As I've mentioned in the past, I certainly have a thing for indie games, particular ones that evoke a retro or old-school kind of vibe. It's almost to the point where I can log into Steam, search for indie games, and find something within a handful of minutes that I will probably like. At least this time, it's not in Early Release...
My latest find is a game known simply as Kingdom. Kingdom is a side-scrolling strategy game where you are tasked as the monarch of a new kingdom to establish a new outpost in the wilderness and fend off the increasing hordes of monsters that descend upon your fledgling civilization each night. But what sets this game apart from all others is the shocking simplicity of the gameplay. Your nameless sovereign literally can only do three things: ride his/her steed at a walk, ride at a run, or drop coins. Using only these three options, you must build a settlement, raise walls and guard towers, recruit and equip an army, fend off horrifying monsters, and somehow put an end to the monsters' once and for all. Fail to hold back the monsters, and eventually they will steal your sovereign's crown. And no crown means no kingdom; in other words, game over.
To accomplish all of this, you have a single resource at your disposal: gold. As the game opens, you find a couple handfuls of coins lying around, which you automatically pick up and drop into your coin purse (which is visually represented in the upper-left corner). Money can be acquired from a few different sources: taxes, which you receive on each new day; directly from the corpses of woodland creatures (but not, sadly, from monsters); crops, which are paid for by your farmer as they grow them; and the rare treasure chest found in the wilderness.
I hesitate to say more; in fact, I've already probably said too much, because at its heart Kingdom is about figuring out what you're supposed to do, then figuring out how to do it more efficiently, and then finally figuring out how to actually beat the game. The introduction gives you just enough instruction to get you started, then leaves you to figure out the rest on your own. And this is definitely one of those games that once you figure everything out, most of the challenge is gone.
The production values are good, with a beautiful pixel-art style, haunting music, and decent sound effects that all seem to fit well with the game's simplistic approach. You also have the ability to change the skin tone and gender of your sovereign at the game's start (although you'll have to discover exactly how on your own), or you can keep the randomly assigned characteristics you start with.
Intrigued? It's only $9.99 on Steam, so it's hard to beat that price. So check out the video below, and get your hands on Kingdom. I'm pretty sure you'll like it - I certainly do!