Kingdoms of Camelot goes mobile in Battle for the North
Social gamers are likely familiar with Kabam’s Facebook game Kingdoms of Camelot. The slow-paced strategy game, akin to Evony, is tailored to a more hardcore gaming ilk, and suffice to say it has done well over the years. Now, the game is seeing a new iOS upgrade in the form of Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North. Building upon the already existing world, most of the play is more of the same (only on mobile) and enjoyable for those who are already familiar with the title. That said, it’s not the most forgiving game in the world for newcomers.
For anyone unfamiliar with Kingdoms of Camelot, the game is a massively multiplayer strategy game in which users build up a medieval kingdom from the ground up. Building upon set plots of land, the general idea is to expand one’s realm as much as possible, creating armies in the thousands and dominating anything that gets in the way; including other users. To that end, Battle for the North is no different, though it translates well to the iOS with clicks being replaced with taps.
Starting off with a small plot of land, players must manage the resources such as stone, lumber, food, population, and so on. Each one ties into the other in some way: Resources are needed to build structures, population is needed to man armies and farms, which are then needed to feed the populace (increasing the population cap). In addition to this gold is required as well, which is earned via taxes… which make the population unhappy, forcing players to build structures or use buyable items to remedy the issue.
It all sounds very convoluted at first glance, but it’s actually not too bad as the game takes the time to walk new users through each major mechanic step by step and has a nice quest system that suggests what should be done next. In fact, these even give decent amounts of resources and fiscal reward for new players too.
What makes it all pretty easy to manage is that it’s all done passively once the required structures are met. Moreover, once players get past the basic levels of buildings and any associated units they produce, they’ll take anywhere from several minutes to several hours to construct. Since only so many things can be constructed at any given time, it gives users ample time to familiarize themselves with the rest of the game world. Such applies to researching new technology (which improves the effectiveness of select buildings and units) and upgrading structures to new levels of efficiency as well. Unfortunately this means that play sessions may often be significantly short, which will not appeal to all players. Thankfully, the prospect of being mobile makes this less annoying than on Facebook.
To mitigate the issue further, Battle for the North has the typical means to accelerate tasks by using items purchased via a buyable virtual currency called “Gems.” In addition to faster construction, these can also be used to acquire boons for troops such as damage or defense. They’ll certainly be needed too, as the app is not the most new user friendly when it comes to the competitive aspect of the design.
As was noted prior, this is a massively multiplayer game and within it, players can attack whomever they please. New players are granted a grace period of seven days, but while that might seem like a long time, it’s really not. As players raise their army, they build up military might, but at the end of a one week period it will still likely pale in comparison to that of veteran players. If it turns out anything like previous incarnations of the game, it won’t level the playing field enough as the more powerful players traditionally steamroll weaker ones, and plunder much of their earnings. The only alternative is to quickly forge alliances with other players – which does help – but it is still exceedingly frustrating to have no chance of defending one’s self. We’d like to think that such has been remedied in this new mobile version, but current player commentary suggests otherwise. Aside from this though, the only other significant complaint is that Battle for the North isn’t really all that different from genre predecessors such as Evony.
Overall though, if one can look past this and stick with the game through the hardship of constant attack, the game itself isn’t all that bad. It’s a little slow paced, but since it is on mobile (with push notifications) it allows users to now take a few minutes to manage their kingdom whenever they have a spare moment. All in all, if players are already fans of Kingdoms of Camelot, then they’ll still likely enjoy this mobile version. That said, it does not connect to the web rendition, so it is a bit of a discouragement. As for new players, just be prepared to lose… a lot.