You’re dropped into a world devoid of civilization. With the monstrous Greed haunting you every night and a few peasants around, it’s your job to manage your resources and build your own kingdom across several islands. That’s the premise behind the Kingdom series.
The series is getting its newest installment with Kingdom Two Crowns. Releasing on the Nintendo Switch, we’re taking a look at how it stacks up to the previous entries in the series as well as if it’s worth your time and money.
No Help Here
The big draw about the Kingdom games is that they throw you into a world, tell you how to move, purchase upgrades, and recruit more soldiers to your cause. That’s it. Everything else in the world is a trial by experimentation. The goal is to learn how the game works, what certain things do and how to keep upgrading your own civilization. It’s a unique system that leads to satisfying moments once you get the hang of it, but it also leads to the series’ biggest flaws. There is a steep learning curve to Kingdom games. Without the help of any guides, it could be a while before you start to understand how they work and how to keep the resources coming in. It means that the game is modeled toward more advanced and astute players. Casual gamers will lose pretty quickly.
It’s worth pointing out that Kingdom Two Crowns will kick your butt if you mess up too much. With each island having largely randomized assets and things to interact with, there are times when you get just the right layout, and other times when the game will give you a big middle finger and you’re back to square one before you know it. More skilled players will learn how to combat these scenarios, but it takes a while before you understand how to adapt.
I think the Kingdom series could be better in the future if the games could guide players a bit more rather than forcing them to expend their own resources to figure out how things work only to lose because they were curious. As it stands right now, the game actively encourages players to experiment but also punishes them for it.
That said, once players start to understand how the game works, Kingdom Two Crowns becomes an even more addictive game. It’s easy to see how to adapt to the different environments and come up with a strategy to conquer each land and vanquish the Greed. Once you get a rhythm going, it’s an intense joy ride. There’s still something about its trial and error design that kept me coming back as well. Despite how irritating it was to ignorantly make the wrong decision, each failure guaranteed that I would learn something and be better equipped for my next playthrough. With every failure, I got closer to the end goal.
That’s something else that I like about Kingdom Two Crowns. The game gives players an ending to strive toward. This makes every task and conquered island seem worth it. Without a goal, the game loses its luster over time. By adding an ending, there’s an incentive to keep playing.
Sequel or Expansion?
I talk about the fundamentals of the Kingdom series prior because Kingdom Two Crowns brings it all back. People who played Kingdom: New Lands and Kingdom Classic will know exactly what to expect here. Recruit more guys, expand your kingdom, and defend yourself against the Greed.
Kingdom Two Crowns does sport a few differences though. Not only are there more things to interact with, including more mounts, hermits, and expansions, but there’s even a choice of two campaigns. Despite a few minor differences, though, the campaigns are functionally the same, they just have different styles. The new one is set in feudal Japan and allows you to recruit ninjas. The game also allows for co-op, which can be just as fun as it is challenging.
All of the additions do make for some fun new scenarios in Kingdom Two Crowns, but with the game relying on the same engine assets, and strategies as the prior games, it does make me wonder whether it’s worth the title of a sequel. There were times it felt like just another expansion to Kingdom: New Lands. It essentially takes everything that was in the last game and throws more on top of it. It’s still well-designed, but I think I would’ve enjoyed it if there were more leaps and bounds as well as time taken to iron out some of the problems I’ve had with earlier entries. Furthermore, the game kind of shoots itself in the foot by just throwing more content in because it effectively makes the previous games obsolete.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Kingdom Two Crowns was provided by Raw Fury.