You’d be forgiven for thinking Kings & Warlords was a Kabam game at first glance, since its structure, interface and indeed gameplay is almost identical to Kabam’s popular Facebook and mobile titles. Thematically, it is closest to Kingdoms of Camelot, with the action unfolding in a medieval fantasy world and the player training various types of troop with which to defend their kingdom.
As with many other examples of this type of game, it begins with a rather rushed tutorial that quickly ushers the player through the basics of attacking enemy territories, building items in their home kingdom and managing quests. The tutorial doesn’t really stop to explain anything it is showing the player in great detail, and it is of the breed that refuses to allow the player to click on anything else until they have done exactly what they have been told. Once the tutorial is complete, the player is given a little more freedom to do as they please, but they are still heavily encouraged in the direction of a sequence of tedious, simplistic quests that, again, don’t really explain why the player is being asked to do these things.
As with Kabam’s titles, Kings & Warlords is split into two main components — building up a kingdom and attacking other territories. While building the kingdom, players are able to research new technologies, train troops and build things at the same time, but only one of each action may be performed at once. Various buildings improve the player’s income of various resources or allow them a higher cap on troops or items, and most activities take a period of real time to complete. As always, these delays may be bypassed with hard currency or with special items that are occasionally provided as rewards.
Meanwhile, attacking other territories is done on an overview map of the game world, which is divided into tiles. Clicking on a tile allows the player to retrieve information about it, though detailed information on enemy forces may only be acquired through the use of spy units. If the player desires, they may attack and capture a tile in an attempt to add it to their territory. If this option is chosen, the player selects the number of troops they wish to send to the battle, select a basic strategy to follow in the battle and apply special “charms” to give bonuses to the troops’ abilities. Any “heroes” the player has on staff may also be sent to lead the charge, providing an advantage. It then takes a period of real time for the army to march to the battle — though again, this delay may be bypassed with hard currency. Once the army reaches its destination, the player is given a report on the battle, including a round-by-round playback of what happened at each stage. If they win, they capture the territory and its corresponding bonuses; if they lose, the troops sent into the fray are lost.
Play then continues with players working their way through quests, battling against computer-controlled opponents and eventually other players for control of the map. Like Kabam’s titles, the game incorporates real-time chat and alliance facilities, allowing players to team up with one another against common foes.
The “Kings and Warlords” aspect of the game’s title comes into play with the quests available. “King” quests are focused on building up the kingdom; “Warlord” quests are focused on going out into the field and battling enemies. The player is encouraged to do both things by a meter which fills with completed quests in each category; filling the meter provides the player with rewards.
Ultimately, Kings & Warlords isn’t a bad game, it just doesn’t really do anything new. This sort of game is generally a niche interest anyway due to its incredibly slow pacing, time-consuming nature and lack of visual pizzazz, and thus Digital Chocolate may find it difficult to draw users away from Kabam’s more well-established and successful entries in this genre. It’s one to watch for now, then, and perhaps check back on in the future if the developers decide to add any new features to particularly distinguish it from the titles it is imitating.