Kingdom Conquest by SEGA is a worldwide MMORTS/RPG game that has a relatively complex structure for a mobile game, yet keeps the gameplay fun and addictive. First released in Japan and then in North American and Europe, Kingdom Conquest continues to gain players around the world, and you need other players as there are different aspects of cooperative gameplay with your fellow gamers. You build and expand your kingdom by fighting in dungeons with your fellow gamers and by conquering territories with the monsters you acquire in your dungeon fights.
MMORPG genre has made a strong entry on iOS platform, but truly balanced titles with longevity have been hard to come by. Games such as Castlecraft are fun at first, but soon as you quickly run out resources you have to scramble up an army to conquer territories to gain resources, and only to get taken away by more powerful players. Kingdom Conquest avoids most of these tiring seesawing battles that only waste your resources but don't add much enjoyment by giving every player enough potentially territories to support their kingdom and the need for players to joint together for a common goal.
Kingdom Conquest currently has over 60 worlds where the game places towers with strong defense for players to take over. The AI is set up in such a way that it's almost impossible for a single player to take over an evil tower. You must form or join alliances and take down the tower together with your alliance members. In more mature Worlds, tower controls change hands from one alliance to another as they battle for control. One very crucial difference between Kingdom Conquest and games like Castlecraft is that players gain very handsome rewards when they take down towers from the game compared to raiding other players' kingdoms. And everyone in the alliance who gains control of the tower gets rewards, not just the leader of the alliance.
If you are just starting out, you are long way from conquering a tower. Kingdom Conquest has massive gameplay in building and harvesting resources, complete with a long building tree. There are the usually resource gathering type of buildings such as ironwork (iron), field (food), woodwork (wood) and stonework (stone), as well as storage and trading buildings. Then there are those unusual buildings for military purposes such as monster research lab, Demihuman research lab, Spirit research lab, etc. for you to keep an army. It's already very interesting when you can build an army that includes golems, wolves, spirit and zombies, but the game adds another layer of depth to your army building: you can synthesis any unit with other units and orbs. You rarely see the depth of unit modification in a MMORPG title on iOS.
You won't get the monsters just because you built a research lab. You have to acquire them in dungeon fights. Choosing from three classes of heroes you can join up to 3 other players to fight and defeat monsters in dungeon towers and gain access to your army units and better equipments for your hero. This again is another area where Kingdom Conquest got it right. You can fight in the dungeons by yourself, but what fun is that? You can either open a dungeon or wait for others to join you, or you can search in the Lobby and find dungeons that are still looking for players, either way you have more power and higher success rate when you join together with other players. Once you clear a dungeon you gain a dungeon clearing ticket to draw a card from that particular dungeon (different towers as your hero gains levels). The game gives you other ways to draw more cards (for monsters and equipments) from the same dungeon/towers. There are several dozen cards in each dungeon pack and as you unlock more dungeons/towers, you gain many more. For unwanted monsters you can use them to synthesis for their skills or create orbs that can enhance other units. For unwanted equipments you can sell back for crystals with which you can draw more cards from unlocked packs.
Perhaps the most ingenious part of the gameplay is how everything is rely on something else, therefore you must keep the gameplay balanced and it also prevents the gameplay from advancing too fast. All buildings including production and military types have upgrade levels and benefits, and all monsters as well as your hero gain experience points for leveling up as they fight each battle. Different buildings give you access to different types of monsters and different levels grant you more options to build a larger and stronger army. When your monsters fight to gain territories they also gain experience levels. Everything in this game seems to related to something else, and more you play the better strategies become clearer to you.
Kingdom Conquest has effective graphics and intuitive menu. The city and territory views have 2D graphics that you can see each building clearly and supports pinch zooming. The menu UI might look overwhelming in the beginning, but there is a pretty good walkthrough at the start of the game to familiarize you with the controls and menu. There is also an in-game help where you can check out the basic info on the building, units, points, etc. but there is a lot more info that's unsaid here, the knowledge that you must play and experience in the game to gain.
Kingdom Conquest has 3D graphics in dungeon fights where your hero and his friends fight different monsters. The 3D graphics run smoothly and there are a few pre-made greetings you can use to communicate with your fellow fighters. The game runs natively on iPhone and iPod touch, but not on iPad.
Kingdom Conquest offers a few soundtracks for different locations, such as city building, dungeon fighting, waiting in the lobby for other players, etc. These are nothing to write home about. There are also sound FX for dungeon fighting actions, again just enough to give you audio feedback on your actions.
If you are looking for a balanced MMORPG with a strong RTS flair, Kingdom Conquest is worth a look. It's a freemium game with IAP points to speed up the gameplay, but if you are fond of intricate real time strategies, Kingdom Conquest provides plenty to learn, to strategize and to think about. The mixture of monster army and RPG style hero fighting is very unique. The building tree and advancing logic ensure the game last for a while, and soon you will find yourself thinking about the strategies even when you are not playing the game.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -4- Good and effective graphics. Sound: -3.5- Enough to keep things interesting. Controls: -4.5- Smooth and intuitive. Gameplay: -5- Excellent building tree, expansive gameplay, cooperative dungeon crawling.
Playing Hints and Tips:
-Read the Help file first to learn some basics about the game. -Do learn how to synthesis monsters, it's fun. Also gives you a much better army. -The game has a timer (season), so keep an eye on that.