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Kingdoms and Castles released with day-1 Linux support, some thoughts

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Kingdoms and Castles [GOG, Steam, Official Site] is the first title to be released after being crowdfunded on Fig and it has day-1 Linux support. This city-builder has a nice style to it, but is it any good?

Disclosure: Key provided by the developer.

I must be honest, I'm quite surprised at how limited it is for a full game release. It's being reviewed reasonably well overall, but I do have to echo the complaints others have made. The game does feel a little shallow in terms of features and things to do. They do have more planned for it, going by this small roadmap. Honestly, I've found it hard to write about because of how it just lacks a bit of everything.

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Even with the lack of depth and content, it's still a pretty nice game. Relaxing as hell at the start, while you watch your little fledgling kingdom start coming to life. It certainly reminds me of The Settlers and Hearthlands quite a bit, with you seeing you little villagers chop trees, carry resources to your castle or your stockpile.

With a really sweet, colourful and low-poly art style it's certainly an accessible game. The way the clouds flow in and out is really quite clever too. While the art style is nice, the UI could use a little work. The rather huge message box in the top left corner feels like it's always in my way.

One thing that does bother me is how small the maps are, there's not a great deal of room for expansion, so it really doesn't take long to end up filling the space you have. I suppose right now, the maps are sufficient, considering your limited build options. That's another thing that bugs me, there's no upgrade system, so once you've built up that's basically it.

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I've encountered the Dragon a few times, but it's nothing more than a mild inconvenience. It flies around for a bit, roars a few times and it set fire to a single thing and then flew off. Can be quite easily countered by having a few high walls with some defences. I think having some more difficulty options would be a good start, like making the dragon much more menacing, but having more control over the experience by toggling a few options. Right now it's either peaceful, easy or hard. A very flat difficulty experience for such a game.

Same for the Vikings, they came by sea with their silly little armies, but a few walls and towers and they're not really much of a threat. If they had more interesting equipment and perhaps came in bigger numbers, it might be a bit more interesting.

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Fires are probably the most annoying thing in the game right now. You either need water close by, or Wells. It still takes your citizens a while to get the water, then get to the fire. Ideally, for a city-builder where buildings catch fire, it needs a dedicated fire service, especially when citizens choose to ignore your wells and gather water elsewhere from the map.

Another little annoyance is rubble. You have to manually clear each individual tile of rubble to be able to build again. For the small buildings it's not so bad, but for bigger buildings it's a downright nuisance since they don't just have one big rubble pile, they have lots of little piles. It needs lots of little quality of life tweaks, like just letting us build on top of rubble.

Overall, it's cute, but it lacks any real depth right now. I've not had a single crash or bug that I could see, it's been a pretty solid release so far. I like it quite a lot, I just want more of everything.

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In little over an hour I had built practically everything and I ended up just sat there with nothing to really do. It just feels like there's a real lack of events to make the game interesting. I could have continued for an hour or two longer, building up more of the same, but why? The game doesn't give you a feeling of wanting to continue yet.

You can find Kingdoms and Castles on Steam & GOG.
8 Likes, Who?
Comments
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Colombo 24 July 2017 at 11:28 am UTC
Shame about the lack of depth. I am itching for some good city builder, I even wishlisted this, but considering what you wrote, I will probably wait for some sale.
Bidinou 24 July 2017 at 11:39 am UTC
Yes, there's a Settlers clone (Hearthlands) currently being developped. Seems the contrary : much deeper but not on par technically.

The Settlers used to work on a 7.14Mhz Amiga computer, great memories

Runesoft (Epic) ported Northland but their ports were kinda lost as at that time, the marke was small and compatibilty, drivers and distribution complicated...


Last edited by Bidinou at 24 July 2017 at 11:46 am UTC. Edited 2 times.
Leopard 24 July 2017 at 12:03 pm UTC
ColomboShame about the lack of depth. I am itching for some good city builder, I even wishlisted this, but considering what you wrote, I will probably wait for some sale.

Banished is what Linux lacks.
Ketil 24 July 2017 at 12:25 pm UTC
The viking waves will increase as your city increase, and you will get ogres attacking as well. They will destroy your walls or buildings if given the chance.
Smaloki 24 July 2017 at 1:48 pm UTC
The fact that everyone compares this to Settlers really drives home how little international success the earlier Anno games had.

To me, this is pretty much an updated Anno 1602. The are fewer buildings and resources (at least in its current state), but some features are more developed (like the much more in-depth castle-building, more reminiscent of the later Anno games and other, similar game series).

I'm absolutely enamoured with this game! Although that's probably largely due to nostalgia, since Anno 1602 ("1602 A.D." in the US) was one of my favourite games growing up. But even on its own, this game is somewhat addictive to me… I love constantly improving my city, trying to plan things out in advance, eventually realising my past mistakes, razing buildings to remodel entire city blocks, all the while trying to ensure all resources are produced in excess and simultaneously fighting off dragons and raiders.

Also, I don't mind the amount of content in the game, considering it only costs 10 €. I'd gladly pay 50 bucks for a full remake of Anno 1602, and this game is halfway there while costing only a fraction of that. If they patch in some more content over time, even better. And I'd be delighted to see them eventually release a decently sized add-on for 10 or 15 €.


