomer will arise. Yes, the crown is gone, but not all is lost; and the kingdom will remain with the buildings intact. You just pick up where your predecessor left off.
It’s Feudal.. But We Must Build Now
The best part about playing a game like Kingdom Two Crowns is experiencing everything from scratch without being told, as the game, surprisingly, does well to guide you without hand-holding on what to do. This was a left turn, as the first game felt brutally vacant on direction, but also having played the first didn’t hurt. Before conquering any lands or really doing much at all, you and your people can travel to any of the five islands, which allows you to venture out and try to discover items that can be brought back to previous islands to help you further in your pursuit.
A second currency, in the form of gems, has been introduced in the sequel to add another element of balance. Gems are more rare than gold, and harder to obtain, but for good reason, as they’re used to buff your troops by erecting statues, calling upon hermits that can upgrade certain buildings, and also allowing you to gain access to mystical mounts to ride throughout your kingdom. Each island you visit will unveil a new mount that you can purchase for a certain number of gems.
Riding new mystical mounts that aren’t horses is truly amazing, and a welcome addition to this series. In addition to the mystical creatures, you will see new kingdoms on startup, you can choose Celtic like old medieval English kingdom, or a feudal Japan kingdom—and let’s be honest, being able to call upon ninjas is pretty epic!
It’s Dangerous to Go Alone, Take Another Crown
The new addition of co-op wouldn’t usually justify me writing a separate piece on it, but I feel this is such a game-changer that a spotlight needs to be shined on it. As the game is now called TWO CROWNS, you will split the task of building the kingdom, and have it doubled by allowing a friend to help you. They have all the same controls and abilities that you do and can be working on one side of the kingdom while you’re on the other side on a completely different objective.
The horizontal split screen works brilliantly, and allows you both to focus on separate objectives, so you’re ready for greed’s creatures when they arrive. Having every single capability doubled makes this a huge reinforcement to your lands while building your kingdom. Online multiplayer has been something the developers and Raw Fury have mentioned will come in the future, but at the time of this review, they’re still working on stability issues, but nothing game-breaking. This is a shame, because the game ran great for me, and I’d really like to see this be made a priority, as the game in this format is so much fun! I played with my wife and a friend, but most of my gamer friends live states away, so having the online co-op would be a game-changer.
Audio & Visuals
The soundtrack is as beautiful as the first game’s was, with soft orchestral music that drums in harder when the stakes increase. The sound effects and environmental sounds are done very well, from the arrows ripping off the bow and cutting through the wind, to the hammers slamming into the wood or steel while building.
The visuals are another big win for the developers, as the game is gorgeous with its beautiful pixel art. The game can be colorful and vibrant, but then, in an instant, can be dark and cold as the snow comes creeping in.
It’s A Wrap!
If you played Kingdom or Kingdom: New Lands and even slightly enjoyed your time with either, I’d recommend Kingdom: Two Crowns, as it’ll pull you right in with the tweaks that have been made. The addition of co-op was much needed, and adds so much enjoyment, and online multiplayer would be huge for the game. The lack of menus and hand-holding is a plus, but the difficulty can be brutal at times. If this sounds remotely interesting, then I’d highly recommend adding this to your collection, as it’s one hell of a fun game, and I can’t wait to see what else the developers have in store for us in the future.
Buy Kingdom Two Crowns from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Raw Fury