Be a King
Be a King is a new fantasy strategy title from 300AD. It follows in the tracks of games such as King Mania, Forgotten Lands: First Colony, and the Build-a-Lot series and blends a streamlined building-centric real-time strategy game with a handful of casual knowhow.
In the year 950 AD, Europe is still in the early part of the medieval era. Fear and uncertainty rule the people as they live with the constant threat of disease, starvation, and barbarian attacks. But one prince wants more for his people. Invisioning a stable society where villagers could live, work and play in comfort and safety, he set out to craft a medieval utopia, one tiny settlement at a time.
Pleasing the villagers is a relatively easy task, as all they require is food to eat and a simple home to rest their weary heads. To build a farm or a house, simply click an open plot of land followed by the corresponding icon at the bottom of the screen. Wait a few seconds and you're in business! Later you'll get a handful of new buildings to create, including barracks that ward off enemy attacks, the third pillar of your safe and successful society.
But building things isn't free. In Be a King you have four resources to think about as you expand your village: wood, stone, gold, and workers. Wood, workers and stone can be purchased from the menu at the bottom of the screen, but gold is only received by collecting "rent" from your villagers. Think of it as a "hey, I'm making this place pretty awesome" tax. Buildings can also be upgraded, which is faster and cheaper than creating new structures, and occasionally you'll get the chance to found guilds that boost building speed and decrease the cost of materials.
And then there's the ability to hire heroes, an interesting twist on the old casual RTS/building game. Heroes will fight for your village and can also undertake quests that appear on the left side of the screen. A successful quest often rewards you with gold, materials and other goodies. An unsuccessful one results in... well... let's just say you'll need to hire another hero...
Analysis: Simple but pleasant, Be a King steps into an increasingly crowded genre to claim a little corner all its own. It doesn't go too heavy on the strategy side of things, which can result in a less-than-challenging experience, but it's still an enjoyable run through 25 different levels. And I was glad to see the medieval setting didn't get too fantasy-cliche.
One point of mild frustration for me was the game's relatively slow pace. I'm no real-time strategy expert, but I know how to figure out a game and I've played plenty of similar titles in my day. If you're new to the genre, you probably won't mind, but everyone else will feel the drag from time to time, especially during the tutorial. Be a King could also use a bit more variety. Keeping things simple is one thing, but pulling out too much can result in a repetitive experience, something this game suffers from in later levels.
Despite it's sometimes too-simple design, Be a King stands out on its own with a great visual package and easy to learn gameplay. If you enjoy games like Tribal Trouble or Build-a-Lot, Be a King is for you.