Rule the Kingdom is a new free-to-play title for Android devices from the increasingly-prolific publisher Game Insight. The new title, developed by InnoWate, is a hybrid title that combines elements of citybuilding games and traditional role-playing titles. Hybrid games like this have been attempted by a number of different publishers recently with varying degrees of success, but InnoWate appears to have hit on the winning formula with its take on the genre.
Note: This title was tested on a Motorola Xoom tablet running Android 3.2. The game was well-optimized for tablet devices and mostly stable, though it did cause one system freeze and forced reboot during testing, and the display suffered from occasional “flickering.”
Rule the Kingdom casts players in the role of either a male or female avatar which they may name themselves. Through a brief but thorough tutorial, the player is introduced to the two main aspects of gameplay: the role-playing side, which comprises combat, exploration and finding items; and the citybuilding side, which allows the player to make money and acquire resources.
The role-playing side of things sees the player taking on various quests and engaging in combat with enemies. Control is very simple — players simply tap where they would like their avatar to move, or tap on enemies and objects to interact with them. Battling enemies sees the player and the enemy take it in turns to attack each other, with each side losing hit points as they take damage. The player may equip their character with various items to improve their abilities and provide them with an edge in combat. It’s also possible for the player to hire an “army” (initially a single soldier) to follow them around and provide support in combat. These elements combine to make the role-playing combat feel a lot more convincing than in many other titles — there’s a feeling of actually engaging in battle with enemies rather than simply clicking on them to “harvest” them like a resource.
As the player progresses through quests, they’ll be able to explore new locations and find new equipment and items. Some of these allow immediate boosts to the players stats, while others may be used to enchant and improve items. Collecting full “sets” of equipment gives significant bonuses to the player’s statistics, though this often requires a significant outlay of soft currency if the required items cannot be found in the field.
Meanwhile, the player may return to their own kingdom whenever they please to build houses, collect income and produce resources. These items are then used in the production of items and soldier units to follow the player around. As the game progresses, the player will gain access to more workers and structures, allowing for more “projects” to be on the go at once. Timed tasks may be hurried using the game’s hard currency, though the game provides enough things to do on the role-playing side of things to keep players busy while they wait for their cookies to bake and their carrots to mature.
Rule the Kingdom is a fun, surprisingly deep game that will appeal to casual and more “hardcore” players alike. Its interface is simple to understand, but the amount of content on offer for free will keep players busy for a long time. While the game monetizes well through premium structures and items, it doesn’t tend to feel like players are being “forced” to pay up to make progress — though progress will likely be more efficient if they do. The only thing arguably missing from the experience is some form of social interaction with other players. That said, there is plenty to do for solo players without having to worry about visiting other players’ kingdoms, and this also allows the game to be “self-sufficient” rather than friend-gating parts of the experience.
Rule the Kingdom is available now for Android devices via Google Play. Google reports it has been downloaded between 50,000 and 100,000 times since its release on April 27.