This week, one of the absolute best real-time strategy games for mobile got a big new update. Kingdom Two Crowns now offers a new campaign type for purchase, and it puts you in the saddle of ruling over a Norse kingdom. I spent quite a bit of time with this new expansion, entitled Norse Lands, to see what kinds of things it offers beyond the base game. For the most part, it gives a new coat of paint to what is already a fantastic game, but there are a few twists it puts on the base game to make it a worthy pickup for anyone who enjoyed it.
The first thing to note about Norse Lands is it isn't free. This expansion is the first paid add-on for the game and it costs $ 3. For that price, you unlock access to start a new kingdom inspired by Viking culture and lore. A couple of things to note about this unlock before you even start playing it: This introduction of a fourth biome to the game doesn't coincide with expanded save slots, so if you've been managing kingdoms in all three of the base game's modes, you'll have to get rid of one to start Norse Lands. Secondly, the minimal UI in Kingdom Two Crowns might make it difficult to understand how to start a game using the new expansion. To access it, make sure to swipe over to Norse Lands when you see the new game title card to make the switch official.
Once you're on your way, Norse Lands doesn't feel like a dramatic overhaul to Two Crowns, but it offers some beautiful visual variety and some notable new mechanics. Most of these changes seem to center around managing combat. In addition to a new unit type--the dual axe-wielding berserkers--you can drop coins at statues that emerge by your kingdom gates to send soldiers out in front of your walls to defend them from attacking monsters. As a trade-off, you don't have access to catapults and it seems like your wall strength overall is a little weaker than other biomes.
There are also some seemingly universal changes to the game that come with access to Norse Lands. There are new mounts to discover and a new way for managing your kingdom's population. Previous iterations of the game had beggar camps you basically had to rely on to keep growing your populace. In this expansion, you can clear out beggar camps and replace them with houses that passively generate population, though you have to pay an increased price to put them to work for you. By universal, I mean that these particular changes seem to carryover into other biomes, so even if you want to pick up your Shogun or Dead Lands kingdoms, you can find new mounts and create houses in them as well.
All told, nothing in Norse Lands feels dramatically different than other aspects of Kingdom Two Crowns, but it does provide some more variety and discovery, all of which strengthen the overall package. One of the best parts of the base game was finding new interesting things in the lands that you slowly tamed over time, and now there is just more of that to do. For anyone who played and enjoyed Kingdom Two Crowns, Norse Lands is a great--albeit unsurprising--reason to hop back into this great game.