Kingdom and Dragons combines city building with role-playing games in an attempt to create a unique and enjoyable experience, and it succeeds. Players start in a mostly empty kingdom with an unnamed swordsman at their disposal. The game introduces players to the city by guiding them through the process of unlocking and building structures. When it’s time to fight, players are sent out with their swordsman, ready to take on multiple waves of various enemies. There’s not much of a tutorial that goes along with combat. The game explains the mechanics and a few tricks, but most players will be left to fend for themselves. Fortunately, the combat in the early stages is simple enough for players to learn the system, rather than panic for their lives.
Once players begin to get the hang of the game, they’re given numerous ways to customize their characters’ skills and accessories. As players’ cities gain access to gold mines and other money-gathering resources, they’re able to earn gold, one of the in-game currencies. Gold is most frequently used to power up characters and purchase items from the in-game shop. As players progress through Kingdom and Dragon’s numerous levels, they’ll be given the opportunity to add to their characters’ skill lists. Most of combat is based around moving with the on-screen directional pad, attacking with one button, and using skills with various other buttons. There’s a bit of trial-and-error that goes along with using skills, as the game doesn’t have a simple way of labeling buttons, but this is not a serious issue.
City building is the much shallower end of gameplay. As players progress through levels, they’re able to unlock new areas of their kingdom and construct specific buildings on that land. Right from the start, it’s apparent that everything is unlocked in a specific order, which keeps players from using more advanced structures early on. Fans of social city building games won’t find nearly the same level of depth and detail as they would with dedicated titles. Each building in Kingdom and Dragons has its own set of uses, but there’s no customization that goes along with it.
Kingdom and Dragons carries two forms of in-game currency: Coins and jewels. Coins are frequently earned in farms and mines over real-time. Players will be spending a ton of coins, often faster than they can earn them. Coins are used for many things, most of them focusing on the combat side of the gameplay. Jewels are the premium currency and are more frequently used on the city building and management aspects of the game. Players will use jewels to speed up various processes, bypass certain restrictions, or even unlock new characters. However, outside of a few freebies at the start, jewels must be purchased. Bundles of jewels range from 99 cents to $99.99. The 99 cent bundle has its uses, and many players will find a need for it, but the higher bundles come with far more jewels, since features like new characters will be somewhat costly.
Even with a somewhat disappointing city building experience, Kingdom and Dragons is an excellent experience. Traditional social game fans will likely lose interest after playing with the shallow city management experience, but hardcore players and RPG fans will discover that Kingdom and Dragons has a lot to offer. There are minor annoyances that pop up from time to time, such as limited multiplayer interaction and occasionally troublesome controls, but fun combat and a slick presentation will help bring in players and keep them around.
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A unique blend of role-playing and city building gives Kingdom and Dragons a fresh feeling.