From salons to burger joints, the App Store is saturated with time management strategy sims. Still, we approached Nevosoft’s sequel to the generally well-received My Kingdom for the Princess with high hopes. What we found, however, was a generally fair entry in the genre that is heavy on charm, but light on originality.
These games have never been big on compelling narratives, and My Kingdom For the Princess 2 is no exception. When the tale begins, stalwart knight Arthur and his beloved, Helen, have been stranded on a remote island and are forced to make the best of a bad situation. As a result, Arthur feels compelled to collect resources, rebuild deserted structures, and swat bugs a-plenty.
Gameplay is standard time management or tycoon fare: allocate peons to collect resources like gold and lumber, repair buildings, and complete income-based challenges, all while racing against the clock, like in Hotel Mogul.
Island hopping made easy.
The visual style is cute, colorful, and laden with images straight out of a cartoon fairy tale. Between the various sections of the map, you’re greeted with comic book-esque screens detailing the progression of the plot. Additionally, each time you finish a level within the goal time limit, you add a small section to a gigantic castle you’re constructing for your darling Helen. Production values are solid, with plenty of visual polish.
Unfortunately, the gameplay feels uninspired and derivative of other, similar titles. In fact, the game simply felt like a re-skinned Farm Frenzy. Unlike that title, however, My Kingdom for the Princess 2 presents no challenge to speak of. Throughout the first two-thirds of the game, we never encountered a stage in which we were in peril of not meeting a level’s time goal.
In an attempt to spice things up, the game includes a buff bar that gradually refills, offering you the ability to periodically speed up peon movement or freeze the clock. None of the available buffs were game-changers, though, and most of the time we simply forgot they existed.
Hills like white elephants.
Additionally, Nevosoft occasionally includes levels that break continuity and require you to swat at objects like hornets before they attack your workers and raid your resources. While we appreciate the developers’ attempts to vary the gameplay, these levels quickly become tiresome and repetitive, and feel like a boring round of whack-a-mole.
To make things worse, touch responsiveness is inconsistent across the board. Even though individual levels make good use of the iPad’s screen real estate, objects and resources are often clustered together closely and may be clumsy to select.
Finally, the game’s $4.99 price point, which would not be unreasonable for a challenging, innovative time management game, is a dicey proposition, considering the sheer number worthy entries in the field. Tycoon devotees may enjoy My Kingdom for the Princess 2, but most will likely think it’s a snore.