Developer: GAMEVIL
Price: Free
Version: 1.0.2
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

IMG_0454Two-dimensional brawlers and kingdom building seem like two completely disparate genres of game. In Kingdom & Dragons, GAMEVIL has attempted to meld the two into a single, cohesive product. Can they successfully manage to merge the worlds of combat and city expansion, or are the gameplay mechanics too different to meet in the middle?

City building has existed on iOS since the App Store first opened its doors, so it is curious to see Kingdom & Dragons be one of GAMEVIL’s first tepid steps into the genre. Even more curious is the choice to piggyback this functionality on the coattails of what is ostensibly a Streets of Rage-esque brawler. This is not to say that the combat is anywhere near as one dimensional, but the title’s limited RPG elements do very little to augment the core gameplay.

Each stage consists of a strictly confined battle area, where enemies will spawn in waves as others are cleared away. Most of the combat strategy consists of moving around as quickly as possible, so that adversarial character models end up piling on top of each other, then hacking and slashing them to bits as fast as possible. Throughout missions and during leveling up, special attacks can be unlocked and upgraded, very similar to what might be found in a traditional dungeon crawler.

IMG_0457In another nod to the RPG elements of dungeon crawlers, each successful stage also results in a loot drop. These items, which are of both weapon and gear variety, can be equipped on the player’s avatar in order to increase their stats. Unfortunately, no matter what items are attached to the hero, their character model remains the same. Why a wooden shield looks like a finely crafted steel instrument of defense in the arena makes no sense. This surely must be the product of a magical spell of some sort… right?

Remember the city building aspects of the game alluded to earlier? Sadly the developers didn’t. The current version of Kingdom & Dragons only uses the city’s structures to generate gold for the player over time, with the single exception of the blacksmith which can craft and enchant gear. There currently is a “Coming Soon” area shown, so maybe don’t lose complete faith yet. Who knows what the next update might hold? Also, the free-to-play round respawn intervals rear its ugly head once again. Expect for play sessions to be brief once the early stages of quickly leveling up have subsided.

For all of the potential that was possible thanks to this curious mishmash of styles, it would have been nice to see a more polished product in at least one of the genre slices. Even though the combat is initially amusing, small nagging details like grating, repetitive sound effects could ultimately end up driving the player away. That said, for a free game, even getting a couple of hours of fun might be enough justify the download.

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