Chinese social games developer Happy Elements has released a standalone English-language version of its popular medieval city-builder, My Kingdom, on Facebook. The Chinese-language rendition has accumulated over 2.2 million monthly active users and around 700,000 daily active users since its launch. So we’re looking to the English-language app, currently at 161,000 MAU, to potentially excel too.
A city-builder of the cuter variety, My Kingdom attempts to change things up a bit from the norm. The majority of the game will still come off as very familiar to long time social game players, but all things considered, it’s really a game based as much on visual style as fun mechanics.
The player begins as king of a fantasy realm that must be slowly built up into a bustling society. On the way, they are faced with tasks including management of population, supplies, and money.
In order to raise the population, players must first build homes. As they do so, the various cottages will allow new denizens to move in every few hours. Also, instead of a happiness gauge to determine the population (as in titles such as Social City), there is a more direct population cap. Even so, it still works the same way, as anything decorative, as well as residences, will increase it.
Here’s where things change up. Each of the noted resources are dependent on one another in a cyclical fashion because the need for supplies. There are three types of supplies: food, lumber, and stone. While the latter two remain locked until higher levels, the food aspect comes into play immediately. Players have a finite amount of food, which acts as a currency. As users build new homes for citizens, or the home produces more citizens, some food is consumed, so players must constantly use basic farming-game mechanics to keep the populace fed.
Of course, in order to farm, one needs workers, and these come from the population, which is yet another reason to build homes. Money is needed for all of this as well and is earned through the taxing of production facilities such as a butcher, bread maker, or blacksmith. This revenue comes in passively every so often, but like the farms, also require workers to even construct.
Happy Elements encourages users to check back at their town by occasionally making things go awry, halting the productivity of any building. From maintenance issues in the houses to grubs in the farm, little pop-ups will periodically appear above virtually every structure (save decorative) sooner or later. Production of food, taxes, or people will cease until it is removed via a simple click.
On the social side, My Kingdom feels a bit basic, relying primarily on visitation of friends’ kingdoms, gifting, and simple leaderboards. Aside from these, the game gives ample opportunity to post to one’s Facebook wall in order to share taxes, seek help for random aspects in the game (e.g. there is a “mystery chest” that requires one friend to help open).
The drawback to the resource and social systems is that leveling in My Kingdom can be a bit slow. Experience tends to only come from constructing buildings such as houses, farms, and production structures, but since they require workers or food, one often finds themselves waiting for a few hours to build anything new along these lines. For example, a new breadmaker requires 30 workers, but a single house only produces five an hour. Said house will require food each time new residence move in (and to initially construct), and the quickest food takes 10 minutes and produces 15. However, to make more farms, yet again, more workers (60) are needed; thus the player is always waiting on something.
But many social gamers won’t have an issue with My Kingdom. Likely, those that play, or will play, will do so for the cuter visual style or perhaps the medieval, fantasy setting. Granted, the style and mechanics feel very familiar, but Happy Element tells us that there’s much more to come with this title. In the meantime, My Kingdom is a good addition to the city-building genre.