Famous poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote about the ruins of a once ancient kingdom whose glamor and riches are now but grains in the desert sand. Upon a pedestal reads the lines of the forgotten ruler, who speaks, ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kinks; Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ All that remains around the decaying landscape are the great ruins and the sensation of nothing.
Insert clever transition to this game review, where I have witnessed Cateia Games’ ‘Kingdom Tales 2,’ which lacks any sense of design, originality, or excitement that any games should have. Why bring up a poet who you might have heard in an English lecture in high school? Only because any game that fails spectacularly should merit a small sense of what beautiful or creative ideas may have started off in the first place. This game, however, has none of that.
What’s the story about? How do I win?
For the sake of the review, I’m going to address the latter question further on, as its importance will affect the overall reason why the score is low. The story takes place in a mystical and magical land you’ve all seen before in any Disney movie. The king, Arnor, rules his kingdom with an iron fist, while his daughter, Dahla, falls in love with the local blacksmith, Finn. However, their secret is thwarted and before the king banishes him entirely, his daughter proposes a quest to build further towns to support the kingdom. The one who builds the most will win Dahla’s hand in marriage.
If you’ve heard any prince or princess fairy tale before, then you’ve probably know how this game ends. Honestly, there’s not enough substance for any player that is looking for a unique narrative or interesting plot points. Kingdom Tales 2’s story is basically far removed from the actually gameplay that it feels more like a tint the developers through over the product and said ‘Yeah, this will work!’ It does not.
What about the gameplay?
Have you played Clash of Clans before? Maybe you’ve seen their bombardment of advertisements at your train station, grocery market, or Super Bowl commercials. If you are familiar of their gameplay, in which you build, farm, collect, and plunder other settlements to strengthen your own. Imagine that sort of gameplay except everything is manual. You need gold? You need to tap house to tax them every five seconds. Need wood? You need to tap to build wood and then collect. Perhaps some food? Tap to farm and then tap all the houses that need food. It seems that all your settlements in Kingdom Tales 2 needs your utmost guidance to remind them how to survive on their own
All this points to how much padding is used in this game. Since you cannot collect resources when your turn your phone off, you need to stay the entire round to complete all objectives or all your progress will be ruined. This game then feels like your standing in an average waiting room while the rest of house has yet to be planned for construction! Under no circumstance should a game advertise to the audience how ‘exciting’ or ‘fun’ this game is if all you have to do is tap the screen and wait.
So, is there anything good in this game?
The artwork. Mind you, I don’t mean the character models for the two main characters, who look like your totally-not-a-ripoff-of-Snow-White characters, but just the background designs in the cut scenes. Although I knew this story was going to be plain and clichéd, the background in some of the scenes are pretty well done. There are plenty of colors mixing together that give the slightest resemblance to fairy tales with a sense of originality.
Sadly, the character models are just too bug-eyed that can completely ruin the experience. If anything, it appears the character and environment design teams were separate from each other, only realizing how off balanced these majestic scenes appear to these bland characters. Even so, the artwork cannot save this game. It appears only in some early cut scenes and barely makes any appearances after that. While I don’t have any experience within the gaming industry, I’d feel confident that the art team could design the game in all aspects better than the product now out on the markets.
Overall, what did you think?
It’s been four days since I’ve last played this game and up until now have I remembered purchasing this game. Beyond all else, whether it be unoriginal story, poorly design game mechanics and oddly designed characters, Kingdom Tales 2 is an absolute mess. The only excitement that I can see players receiving from this game is pushing the button of whichever handheld device you are playing it on and turning it off. Don’t worry, though! You probably won’t remember it much longer.
Wait! So how do you win?
Ah yes, about that issue. I managed to start the game again at level six over an hour decompressing how bland this game was. Upon entering the new level, I was greeted with this startup screen:
That’s right! A paywall. I’d use a medieval metaphor here somewhere, but I don’t want to bear the audience down. Besides, societies only raided against the defenses of other towns if there was anything resourceful in what they were taking down, historically speaking of course.