How does it feel to rule a whole realm? To be in charge of a nation’s future? Be A King lets you get a feel for this huge responsibility. As a royal leader, you have to provide your people with houses and food while keeping monsters from invading the villages. The game doesn’t necessarily deserve a royal recommendation, though.

The year is 950, which is the early Medieval period in Europe – an era that’s not exactly remembered as being comfortable. You have to rule your land as a prince, and your people expect you to improve their bad living conditions. That is not particularly hard, since all they want is food, a very simple home and some protection. In the course of your reign you will build increasingly large settlements, supported by your experienced adviser, Albert Ruffus, who leads you through the tutorial as well.

Be A King features seven different buildings that provide living space, food and protection. To construct buildings you need gold, stone, wood and workers, so the basic formula of the game should be familiar to anyone who already played Build-A-Lot or similar games. For a growing village it is important to keep the balance between military, residential and food-producing buildings, since no new residents will join your settlement if it is not well protected, while it is impossible to maintain farms and barracks if you do not earn enough taxes. Every building can be upgraded to increase the number of inhabitants and soldiers or its productivity.

The new twist of Be A King compared to games of the same genre is the ability to hire heroes. They are important in two different ways. The so-called game events will appear more or less regularly on the left side of the screen and always force you to make a decision. Sometimes you can send your hero fighting trolls or dragons, resulting in gold, resources or, if you have bad luck, a dead hero. But there are also economical events, such as the ability to found certain guilds in your village that decrease the costs of new buildings or materials. In the beginning this feature is very interesting, but the same events begin to recur very quickly so that the initial interest soon decreases.

The second task of your heroes is to directly fight invaders who attempt to attack your village. These invaders suddenly appear in the corners of the screen and slowly move towards your settlement. By clicking on them you can send your hero to get rid of them, but military constructions like barracks and mage towers are also effective in protecting people and buildings. Unfortunately you cannot recall your hero if it is obvious that he will lose a battle, and the invaders of the later levels are so strong that sending heroes to defeat them is of no use anymore.

The campaign of Be A King consists of 25 levels and in each of them you have three goals whose fulfillment is necessary to progress. Depending on how much time you need to meet all the goals you will receive different bronze, silver or golden trophies to reward your success. The problem herein is that the game offers no clue how much time you have exactly to obtain either of the trophies.

The biggest flaw of Be A King is due to the small number of different buildings and the very similar way of playing the campaign levels. Though the goals differ slightly, you will
find yourself doing the same things in the same order over and over again. On top of that, the pace of the game is very slow, which might appeal to some people, but which is basically very frustrating.

The resources are way too expensive and you might spend at least half of the time just waiting to earn enough money for some units of wood or stone. The addition of the game events surely is a nice idea, but it simply does not involve the player enough to be really fun. You are restricted to click "no" or "yes" about seven times each level and it does not take a long time until you know all events by heart.  

To sum it up, Be A King introduces some very interesting new ideas to the genre, sadly not executing them in a convincing way. Despite the attractive graphics and the interesting setting, the game is mostly disappointing. The casual game market may not offer the most complex games out there, but the striking lack of diversion in Be A King is definitely substandard and will leave a lot of gamers bored. "Less is more" might be true in some cases, but more than often less is just not enough.

If you liked this game, try Westward II: Heroes of the Frontier, Build-a-lot or Totem Tribe.