What will that crazy yankee do next?
In the world of modern time management games, all offerings tend to start with the same basic premise, which is both a blessing and a curse. On the positive side of things, fans of the genre have a near limitless amount of gameplay to explore across dozens or hundreds of titles, but the similarities between all of these games quickly get boring. In New Yankee in King Arthur’s Court 2, we see Alawar updating a genre that can quickly become stale with magical spells and lovely graphics that make the game worth playing.
New Yankee in King Arthur’s Court 2 picks up where the first game left off, without any real explanation for what happened before. If you’ve never played the first game, you’ll simply be thrown into the action and have the potential to get confused. As it stands, this installment in the series sees our heroes discovering a spell book that unlocks a variety of new spells that can be cast in each stage to defeat enemies, spawn new resources, or even speed up the actions of your workers.
Each level comes with a series of overall goals or milestones that must be completed / met before you can continue on your journey. These require tons of strategy to complete with a gold medal rating, as the time limits in almost every stage are far too short to allow for truly relaxed play. Even if you can’t complete a stage with a gold rating, there’s still time left on the clock for silver, but you thankfully don’t need to worry about failing a stage if time completely depletes. You’ll need to balance the use of a variety of resources, including food, wood, gold, and magical elixir, with the magical spells adding a nice, fresh feeling to the game.
While many stages have matching overall goals, like collecting large amounts of one particular resource or rescuing extra workers that have been placed behind boulders or other rubble, the level designs vary greatly and the spells make the game feel new each time. In one stage, you might be given the ability to speed up your workers’ movements, while another stage might allow you to instantly regrow all of the trees that you’ve previously chopped down so that you can gather more wood. In many cases, these spells are absolutely vital to the completion of a level, but you’ll need to determine the exact right time to actually cast them.
Adding even more challenge to the equation are enemies like goblins, witches, and skeletons that will either slow your workers’ progress down, or try to abduct them. Thankfully, you can queue your workers’ actions, which allows them to continue gathering resources while you deal with these pests.
Even though the level layouts and animations in New Yankee in King Arthur’s Court 2 are quite lovely, there are some grammatical and spelling errors in the game’s text windows that are jarring to say the least. We also ran into a few instances where we could click to complete a task, like removing a boulder, but there would be a delay before the game would register that we actually had the materials necessary to complete it. These issues are few and far between, but it is disappointing to see that the game hasn’t been more highly polished since we encountered similar problems in the first game.
Overall, there’s a lot to like about New Yankee in King Arthur’s Court 2, like beautiful, colorful graphics, the game’s variety of manageable resources and enemies, and the ability to earn in-game achievements for completing specific tasks. At the same time, more casual players will likely have difficulty completing many stages with the gold medal ranking due to the game’s sometimes-extreme challenge, and the few technical errors we encountered keep the game from being perfect. This is still one entertaining installment in the time management genre, but there’s plenty of work to be done for the future.