Casual Connect presented some great opportunities to get to know Windows Phone game publishers. One of those publishers is Game Insight, makers of our own Rich Edmonds’ favorite Windows Phone 8/Windows 8 game My Country.
Game Insight has also recently published Rule the Kingdom, an exciting RPG/city building hybrid game for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. And they have more games in the works for both platforms! Get the full scoop (and our video interview with Game Insight’s PR director John Kopp) after the break.
Are Farmville-style city building games too simple for you? My Country is a full-fledged city (and country) management simulator, not unlike Sim City on PC. You’ll start by choosing a base of operations, then it’s time to build a taxi company so people can get around in your city. Fun fact: taxis are not very common in my state of Texas because most people own cars.
Starting a taxi company and other kinds of businesses isn’t as simple a task as you might expect. You’ll have to upgrade the city’s housing and collect several items before you can hire a taxi driver. Once everything’s ready, you can finally negotiate a contract and get some taxis on the road. Contracts last for set periods of time. If you want to upgrade the individual business, you’ll need to do so after its contract expires.
The overall goal of the game is to grow your nation and level up as much as possible. Tasks and ventures (missions) you complete will reward you with money and XP. Take in enough XP to level up and you’ll unlock new buildings and features with which to expand your city. My Country is actually super deep and complex, but it eases players in with helpful tutorials.
Buildings and tasks take time to complete. If you don’t want to wait, you can always hurry it along by spending some currency. Two currency types are available: game dollars and country bucks. Like most free to play games, players can also enjoy the game without spending anything.
Rule the Kingdom
Managing a city is all well and good, but some of us also want to do some adventuring. Rule the Kingdom should keep us busy with its mix of city building and RPG gameplay. You play as a male or female amnesiac who stumbles into a troubled town and ends up as its protector. That’s my kind of amnesia.
The city building portion of the gameplay is not as complex as My Country, but still engaging. As you create various types of businesses like a bakery and farm, characters with actual names and personalities move in to operate them. Your character actually moves around the town to talk to everybody, providing a more personal level of engagement than many god-type games.
Being that Rule the Kingdom is also an RPG, it has the standard fixings like character customization and equipment. You can go on quests, explore new areas, and do battle with villains and monsters. The combat is straightforward enough; choose to attack, defend, or cast spells as your party engages the enemy.
Rule the Kingdom has an appealing nineties-era computer RPG vibe to it. Some of the production values such as character animation and artwork (look at that hideous wannabe Prince of Persia on the live tile!) lean towards the budget end of the spectrum. But otherwise it feels like a full RPG experience with a little town building thrown in for good measure.
Insight into the future
We stopped by Game Insight’s San Francisco office, where they have a marvelous pool table.
Check out the video for the full skinny on Game Insight’s Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 plans, but here are a few highlights. For one, the publisher will be updating its existing Windows 8 games to make them look better on high resolution screens. Their current user interfaces and text look very small at the 1080P resolution used by the Surface Pro, as you can tell in this article’s screenshots. Soon the games will be updated with more properly scaled UIs.
We also learned that Game Insight has multiple games in development for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 right now. The only one we can officially announce right now is a sequel to their first release: 2020 My Country. We’ll have more details as it draws closer to release.