iPad Game Review: My Kingdom For The Princess
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
My Kingdom for the Princess (MKftP) is an excellent time-management game where you are tasked with rebuilding the kingdom following a devastating Tornado. Throughout the increasingly challenging levels, you will collect resources, clear, roads, and rebuild bridges in order to gain access to the next level.
MKftP is one of those games that, although it was originally developed for the PC, feels like it was designed with a touch interface in mind. Your goal in each screen is to clear the road to the next level. Thankfully, the task is much more challenging and interesting than it sounds. For example, in order to complete the necessary tasks, you must have workers; so you must build and upgrade dwellings. These workers must be fed however, so you must also build the necessary farms. Now that you have a number of well-fed workers, you set to clearing not only the road leading to the next level, but also the roads leading to additional resources; which you will need to complete your goal. Structures must be built/repaired/improved in the right order or you will likely find yourself short one or more of the three primary resources necessary to complete tasks (wood, gold, and food). If this happens, your only option is to retry the level. To compound the problem, you are often required to complete special tasks such as gathering clams or planting flowers; Failure to do so will prevent you from successfully completing the level, as will not achieving your goal in the allotted time.
As I said earlier, this game seems perfectly suited for the iPad?s large screen and multi-touch interface. I have never played the computer version, but I suspect that the need to move your mouse quickly and accurately, focusing one at-a-time on individual tasks, adds another layer of challenge to the game. With the iPad however, I quickly learned to hold both hands over the screen, lightly touching where needed with the finger that was closest to whatever needed my attention. With a little practice it became intuitive, and the interface seemed to fall away, leaving nothing between me and the game.
The adventure mode offers 40 levels of play and, sadly, there is no free play or ?sandbox? mode. After spending some time with the game, I realized that this is most likely due to the fact that each level is highly balanced in order to offer just the right amount of challenge. These levels scale as you progress, making sure that you always feel a bit behind the curve. If you are looking for a relaxing puzzle game, this is not it; however it doesn?t pretend to be. MKftP is a game that requires your full attention, but will reward the tenacious player with thoughtfully designed levels, and challenging, although finite gameplay.
My Kingdom for the Princess is a beautiful game, filled with hand-drawn 2D sprites. The graphics are crisp and colorful, and perfectly suited for this type of game. Everything is beautifully animated and runs without a hitch on my iPad. One nice touch is the inclusion of a castle that slowly improves as you progress through the game. This is a satisfying way of gauging your progress and is a nice little touch.
The sound effects in MKftP are a nice collection of samples ranging from sawing wood, to musical fanfares. The soundtrack consists of light and airy folk music, and is a good fit. There are no iPod music controls within the game, so if you want to listen to your own music you will need to start it before you launch the game.
If you're a fan of time management games, My Kingdom for the Princess comes highly recommended. It is a solid and original offering with enough content to keep you busy for quite a while. The levels, while static, are highly varied and well-balanced. The inability to play individual levels or tinker around in an untimed "sandbox" mode are somewhat missed, however there is plenty of content here to justify the purchase price.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Beautiful 2D sprites that are smoothly animated.
Sound: - 3 - Decent in-game sounds. If you want music, however, start your own before you launch the game.
Controls: - 5 - Makes excellent use of the iPad?s touchscreen. After a while, you won?t even have to think about the interface.
Gameplay: - 4 - If you like time management games, this one?s for you. The lack of a freeplay mode is missed, but the adventure is well-designed.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Don't be afraid to dive right in to get a feel for the game as there is no penalty for retrying levels. Pay attention to the order that tasks that must be completed to avoid finding yourself terminally short of a key resource with no way to acquire it.
Release Date: June 18, 2010
Price: $.99 (currently on sale)
Buy App: My Kingdom For The Princess
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