Although fans of real-time strategy games have had their share of interesting new releases on Android lately, the niche still seems to need some work. We wouldn’t honestly expect to see anything as complex as, say, Age of Empires hitting our favorite mobile platform anytime soon, but we can surely hope to see something baring even the slightest similarity with the highly acclaimed PC RTS franchise.
Gameloft has just released a title that at least partially seems to fit the bill, though it’s not a full-fledged RTS game, but rather one that combines strategy with simulation. Kingdoms & Lords is available for free over on Google Play starting today, and, based on its “storyline” and trailer, it seems like something worth a shot.
I personally am not the greatest fan of hybrid games that mix features from different genres, therefore losing their unique personality, but in this particular case it might actually work. In Kingdoms & Lords, you’ll be playing the part of a king who has to build an army to attack and conquer new territories. But you also need to take care of your kingdom by expanding lands, cultivating crops and raising animals. Talk about multitasking!
It sounds a bit quirky, I’ll give you that, but it could actually bring the best of both worlds together. There’s also a good chance you might get enough gameplay to go around for more than a little while, which is always a good thing. Finally, the dual aspect of the game will ensure you won’t find yourself becoming bored, as you’ll always switch from one activity to the other.
Now that we’ve gotten the praising out of the way, let the criticizing begin! First off, Gameloft, what’s with that trailer? It’s under a minute long, but it still “manages” to be boring. There’s clearly not enough in-game footage to make anyone really interested, while the soundtrack is — how to put it? — generic and uninteresting.
I also have a problem with this whole free-to-play aspect of Kingdoms & Lords. We all know that you’ll need in-app purchases to have any shot of quickly advancing in the game, so why not get rid of those and put the game up for, say, $0.99? Or even $1.99? I’m sure many users would pay that sum knowing that they’ll never have to pay additional fees afterwards.
Thirdly, Gameloft seems to have once again launched a game without ensuring full support for “decent” Android devices. Kingdoms & Lords’ description in Google Play says that it supports Froyo-running gadgets and up, but there are already many users complaining that they can’t install the app on the Galaxy S3, Transformer TF101 or Transformer Infinity. Now that's disappointing!
Be that as it may, those of you who can install the game and are passionate about RTS titles should at least give Kingdoms & Lords a chance. Just do it with an open mind and don't expect too much!