Airport City developer Game Insight has two new game franchises in the works, both of which are set to debut on tablet, rather than smartphone or social network.
The move is a new one for the Russian company, but it follows a trend in the industry we’re beginning to see as developers focus on the higher monetization potential of tablets. Last month at the Inside Social Apps conference, Game Insight’s VP of business development Darya Trushkina told us that her company’s games generate about 30 percent more revenue on tablets than on smartphones. According to AppAnnie, an iPad download generates an average of $0.31 cents for a developer, compared to an iPhone’s $0.13. However, both Rule the Kingdom and Tribez show strong cross-platform potential, and Game Insight is planning to bring the games to other platforms.
Rule the Kingdom is, for the most part, a strategy game where players are trying to take over all parts of a kingdom map. The core gameplay loop, however, is broken into five different game genres: click-based combat, citybuilding, farming, strategy-based boss fights and character customization. Players start by leading troops into battle against fantasy-themed enemies (think Kobolds, skeletons, etc.); these battles involve clicking on enemies to do damage. Once the enemy or the player runs out of health, the battle ends and the player can collect the spoils.
Once the enemies are cleared from a section of map, the player can build a village by placing structures like farms or cottages. Each structure functions as a mini industry that the player operates to supply the troops. Clicking on an inactive structure takes the player into the farming sim, where crops need to be planted and watered. The player then harvests these to gain resources like food or potions. Once supplied, the player can go back out into the world map and select a new region in which to conquer enemies.
Some sections of the map contain boss battles, which differ from normal battles in that the player must attack enemies in a specific order or risk being overwhelmed by the main boss. We didn’t see too much of this level in action, but presumably better rewards come from killing bosses as opposed to normal enemies. Rewards dropped by enemies feed the character customization loop, where the player attempts to outfit their troop characters with the best equipment in order to improve combat.
Currently, Rule the Kingdom is in alpha only on tablets. The goal is to bring the game to Facebook, but because Rule the Kingdom relies heavily on rich 3D graphics, this makes it difficult for Game Insight to promise a true cross-platform experience. It could be that some simplified version of the game finds its way to social network or to mobile devices, where the smaller screen might make the combat portions difficult to display.
Game Insight’s second tablet game, Tribez , better lends itself to other devices because there are fewer gameplay activities to render. Like Rule the Kingdom, the goal is to explore as much of a map as possible — however, the game relies mostly on farming and citybuilding as core gameplay and uses quests to drive exploration. Players complete quests by assigning villagers to accomplish certain tasks, like chopping down trees or clearing debris from a campsite. Once several quests are completed in a region, a new segment of land becomes available. Each new segment of land carries unique quests (e. g. “build a temple,” instead of “build villager huts”), and once the player runs out of land to explore on their own island, they can migrate villagers to new islands with different quests.
Neither game currently has a release date, but Tribez seems to be closer to launch as Game Insight is currently teasing the game on its website.