Peek At Kingdom’s Minimalist Settlement-Building Strategy

Minimalist side-scrolling strategy game Kingdom [official site] caught the eye of a young ragamuffin named Nathan back in 2013. Trotting around the land as a king atop a horse, you build and upgrade a minikingdom to fend off trolls that emerge at night – all with only three keyboard keys. It’s pretty fun, and pretty pretty.

Two years later, developers Noio and Licorice have returned to show off the expanded follow-up, also named Kingdom. They’re planning to release it this year, but for now have a delightful new trailer to show how far the game has come since that prototype:

As you might have deduced, everything runs off the single resource of coins. Coins convert wandering peasants to your side. Coins buy weapons. Coins buy buildings. Coins also fall out of dead rabbits, but don’t let that worry your pretty little head (or the little crown which bounces adorably atop it). Having only one resource doesn’t make decisions much easier, mind: will you spend that coin on a weapon for a subject or a wall? Do you need builders or knights more?

During the day, you trot around on your horse giving simple build orders and whatnot, and admiring the pretty scenery. Isn’t it pretty? At night, well, you still do the same, but you might not appreciate the scenery as hordes of ‘orrible things are battering at your walls and trying to kill everyone.

The 2013 prototype is still online if you fancy a play.

Kingdom is due on Windows, Mac, and Linux some time from September to the end of the year. I believe Kingdom is on Adam’s Gamescom schedule, so he might have more to tell us soon.

19 Comments

  1. Maxheadroom says:

    Sometimes I read the synopsis for a film and think ‘that sounds great!’ then notice it’s yet another ‘found footage’ thing and feel sad. It doesn’t stop me from watching it, but it definitely dampens my enthusiasm.

    that’s kinda where I am with pixel art games
    (although admittedly this does look prettier than most)

    • Metalfish says:

      I’m not going to have a pop at you for having particular tastes in aesthetics (that would be absurd), but I would like to know what you don’t like about pixel art? (I feel I might start doing the Oscar Wilde “good art, bad art” thing, so I’ll stop before I become too tedious.)

      • Maxheadroom says:

        A pop at me might not be wholly undeserved, I am after judging a game based on a couple of screenshots.
        I just feel pixel art, like zombie survival horror, has been done to death at this point. So much so that when a really good one comes along my first instinct is ‘oh no, not another one’ which is a shame.

        Cor, look at us being all civilised on the internet! Shouldn’t one of us be insulting the others parents by now? :)

        • Michael Anson says:

          Your parents were decent folk who raised you well except in the all-important area of pixel-art aesthetics, and thus were not as good of people as they could have been, maybe!

          …how’s that?

        • zentropy says:

          See, this is why RPS is the only place worth glancing over the comment section. :)

          <3

        • jrodman says:

          That you can say “pixel art .. has been done to death”, is much more of a comment on the limited palette being frequently employed by those creating “pixel art” games. There’s an immense possible range of styles in low-resolution art. The effective resolution in use from around 1982 to 1992 was highly similar, and within that ten year range, there was a huge variation in styles.

    • GameCat says:

      There’s bad and good pixelart.
      Unfortunatelly many indie “8-bit” games have the former. This game art leans toward the latter.

    • Bronxsta says:

      Have you seen Rain World?
      link to youtube.com

      Megasphere?
      link to youtu.be

      Do Not Cross?
      link to i.imgur.com

      The Last Night?
      link to oddtales.net

      Pixel art is simply an aestheic, like low poly or minimalist/abstract art style, and it can be doe well or poorly. Pixel art doesnt make a game retro or mean the dev is trying to pander to nostaglia, anymore than a painter who prefers pastels or whatnot

      And many modern pixel art games are doing innovative or unique things that couldnt be done before like procedurally generation animations, dynamic lighting, and so on

  2. RegisteredUser says:

    Couldn’t help but feel there has got to be a middle ground between this and Terraria (infinitely boring “hit a rock 50 times for one piece of dirt of which you need 50 to make a stronger pick with which you will hit a rock lvl 2 50 times to…you get the idea) in terms of complexity, pointless grind, other things.

    Why aren’t there games where crafting is more buying than crafting-crafting? I’m okay with killing something to get “a drop”, but I don’t understand why it has to be so much for so little and why I can’t just earn the resources through more fun activities than hitting inaminate objects. That seems such a weird object-aggression to have.
    And its not even a fun one, like say with a bazooka in a destructible environment.

    I don’t really see why i would have to aggrevate my RSI even further by being forced to hold down the left mouse button hours on end not for the core fun and gameplay, but to even become eligible to have a tool or sword to play WITH.

    So even though 3 keys sounds offputting, Kingdom may be a slightly better way..

    • vanhisa says:

      But terraria is fun. After finding endgame gear, that minutes of grinding ore is paid off.

  3. anonzp says:

    I thought indie games were mostly supposed to be innovative? unique in same way?? …This looks like an iPad game for children, who would be interested in playing this for more than 5 minutes?

    • UncleLou says:

      It’s a short sentence you wrote, but quite remarkabley, none of it makes any sense to me I am afraid.

      “I thought indie games were mostly supposed to be innovative? ”

      Who says that? And who says this isn’t?

      ” unique in same way??”

      See above.

      “This looks like an iPad game for children,”

      What does that even mean?

      “who would be interested in playing this for more than 5 minutes?”

      Presumably all the people who played the original for more than 5 minutes?

  4. aleander says:

    Oh. I remember this one. It has this lovely “living diorama” or something like that feeling. Not sure how much space in it is there for longer forms, but I’d love to see them try.

  5. Blackrook says:

    I remember playing the prototype online back when it was first mentioned.
    It was fun and nice in a casual I’ve got 20 minutes to waste while sitting at my desk avoiding doing work.

    Whether an expanded version would be any good depends on the price point.
    I’d happy throw £2.99 at something like this which covers a few hours play,
    but I’d wince if they were asking £9.99 and wait for inevitable sale if it goes on steam.

  6. Yserbius says:

    I hope they fixed the frustrating gameplay issues of the original prototype. The game was fine for the first few nights, but then you get stuck in this rut of frantically galloping from one end of the kingdom to the other, fixing as many fences as possible before nightfall and praying that the peasants will get on the task in time.

    • Eightball says:

      I just gave it another go, same sort of deal. It needs a way to station archers at the outermost walls. Instead they hang out in the middle castle waiting for the noodle guys to destroy all the outer walls and kill my builders.

  7. geldonyetich says:

    Looks like a marvelous little microcosm, in a 2D medieval fantasy vibe sort of way.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    The only thing I dislike about this is that side-scrolling perspective. It’s one of the reasons why I just don’t enjoy Terraria too I think. I’m happy when it’s an actual platformer or similar, but for this sort of game I’d really prefer it to be either top-down or isometric or something.

  9. theslap says:

    Looks fantastic! I scrolled to the bottom expecting to hear praise but I’m stunned by the amount of negative comments. I guess we’ll see if it is as good as it appears to be to me.