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Review: Kingdom Elemental January 3, 2007

Posted by Jesse in : Game Reviews , trackback

Game: Kingdom Elemental
Developer: Chronic Logic
Version: This is a review of the full version of the game.
Recommendation: Try it

I bought this game without playing the demo. I almost never do that. But it’s from Chronic Logic (the makers of the fantastic Gish), who I trust to show me a good time, and it was getting all kinds of acclaim, including placing well in a couple of GameTunnel’s Best of 2007 categories. I don’t regret that purchase for a second. This is a fun game.

It’s like a cross beween Starcraft and Master of Defense. (Which are both games I’m glad that I own.) You start each level with a limited budget, which you can spend on placing some units onto a battlefield. Then, when you’re ready, you signal the start of the round, and then you have to face off against several waves of enemies with the units you hired.

The units types are pretty diverse, and once you get the hang of controlling them, the game feels like playing a massively multiplayer roleplaying game, but now you got to control the entire group. You’ve got your “tank” unit, the warrior, who can’t do much damage, but can sure take a pounding, and can taunt the enemies to keep them away from your weaker units. There’s the archer, who conversely does tons of damage, but can’t take much of a hit at all. Priests can heal your other units, and if you upgrade them, can bring your units back to life after they die. Druids can give a couple of major buffs to one unit, and bards give minor buffs to everyone. Necromancers instill fear into an enemy, sending them fleeing, as well as summoning a warrior skeleton from fallen foes. My favorite class is the ridiculously powerful, but incredibly expensive wizards, who can pull meteors down onto the enemies heads, summon pets that do incredible damage, and can create a magic shield around any unit, making them virtually invincible. (There are a couple of other units, but these are my favorites.)

Since there are so many different types of units, there are alot of different ways to play the game. You can build a balanced team, putting your warrior types up front, with healers nearby, with a couple of damage dealers in the back. You could go completely aggressive, with all heavy hitters, and try to take the enemies down before they get you. You could be conservative, and use enough healers to keep all of your units alive. You can try to outmaneuver the enemies with your fast moving units, while plinking them down slowly. There’s lots of options, and I love that.

One complaint I’ve read a few times is that the game is too difficult, even on easy. I disagree, but I think that’s because I understood what the developers were going for. You need to find the perfect strategy for every difficult battle. Just throwing out a few warriors, archers, and priests isn’t going to be enough to win every battle. But I love working on perfecting a strategy, and recognize that it’s not for everyone.

I recommend you go grab the demo. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Gameplay movie (from YouTube):


1. Supra - January 31, 2007

This is truly a very good game. I’ve played my way to the third stage so far and am able to look at the last set of unlockable characters. The gameplay is very unique due to the fact that there are many different ways to beat a level as mentioned in your review. The ‘professional’ game this reminds me of the most is the Myth series of games by Bungie (makers of Halo if you live in a hole). I would be extremely curious to see if the creator of Kingdom Elemental got much of his inspiration from Myth since a lot of the characteristics are similar. The pause feature in combat is well thought out. I was disappointed when I was introduced to the idea during the game’s tutorial, but I game to rely on it during the second and third boss battles. There is one drawback to the game that I found. There are not too many hotkeys available which cause a lot of mouse clicks. A hotkey for switching unit types during the match would have been nice as well as a hotkey for selecting which units to purchase at the beginning of a round would have been nice. Those are minor quibbles however and the creator of the game probably intended things to function this way so players would use the pause feature. Still, they would be nice in a patch. All in all – this is a great game. Buy it!

2. Jill - August 3, 2007

i need to try this game. where at?

3. Maxim - October 15, 2007

Graphic is perfect!!!