Kingdom New Lands is by no means a new game but since I have recently been playing it on the Switch I was reminded how simple systems can lead to a really fun game that is perfect for a handheld system.
Kingdom New Lands is a kingdom building sim that involves growing your settlement from a small camp to a large castle and defending it from ever larger waves of monsters that attack every night. After you have built up enough you can take the fight to the portals that spawn the monsters or you can repair a ship and move on to the next island to start the process all over again. The game doesn’t hold your hand and you learn the systems by playing and experimenting.
You control the King or Queen and your only input is to either walk or run on your horse and pick up and drop coins. The game is played with a very simple system of collecting coins and then either giving them to peasants to recruit them or placing it in various structures to get things such as weapons or tools for the peasants to equip or to build or upgrade walls and towers. Coins can be found in chests but for the most part, you will get them by having your archers hunt the wildlife and later on having your farmers gather wheat. Buildings are set in set places that are slightly different in every game. This limits your tactical options but it is perfect for a game on a system such as the Switch cause who wants to have to plan an entire layout while you’re on the train. As you explore further from you camp you discover shrines that empower either archers or workers but need coins to activate them. Exploring is always a gamble as you have to be careful not to be out at night or get close to the portals that spawn monsters as your health is tied to your coins, every hit will take one coin and if you run out of coins the next hit knocks off your crown and if a monster gets that its all over. Once you move on to the next land you arrive with a few builders and archers to start all over again.
There isn’t really a story in the game it starts with you randomly being either a King or Queen and then a ghost of a former royal leads you to the starting camp and then you are on your own to work it out. I don’t find the lack of story to be an issue as the set up allows you to create your own story as you play.
There is no voice acting in the game but it’s not needed and wouldn’t fit with the simplistic tone. All the sound effects are competent and the music is very nice.
The game has a beautiful pixel art 2-D style. Everything you need to see is easily communicated by the game and it looks great on either the TV or the Switch’s screen.
I have not run into many bugs but sometimes the game will slow right down and the framerate really drags. This normally sorts itself out after a few minutes but can be very annoying.
This is a great game that I enjoyed massively on the Switch. It is simple enough that you can play it while doing other things but complex enough to retain your interest. It can sometimes be a bit repetitive when you have to start from scratch again but I enjoyed trying to find the most efficient way to build as quick as possible. It has made it to my list of games to always have on me because you can play it for a few minutes and come back to it or sit down for a few hours to play it. I look forward to the sequel especially playing the multiplayer with my girlfriend.