Kingdom – Review
Follow Genre: Indie 2D sidescroller strategy and resource management game
Developer: Noio, Licorice
Publisher: Raw fury
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux
Tested on: PC

Kingdom – Review

Site Score
Good: Gorgeous graphics, great atmosphere, easy to play, hard to master, attacks are surprisingly thrilling
Bad: Galloping from one side of the Kingdom to the other gets tedious quite quickly
User Score
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Every nation is doomed to fall. The question, however, is when. This is exactly the concept Noio and Licorice seem to be playing with in their latest title. In Kingdom you take control of a royal’s actions and coin purse. Will you be able to create a mighty settlement or will it crumble in front of your eyes?

Kingdom Title game start


Kingdom in itself does not really come with a full story. The game starts by telling the player the king or queen brings the crown to a new land before allowing them to roam and create their own story. However, every playthrough has the same basic elements and thus the same implied story base.

Every game starts with a kingdom-less royal looking for a new land to rule and subjects to govern. It is unclear what has happened to the monarch’s previous home, yet there is enough implied to know it crumbled and vanished. You, as king or queen, can not let the golden crown on your head go to waste though. Travelling the broken land, you pick up new subjects and start building a nation. However, dark forces are at play. The nights that should allow your subjects to rest are filled with terror, leaving you and your people to fight for your lives and the crown. How long will your kingdom survive this time?

Kingdom 1


The whole game is composed of incredible pixelart. Weather, the day and night cycle, even the little activities people and animals in and outside the settlement do are laced with detail. Foggy, cloudy, sunny… even the blood moon is done in such a way that you can nearly feel the scenery buzzing through the screen. This pixillated reality only works to the player’s advantage, as any change can hint at what might come. For example, keeping an eye out for what time of day it is crucial in order to plan your defences or even predict the amount of enemies you might be facing during the night.

Speaking of enemies, the thieving things have simple yet very effective design. Colour-coded with shadowy grey and red, it’s clear from the start that these beings mean trouble. The way they move, attack and die also leave you to wonder about their true identity until you set out to explore.

Kingdom 2

What’s also great, is that the race of the king and queen aren’t set in stone. They can pretty much be any colour or age and always get generated randomly. Even your horse and flag can look different with each new game.

The most marvellous thing however, is the water. Despite it being pixilated, it looks incredibly real, leaving us to wonder if the creators accomplished this feat out of sheer awesomeness, or by offering their firstborns to some obscure demon lord. With the first option being the sole possible answer, we can only tip our hats in adoration.


Kingdom comes with a highly atmospheric soundtrack. There is no speech, just simple ambient music and well picked sound effects to draw you into the world. It’s a simplicity that works wonders, as it helps set a mood of mystery during daytime and sheer angst when the ominous red blood moon is standing high.

Kingdom blood moon


Kingdom is a minimalist 2D sidescrolling strategy and resource management game. You play as a monarch, whom gets randomly generated at the start of every play through. Your most important features are your coin purse, your trusted steed and of course your fancy golden crown. In the entire game, there are only three keys you’ll use, making this title extremely simple to play. Moving along the wide horizontal land is done with the left and right arrow keys. In order to speed up, a double tap on the desired direction launches your steed into a gallop until either you allow it to rest or until it’s out of breath. The third key is the down arrow and is basically used for every action involving money such as recruitment, upgrading or even activating curious artifacts.

The goal of the game is to basically safeguard your crown from being stolen by the nefarious creatures that come out at night. To establish this, you need ways to raise money as a purse full of coin equals means to pay the people working under you. For example, in order to recruit your first subjects, you need to donate money to the homeless living in tents across the land. However, simply recruiting them won’t add anything towards the establishment of your kingdom. No, you need to invest even more coin into the production of tools so they can pick up a job and help build, defend or trade.

Kingdom 3

Setting up your first camp is your ticket to being able to enlist your recruits into picking up various jobs like builder or archer. As can be expected, even this demands a certain amount of coin and so you quickly learn that in order to move forward, it is up to you to take proper care of your wealth. Putting your coins in the wrong upgrade for example, can soon mean an empty purse.

There are various ways to amass a fortune. One is through exploration, as the map itself features a couple of locations that hold chests full of cash. Other ways are through your loyal subjects that happily donate their own newfound wealth for the glory of the settlement. This part is a little tricky though, as you need to pass by your people in order to know if they have coin on them or not. If your dominion has grown out to reach the corners of the map, this moving from one end to the other can unfortunately become very tedious.

While gathering gold and building an armed nation are done by day, night is the time to defend it. When the sun sets and the moon rises, black and red creatures from a different realm come to invade and plunder. Their goal is to steal. However, if there is nothing to take, they happily kill and go after the one last bit of gold you hold dear: the crown. Losing this costly piece of headgear results in an instant game over, so making sure your kingdom is creeper-proof before nightfall, is an important part of the game.

Kingdom 4

During regular nights, your army and walls can probably easily take the creatures on, even with your soldiers’ sometimes appalling aim. However, when the moon turns red, all bets are off. During blood moon sequences, massive armies of monsters swarm both sides of the settlement, leaving plots you’ve worked so hard to get near bare. Also, the longer your kingdom survives, the bigger and stronger the variation in enemies you will face get.

Though Kingdom is one of these games that shows that -sometimes- less does equal more, it isn’t entirely void of frustration. We already mentioned the tediousness of having to gallop through an enormous settlement just to collect your income. The same can be said about checking up on suffered casualties. The game does not feature a quick way to tell you how many people are in your care. In other words, it gets harder and harder to figure out how many people still have a job and how many have lost their lives during the nightly attacks. This can result in a rather toilsome finale in which it feels as if all you do is running from one side to the other. Nevertheless, it’s all part of the minimalistic principle the game is built on and quickly makes you realise: yes, my kingdom can fall.

Kingdom end


As a 2D sidescrolling strategy and resource management game, Kingdom is a pure example of what ‘less is more’ can mean. Easy to learn, but hard to master, it demands the player to confront the transience of all things while speaking to man’s innate call to protect what he has built. The graphics are absolutely stunning and immediately help set the general atmosphere for this wondrous title. The simplicity of the gameplay and even its minimalist storytelling, help underline this feeling even further. Unfortunately, the absence of a quick way to check up on the number of people you have under your care, can add more than a little frustration the further you get into the game. Especially when the thieving demon armies keep growing in size. Nevertheless, Kingdom is a very fun casual game which can be enjoyed by a broad audience.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Kingdom – Review, 8.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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