Kingdom Catastrophes review
App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Kingdom Catastrophes is an rpg storybook about saving a fantasy world from destruction. The only problem is that you have just six days to do it and you don't know where to start. With a little experimentation and luck, you may just save the kingdom, though this game seems more intent on hiding satisfying conclusions and outcomes to its short story than it is on just about anything else.
Although Kingdom Catastrophes has you pick a character, choose a class, and level stats, it truly is more like a "choose-your-own-adventure" book than it is a traditional role-playing game. Each day, you pick where you want your character to go, which sets off what is usually a strange vignette where you get a choice or two as to how to respond before being rewarded (or punished) with stat modifiers or a gain/loss of funds.
Your ultimate goal is to find a progression of these experiences that adequately prepares you for the coming disaster. In theory, this means having strong stats that you've been able to push even further through purchased upgrades on the eve before the event. In practice, it's a bit of a crapshoot because you don't really have a good way of knowing which disaster you'll get on any given playthrough.
Humor is hard
The events in Kingdom Catastrophes are impossible to predict. Even if you go to the same places with the same character on the same days, the events are not guaranteed to be the same. Based on the pitch materials for the game, this seems to be part of how the game wants to create humor.
Unfortunately, that's about as far as this game's sense of comedy goes. Every action you choose certainly results in something you didn't expect, but the way they are written or presented is nothing more than absurd or brow-raising at best. You can play Kingdom Catastrophes with multiple players which I imagine could create some laughs upon seeing how your companions fare or fail at specific tasks, but the game itself doesn't come off as the barrel of laughs it advertises itself as.
Without much humor or consistency, Kingdom Catastrophes can frustrate quickly. The game boasts over 100 different endings, but finding any of them relies on a lot of luck (and your own resolve to keep looking). All too often, though, you'll find yourself at the default "dead end" conclusion where the fantasy town you're supposed to save gets destroyed and you are essentially exiled and forgotten.
For a game that wants to serve up so much variety, it strikes as odd that so much of it gets hidden behind layers of randomness that get increasingly maddening to navigate. As a result, it's likely (as it was for me) that you'll be ready to put the game down before you unlock a single special ending.
The bottom line
Game books can be entertaining and fun to explore over and over again, but not if they actively try to keep you from figuring them out. Kingdom Catastrophes has some solid ideas on how to layer light systems on top of a storybook adventure, but those give you no actual sense of control over how to jump through the right random hoops to progress through its supposedly wide variety of endings.