Since this is my first ever review, I thought I’d introduce myself.
Hi, I’m Colin. Now! On to the good stuff!
I want to love Kingdom Elemental. Not like, I do like it…I want to LOVE it. It’s a game by gamers, for gamers, without the limitation of some big-time publisher holding it back. This, of course, is great, but also has it’s pitfalls, most of which Kingdom Elemental avoids. I say MOST. Now…this may be hard for me…because it makes me ashamed, as a gamer, playing a game for gamers, by gamers…but it was too hard…
There…I said it; think of me what you will! Even on normal (the lowest difficulty setting), the campaign became too hard for me. I got stuck multiple times, once or twice coming back and finding that the same challenge simply required a party change up, but later discovering that I just couldn’t win, no matter what I tried! Of course, this may be because I went all goopy and spent all my unlock points on the bard, but still! That being said, I can’t even review the entire game, so take note that this review may be a little inaccurate and underwhelming. I apologize.
First of all, as a 3D artist, I would really like to stress how much I love and appreciate the style of this game. The environment art is very attractive. Not picture-perfect photo realism, but stylized and unique and gorgeous, especially for an independent title, which usually get the short end of the stick, art-wise. If anything, play this game to enjoy the scenery and see how an indie title should look. The only one complaint I have about the artwork is that some of the interface is a little sloppy looking and oversized, taking up a lot of screen space and contrasting rather sharply with the quality of the 3D artwork.
Secondly, I really really enjoyed the sense of humor this game portrays, constantly breaking the fourth wall and mocking fantasy games, even its self, with a very well-labeled map including areas like Low Level Forest and Pointless Decorative Island. The narrator of the simple storyline who begins each chapter is apparently quite frustrated that he, a grand wizard, has to stoop so low as to need a job doing voiceovers, never really getting to any storytelling at all, more complaining about MMOs and bad RPGs, though it’s quite enjoyable, nonetheless. Knights are boring sleepy characters, yawning at the end of each spoken sentence, scantily clad archers beg for more armor, and my favorite, bards, are ditzy valley girls. There aren’t a lot of sound bites, but there are amusing ones, though the repetition may get on your nerves.
The game itself is combat real-time strategy in its simplest form. Players decide which units they want to take into battle, with a pre-determined amount of money to spend on them, and then the combat begins! From here out, it’s your typical RTS. You can activate unit abilities, designate targets, and, if the fighting gets too crazy, you can pause the game and give orders. Here’s where I think the game fell short. I thought this was why I was having such trouble at later levels, but pausing only gave me more time before my posse of bards was inevitably slaughtered. The combat was so slow-paced that the pause button seemed irrelevant, and most of the game was spent watching my warriors attack things while making sure they held the attention (or aggro, for you WoW players) of anything that might wander off to attack my healer or archer. And I really do mean watching.
Another very cool aspect of combat is the waves of monsters that attack. Instead of killing everything on screen and getting a victory message, you must suffer through multiple waves of creatures before the “round” is over, which is a potentially very fun element of a combat RTS. Though, in this case, it added a lot of difficulty and frustration to my game, when, sometimes, I couldn’t quite finish up one enemy before a whole wave of archers would emerge and slaughter my slow warriors before they had a chance to get close enough to fight.
Don’t get me wrong, though! Despite all these difficulties I had (and keep in mind, it may just be me…I’d like to think I’m not terrible at games, but I very well could be!) I really do like the game. I mean, I tried to get farther…A LOT…I really did! It is a really solid concept with great artwork and a great sense of humor. The game could be perfect with a little tweaking, as it’s probably the best indie game I’ve played in a long time, and I would definitely play it again. I want to unlock more characters and get to the Clichéd Final Boss Area, dammit!