Last edited by Smaloki at 27 July 2017 at 2:28 pm UTC
Crazy Penguin 24 July 2017 at 2:24 pm UTC
Another EA game which has been released to early. I hope that the developer will still work on this game. IMHO it isn't even half way done yet. You don't even have to build ballistas for the dragon. Enough wells do the trick too, as my subjects are very fast in extinquishing fires .

Funny things about the Vikings is that they have been Orks at some point, and if you look closely they still look like Orks. You can build traps to slow the "Orks" down ;P. Walls and Towers will not help much if they "Vikings" have "Ogers" with them. 1-2 hits and the Wall and Tower is gone! Also towers costs Gold, which you have to get by Taxes, which makes your subjects unhappy.

Gates are kinda useless in the game, as you can not close them. Which is kinda stupid whilst an attack!!!. It has an close option, but instead of closing the gate it is deactivating it. Seriously? WTF?

Another thing I have encountered is the distribution of resources. I have tons of stuff in small storages lying around, which is not transported to the big ones in the city. Also it is better to have Blacksmith close to the mine & charcoals, otherwise they have shortage all the times. Any ideas how this works? I have tried several eays but nothing has worked so far.

Some my subjects complain (red building) that they don't get anything to eat or charcoal, but the market over the street has enough stuff available! WTF!?

Not to mention that the status of my subjects happiness has no live update. I have to switch it off & on again to get an update . Then there is no information about what and how much stuff is stored in the storages.

This game has an huge potential, fantastic graphics but right now it has lots of shortcomings. Can't recommend it at the moment.
lovemytux 24 July 2017 at 3:06 pm UTC
Bought it during the weekend and spent about 3 hours with it. Looks like a really promising game if the developers will support it further. I really really really like its style and that its based on older times instead of a modern times/city. Yes there is no depth right now, but we can get there (hope to..). :fingerscrossed:
Smaloki 24 July 2017 at 6:49 pm UTC
Crazy PenguinGates are kinda useless in the game, as you can not close them. Which is kinda stupid whilst an attack!!!. It has an close option, but instead of closing the gate it is deactivating it. Seriously? WTF?

Another thing I have encountered is the distribution of resources. I have tons of stuff in small storages lying around, which is not transported to the big ones in the city. Also it is better to have Blacksmith close to the mine & charcoals, otherwise they have shortage all the times. Any ideas how this works? I have tried several eays but nothing has worked so far.

Some my subjects complain (red building) that they don't get anything to eat or charcoal, but the market over the street has enough stuff available! WTF!?

Not to mention that the status of my subjects happiness has no live update. I have to switch it off & on again to get an update . Then there is no information about what and how much stuff is stored in the storages.

This game has an huge potential, fantastic graphics but right now it has lots of shortcomings. Can't recommend it at the moment.

In my experience, the gates are fully automated (which makes sense, considering each gate has two peasants assigned as guards). While the gate always looks as though it's opened, enemies cannot walk trough, only your subjects can. No player interaction required.

As far as resource distribution goes, I haven't really had any issues.

Newly gained resources are usually stored on the closest stockpile (except for food, which is also stored in granaries, marketplaces and houses; and charcoal, which is stored in marketplaces and houses). Unless there's a new building project nearby, in which case required resources may be brought there right away.
Maybe you have too many randomly distributed stockpiles? I haven't encountered any real issues with this. I tend to designate one or two areas of my island as industrial areas, where I have quarries, mines, and forresters as well as craftsmen (smithies, charcoal makers, etc.). And then, in these areas, I have an appropriate amount of stockpiles.
Well, speaking of craftsmen: I keep the mason(s) in or close to the residential areas, but I don't know if this actually matters all that much. There's usually quite a few years between major catastrophes, so plenty of time for a mason to fix all damaged buildings before the next fire.

For houses that are far away from your keep and your fields, you have to make sure there is always a marketplace close by—otherwise the heads of household may have to walk ridiculous distances to get food and charcoal, and their respective houses run out before they've returned (which reflects very negatively on their happiness value). Each marketplace has 10 workers, whose sole purpose it is to ensure that there is always some food and charcoal stored in the market. This way, the other peasants have more time for their own work and they don't have to go hungry (unless you flat-out don't produce enough food).
Colombo 24 July 2017 at 11:19 pm UTC
BidinouYes, there's a Settlers clone (Hearthlands) currently being developped. Seems the contrary : much deeper but not on par technically.

The Settlers used to work on a 7.14Mhz Amiga computer, great memories

Runesoft (Epic) ported Northland but their ports were kinda lost as at that time, the marke was small and compatibilty, drivers and distribution complicated...

I am off put by Hearthlands graphics. It seems that there is something off. I am also on edge regarding the system. I would need demo to try it out.

Cultures series is great! I just wish the Runesoft made some small changes and re-released it. The graphics is great, with stylization that does not age (maybe updated models), but I would like more nations with differences (different tech tree) and also less resource interdependence (i.e., if each resource created tech subtree with higher level buildings requiring any two resources, it would be better, i.e., if houses could be made with wood and with upgraded either stone or clay for second level and with the second for second level and so), so you could build limited civ, this could also may make bigger deal of trading.
Colombo 24 July 2017 at 11:19 pm UTC
Leopard
ColomboShame about the lack of depth. I am itching for some good city builder, I even wishlisted this, but considering what you wrote, I will probably wait for some sale.

Banished is what Linux lacks.

I played just vanilla, no mods. But Banished is not a glaring example of depth. In fact, it seems to be rather dull as well.
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