Crime City developer Funzio enters the fantasy role-playing game genre with Kingdom Age, launching on Google+ and the Chrome Web Store today. The game draws both from the citybuilding genre and from video game variations on the classic Dungeons and Dragons pen-and-paper RPG franchise, like Diablo.
Players take the role of a hero avatar tasked with three main goals: constructing a city, supporting an army and questing in the open world to defeat monsters. Gameplay is divided between player versus environment mode and player versus player mode. In the former, the hero engages in turn-based combat with monsters and loots virtual items from their corpses. In the latter, players build armies of various unit types to send out in asynchronous combat against other players’ armies. Both modes feed back into the citybuilding part of the game, with more looted goods allowing the player to build more buildings that unlock army units and more conquered armies earning the player more units and resources to spend on buildings and training army units.
In a hands-off demo conducted by Funzio, we watched segments of both PvE and PvP. In PvE mode, the player selects a location from a world map and is transported to an open field where roving monsters wander around, waiting to be killed. Each monster is identified by name and by a hit point gauge. Combat involves equipping a spell or weapon and then clicking on the monster to damage its HP. The player’s hero has no HP, however; only energy — which is deducted both with each attack click and when the monster attacks the player. The idea, says Funzio, is that combat ends quickly, allowing the player to rejoice in the process of collecting dropped loot.
PvP mode (pictured below) was difficult to view in a demo because it’s a one-click asynchronous action to send out an army to attack — the player gets to sit back and watch the battle play out and then receives a notification of victory or defeat. To initiate combat, the player can select up to a certain number of units to form their army with each unit type having its own unique statistics. The player is then assigned a strength rating depending on how strong that army is and how many buildings they have in their city (barracks, magic academy, etc.). PvP rank is determined by the strength statistic rather than player level, which Funzio hopes creates a natural matchmaking system where strong players only go after those of near-equal rank.
A menu displays other players of similar strength rating; the player can view each one’s city before deciding whether or not to attack. This is where strategy comes in — like Empires & Allies, the player can select a section of the city to attack and loot specific resources from that section if they win the battle, depending on what structures are there. For example, a player’s army might be made up of riflemen, which require a lot of food to maintain. That player may choose to attack the farms and storage silos of other players, hoping to loot more food to feed their army.
Funzio hopes that between the thrill of loot hunting and the competitive feel of combat, they can capture an engaged audience that comes back for multiple sessions. It was important to the developer that the PvE and PvP not take up too much time (hence the simplified clicking combat), but that the rewards for staying in the game longer felt worth it. For example, while some armor and equipment can be bought in exchange for premium currency, the absolute best items only come from rare item drops that the player has to farm by killing lots of monsters.
Kingdom Age launches on Google+ and the Chrome Web Store today. Funzio currently has 1.7 million monthly active users and 170,000 daily active users on Facebook, according to our AppData traffic tracking service.
Correction: A previous draft of this story incorrectly stated that Kingdom Age was launching on Facebook.
ETA: Find the game here.