Developer Noumena is perhaps best known for their success with strategy app Warring States. Their latest effort, Kingdom Story XD, is a decidedly more stylized effort — a multiplayer-centric world-building playground with the allure of gems and other niceties for players to quickly erect a kingdom worth going to battle for.
Kingdom Story XD is your every-day, run-of-the-mill kingdom sim with an anime aesthetic. Amongst a network of other players, you’re tasked with navigating through a series of menus (albeit well-designed ones) and managing multiple resources (you know the score: lumber, food, units, etc) in order to create a formidable kingdom that might challenge the creations of other players. Once you’ve raised a decent army and have a reasonable amount of resources at your disposal — level 5′s a good starting point — it’s time to get into war with other players.
Eat your heart out, Disneyland.
You’ve likely seen and heard all this before, and this go-around is 100% similar. You need farms, quarries, and other encampments to ensure your success as well as the currency to back the kingdom of your dreams once it’s been built. That’s where Kingdom Story XD’s got you: its gem system. Gems allow players to purchase and upgrade augments and are earned in-game as bonuses (along with item drops that never quite trigger when you need them) or may be purchased for a head-start.
Noumena even rewards players for rating the app 5 stars with a bonus 20 gems currently, with a tiered pricing system for players looking for a way to get ahead without scrambling into combat with the various monster units found within. Because of this, PvP instances (as I personally discovered) were often frustratingly fuitle affairs in which I learned I would continually be crushed by more powerful players until I found a way to match their level. The same dilemma seems to occur in many other examples within the genre, a frustrating one to be sure.
We built this city on rocks and sand.
Aside from its obvious headaches involving multiplayer and combative aspects, Kingdom Story XD is still quite addictive. It’s an interesting challenge to see how quickly and efficiently you can raise a competitive kingdom with the resources at your disposal. There are several soldier and mercenary classes to choose from to grow your armies, and a good mix of special enemies to fell along the way. Plus, the game itself is quite cheap if you decline the extra in-game purchases of gems — though it’s often tempting to make real-world cash trades for such a hot commodity. In the end, it depends on how willing you are to rise above your human opponents.
Kingdom Story XD is a good time for what it is, and feels quite intuitive. It’s just not as welcoming for new players as other entries in the same genre. If you’re looking for a good timesink and/or money pit (buying gems will become addictive) then you could do worse.