Side-Scrolling Strategy Game Kingdom’s Major Update

Like an errant fairytale monarch, I neglected Kingdom [official site] when it came out late last year. I’d played it before release and am a great admirer of the minimalist approach to base-building and population management. It’s an entire strategy game condensed into a tiny package, driven by a wonderfully elegant interface.

At GDC I took a peek at the 1.20 update, which changes the way all of the games NPCs work, improving AI processing, and allowing them to run in the direction of urgent tasks or away from monsters. There are also new horses to ride, new discoveries to be made in the world and…some secret things I wouldn’t want to spoil. A beta version of the update is available now.

The update is currently in beta form so that players can choose whether to opt in while the final bugs are squashed. To update, follow these instructions:

To access the new Open Beta, find Kingdom in your Steam library, right-click and select “Properties”. From there find the BETAS tab. Once in the BETAS tab select “open_beta” in the opt in dropdown list. To go back to the regular build, repeat these steps and select “NONE – opt out of all betas” from the same dropdown list on the BETAS tab. Also, all saves will remain for the current version and for the Beta.

If you haven’t played the game yet, this is a good time to jump in. There’s a 50% discount for the next 31 hours as part of a midweek sale, bringing the price down to £3.49. On top of that, the speedier characters address one of my main complaints regarding the original release – there was no sense of urgency, even as a tide of trolls hammered at the gates.

Here’s the changelist for 1.20.

All characters can now run. They will run if they need to get to a job, or run away if they are threatened by enemies.
The AI has had a complete overhaul, it should process much faster and with less glitches. This means game runs significantly smoother under most conditions, even late in the game when many enemies show up.
New menu with more options: change sound / music volume separately. Allow change zoom level if available.
Collision resolution has been improved to decrease lag with many coins.
Saving (by quitting the game) is possible at night and in combat.
Borders aren’t moved while a wall is under construction. This means archers will stay in position while walls are upgraded.
Knights will retreat to an intact wall if the outer wall takes too much damage.
Knight attack procedure makes them more consistent.
Overhaul for the boss monster.
Allow an unlimited number of knights to be built.
Many, many fixes for bugs from the forums.
New (faster) horses.


  1. Slazer says:

    Unlimited number of Knights is an important change for the endgame. The main issue used to be that the last portal was so far away that your troops need several days to reach it, and the strong spawns would usually kill your 2 knights before they arrive there, leaving the rest of your army to be slaughtered easily. After my 5th massive army failed I was fed up and never returned to the game.

    • Lord Byte says:

      The trick was to wait for after a blood moon to attack or expand, as you get no night attacks the day after. Another way is to run ahead and drop gold coins, of which you are usually overflowing by then, so the critters pick them up and run away leaving your knights to slog onwards.

  2. Harlander says:

    I actually managed to finish this, somewhat to my surprise, but it got rather frustrating towards the end. These changes sound like they’ll knock off a few of those rough edges.

    • Riaktion says:

      There is an end to this game? I thought it was a endless type one, as metaphor than all kingdoms usually fall no matter how awesome you run them. I *like* games with an end so this one wasn’t on my radar at all. So.. you can actually finish it? And it isn’t an endless “last as long as you can” high score game?

      • Slazer says:

        There are 2 portals on each side of your base. Once you have upgraded to knights you can (if I remeber correctly) drop coins to their banner at the borders of your base and they will march out, taking your full host on that side with them and attacking the portal once they arrive there

        • Riaktion says:

          I see, ok thanks. I never knew that. Put’s this game in a whole new light for me then!

  3. grrrz says:

    depending on luck, it’s really difficult to finish the game if one of the portal is too far. then you can’t send your knights in time, or can’t rebuild fast enough your border if it’s too far from the center of the village.