Geek Culture

Geek Review: Kingdom Two Crowns

Bursting into the scene back in 2015 with its pixel art style reminiscent of retro games, as well as its simplistic UI, Kingdom instantly became a huge hit amongst fans of indie games and building sims. Kingdom New Lands released a year later and introduced the element of exploration to it and now, the latest entry Kingdom Two Crowns builds on the premise of New Lands, and improves on the Kingdom formula even more.

For those who are unfamiliar with Kingdom, the premise is simple enough: Build, Defend, and Expand your kingdom. Each game starts the same, with a mysterious ghost guiding you to the centre of a fireplace where, after dropping some coins, your game officially starts.

The game offers no tutorial, so you are very much expected to learn as you go along. To its credit, the game is simple enough to pick up on the first try. You hire local vagrants to work for you by dropping coins for them to pick up, after which they head back to your camp and pick a job: they can either become a hunter and help you earn some money by hunting the local wildlife near your camp, or become builders to help you fortify your camp. When money gets a little tight, there are also chests filled with coins for you to find in the forests around your camp.

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The true key of Kingdom Two Crowns, or any Kingdom game really, is balance. As you will learn early on in the game, indiscriminately cutting down trees to expand your kingdom is not a really smart idea as you will chase away the wildlife necessary for your hunters to kill, as well as the merchant who stops by your camp to give you some extra coins. Hence you will need to figure out, as you progress through the game, which steps to take and which you should best avoid, to ensure that your kingdom is able to continuously grow and prosper.

Coins are incredibly important in the game as they are how you truly get anything done. Want a tree cut down? Put a coin there and a builder will come to chop it down. Want to build a fort right where you cut the tree down? That’s right, you need a coin for that too. You will definitely want to make sure your camp is well fortified, not just with fences, but with enough archers as well. This as every night, small monsters known as Greeds will besiege your kingdom and try to break through your defences.

Should the Greed manage to break through your defences, they will rob your citizens of their tools and turn them back into normal vagrants. Of course, the Greeds are easy enough to fend off early in the game, but with each passing day, the greeds get stronger. So make sure you spend each day wisely.

From the very first island, there will be certain items that can only be unlocked with gems and you will realise that no matter how hard you travel back and forth, there aren’t any gems to be seen. Well, that’s because there are no gems to be found on the first island. You will need to ready a boat, as well as a number of citizens, to travel off to distant lands to expand your kingdom. Once you have made it past your first island, each death at the hands of the Greed no longer resets your entire game but will instead make you restart from the previous island. From there you can go about rebuilding your kingdom which has decayed a little in your absence.

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This makes playing the game much less frustrating compared to previous iterations, as players no longer have to go through the monotonous first few days building their kingdom up from scratch again.

That being said, more often than not you can find yourself stagnating in the game, especially if you are new, and an easy fix will be to restart your campaign and use the knowledge you have gained from your previous run to help you with your new one. That being said, this tip will only be really helpful early on in the game, before you have spent hours exploring new lands beyond the first island.

One welcome addition to Kingdom Two Crowns is the different biomes you can choose early on in the game. Currently, you can decide between the default medieval biome or the Shogun biome which has different background music, and game assets such as bamboo trees and racoons instead the usual trees and rabbits of the default biome.

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In previous Kingdom games, you are usually a lone king (or queen) all by yourself trying your best to build, defend, and grow your kingdom. With Kingdom Two Crowns, players now will get the option of choosing whether or not they wish to rule the lands with another monarch by their sides. When co-op mode is chosen, the screen is divided into half, with both monarchs able to have a look at what the other is doing, even if they are nowhere near each other.

This mode gives the game a different dynamic as where before every decision lies solely on you, this time you can get the help of a friend to help you micromanage your kingdom. For example, one of you can stay back and focus on expanding the kingdom while another monarch ventures out to explore the forests. As they say, divide and conquer.


Overall, Kingdom Two Crowns is a gorgeous game that improves on the previous Kingdom games, with new mechanics such as the co-op mode to help make the game a little less intimidating to new players. That said, outside of the new mode, the game is still just as difficult and you will more often than not find yourself spending hours on the game before you properly figure out how to progress through the game satisfyingly.

GEEK REVIEW SCORE

Summary

Kingdom Two Crowns feels more like an update of previous Kingdom games than an entirely new sequel but that doesn’t make the game any less enjoyable to play.

Overall
6.8/10
6.8/10
  • Gameplay - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Story - 5/10
    5/10
  • Presentation - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
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