“Kingdom: New Lands” is a minimalist game in every respect. Starting from size (400 MB), through pixel-like 2D graphics, to control. She also dragged me for several dozen hours to a great, full of emotions gameplay, during which I fought for every morning for my kingdom.
“Kingdom: New Lands” is the second incarnation of the flash game “Kingdom” available at this site: link. The gameplay model evolves with the successive games of Noio studio, but some elements remain unchanged. In the game we play the monarch who will rule and defend his kingdom from monsters appearing at night. The ruler's only tool is money. Without them, the crown is in danger, because you have to pay for everything. If we give a coin to a vagrant, we gain a subject, and if we buy him a bow, he will become a hunter and a soldier. Building a wall to protect the border or setting up a farm also requires investment, and the cash is very limited — so you have to spend with your head.
In Kingdom: New Lands we spend gold and gather strength during the day and pray for survival at night. The reason for fear are portals in the surrounding forest, from which our enemies, eager for our crown, come out at night. So we have to take care not only of the economy, but also of the military sphere, constantly pushing forward through the deforested forests, developing fortification lines. The crowning point of our efforts is to send an expedition, which closes the portal once and for all, but each such rally is connected with a counterattack, which can easily bounce back with a hiccup.
The gameplay in "Kingdom New Lands" is on a very high level, but it does not make the game stand out. This factor is minimalism. Each element serves something, there is nothing unnecessary. The previous ruler as a ghost will help us at the beginning of the game, and to save the dog, we have to break the trunk crushing him with a coin. The most important thing that caught my attention, however, was the steering. In "Kingdom New Lands" you play with three buttons. Yes! Three! Left, right, bottom. That's it. For an ordinary player it may be of little importance, but for people with disabilities it is a huge advantage.
"Kingdom New Lands is also frustrating, but frustrating in such a good way, in such a way that the moment you say you don't play it anymore, you start again. The reason for this is the biggest difference compared to the first incarnation, the "Classic" edition: Islands. At the very beginning we start on a small island. There is only one portal, so the other flank is safe, a merchant with free coins arrives every day and we are slowly developing. The goal is no longer to destroy all the portals, but to build a ship and sail to the next island. This changes the approach to the game. Destroying portals is no longer the best idea, it is better to neutralize only those on the side of the marina as soon as possible, and to leave those on the side of the cliff where the indestructible portal is located. The same goes for defense: it will only be needed in one place, while the other one will be completely safe and serves as an economic base for the front, for example.
Improvements are also a new addition to the Classic edition. We find them on the advertising pillars, and survival without them is practically impossible. There are new mounts available, such as the bear, which can be used for budget repairs, or the deer, which reaches enormous speeds in the forest and attracts roe deer directly under the bows of hunters. However, the most useful are hermits - one of them builds ballistics on the towers as the ultimate weapon, another one turns the posts into bakeries attracting tramps from distant camps to recruit them, which is useful especially on further islands. On further islands, because there are 6 islands in total. Each bigger and more difficult than the previous one, and already from the third one - it is practically impossible to survive without the support from the previous island.
The difficulty level has increased significantly, but the player can balance it with his work. It is enough to cross the previous island and go to the next one with a squad of 21 subjects led by 3 knights, with a hermit on his back and a dog on board.
You can't sit on the island itself indefinitely because of the seasons, which are very mixed up in the game. Winter, during which we do not have access to farms and practically disappears fauna, is very difficult to survive. 16 hard days and the cost of reconstruction led to the collapse of every kingdom.
At the end I left myself some music, which surprisingly is not 8-bit. Pleasant, quiet songs well reflect the atmosphere of a fantastic, medieval world. Music changes with the seasons and what happens on the screen, giving us advance information about future events.
To sum up: "Kingdom New Lands" is a piece of good strategy, closed in a small (in every respect) production. Unfortunately, the randomness of the islands should be assessed as a minus. We can find one with good improvements and close camps, we won't be able to do anything on another one. The level of difficulty also means that this is not a production for everyone and I suspect that few players will be able to survive on the third island. The game was recently distributed on the Epic Games Store, so it's possible that you have it - it's worth checking it out!
Title graphics from: https://www.kingdomthegame.com/