Happy Kingdom has plenty of new ideas, but few work out all that well

If only all game names were as clear as Happy Kingdom, in which the goal is to create, well, a happy kingdom. It’s a CityVille-style game set in a fantasy world that sticks pretty close to the established city building formula. But there are a few new additions in keeping with the thematic change, and some are very welcome, such as the inclusion of a deeper story with recognizable characters. But with its slow rate of progression, it’ll be a while before you can see all of what Happy Kingdom has to offer.

The game puts you in the role of a faceless king. Like most games on Facebook, you’ll be given quests to complete and goals to accomplish as you play. But here these goals and quests come accompanied with a story. It’s relatively simple and, appropriately, tells the tale of your kingdom’s rise to prominence. Dialog-filled cut-scenes are prevalent and you’ll actually get to know the various characters a little bit, as opposed to them simply being a tool to deliver quests. It makes the process of progressing through the game a lot more satisfying.

Happy Kingdom

As far as building up your kingdom though, things are pretty standard. You build homes and businesses, grow crops to feed your people, and lay down decorations to make it look prettier. You can also regularly upgrade your castle much like in Trade Nations and send boats out to gather supplies like in CityVille. While that’s all well and good, the problem is that it just takes far too long to unlock new content. Actually growing your kingdom takes a lot of patience. You’ll see cool things off in the distance, such as an observatory, that won’t unlock until well into the game.

The rest of the additions, such as the magic system, are fun to play around with. But again, don’t expect to be casting any spells until you’ve already spent many, many hours with Happy Kingdom. Some of the features feel rather inconsequential, as well. The fighting, in particular, feels underdeveloped. Frequently enemies like pirates or bears can be found on the outskirts of your kingdom and you can attack them to clear them away. But what actual threat they pose is unclear. During our time with the game we were never actually attacked once.

Happy Kingdom

This all amounts to a promising evolution of the city building formula that unfortunately doesn’t quite live up to its clever ideas. With more fleshed out features and a faster progression, Happy Kingdom could become the deeper, more engaging CityVille that many players didn’t even know they were waiting for. But right now it just takes too long to see those ideas, and many are disappointing once you finally do.