Grow Your Village in City Builder Kingdoms Reborn Now in Early Access

Kingdoms Reborn Village

Kingdoms Reborn entered Early Access at the start of the month and I have to say that so far, I'm impressed.  This is a classic city-builder game with a couple of twists on the genre.  Created by solo developer Earthshine and featuring a soundtrack by Alistair Lindsay (RCT3, Rimworld & Prison Architect to name a few) this game shows great promise for this stage in the development cycle.  Massive thanks go out to the developer who kindly provided a key for review.

In time honoured fashion, you start out by selecting where to found your new settlement.  With only a small supply of raw materials and a handful of settlers, your goal is to grow this village into a prospering city.  To this end, you will need to harvest various resources from the world, provide housing and services for you village and encourage immigrants to call your village home.  The map will show you the few settlements which are already established, but also help you in selecting your starting point with a number of icons indicating areas which are good sources of resources such as coal, iron, stone and farming of different crops.

Kingdoms Reborn World Map
The world map showing available regions and the resources available in them
Starting the game you will first notice that there are only a small number of buildings which are available to you such as houses, roads and farms.  You will also observe that there is a card stack in the lower right of the screen.  This card stack adds a fun and, as far as I am aware, unique mechanic to this city builder.  Every few minutes this card stack will begin to glow and you can draw a number of cards.  You can then purchase as many, or as few, of these cards as you wish.  These will then allow you to unlock new crops or can be used to place new buildings.  It should be noted that these don't unlock the buildings, but allow placement of a single instance of these, although houses, roads, bridges and farms can all be built whenever you wish.

On first impressions, I felt that the regions are very small in relation to the size of the buildings, however expanding is simply a case of deciding which region you wish to move into and purchasing the land, provided you have enough funds.  The different regions provide a variety of benefits in the way of new resources and have varying costs meaning that it's pretty hard to build yourself into a corner where you are unable to expand.  I also like the approach the developer has chosen where each regions is a unique shape rather than being a simple square or hexagonal area of land.

Kingdoms Reborn Region Details
The details for a neighbouring region showing tile type, cost and resources
The game has a season and weather system and these will impact on your populous.  For me this was gravely apparent during my first Winter.  I had been too busy focussing on building resource generating buildings that I had neglected to provide additional housing for my expanding population resulting in a death-wave as people without heat and shelter perished.  You also need to ensure your houses are supplied with everything they require such as food and medicines (again sources of massive death-waves if not managed), fuel for heat and premium goods.  

Ensuring that homes are well provided for will result in these upgrading and unlocking additional benefits for your city such as new buildings or gameplay elements such as allowing you to conquer other settlements, depending on how many houses you have at each level.  As you unlock new buildings through this, you will be given the option to purchase the required card for the first instance and additional copies will be added to the deck for later draws.  There is also a more traditional research tree which will gain science points over time and allow your village to progress through various eras.

Kingdoms Reborn Housing Rewards
Upgrade granted based on the number of houses of each tier generated
Overall the game feels to be in a very good condition.  Given that this is at the start of the early access journey the game feels very full featured and well polished.  In the few hours I have played so far I have yet to come across any bugs, or anything which has placed me in a condition which is impossible to recover from.  The main difficulty I have had is trying to expand my village and progress with new building to drive progression and struggling to keep a steady flow of wood.  Other resources were relatively easy to manage after initially working out the work flow for them - for example claypit output versus pottery input requirements.

As mentioned the quality is great for such a small team and they have considered the user experience in much of the functionality such as trees becoming invisible whilst placing roads and the highlighting on the map of resources such as animals or fruit trees whilst placing hunting lodges and fruit pickers to help you plan the placements.  Along with the pleasant sound track and suprisingly detailed graphics, the whole package comes together very well and just works.  The only downsides to the game are the random nature of the card draws - not as a gameplay feature but the frustration of watching your tools stock decreasing and not drawing a blacksmith card to make them (although there are various wildcards available) - and that the game freezes during the autosave - however, unlike many games which appear to stop responding, the screen does change to indicate that a save is taking place.  

Kingdoms Reborn Road Placement
Placing a road (marked in yellow) with trees hidden to allow planning
The game has been priced very well for the quality when taking into account that the game is in early access.  Even if the game was to be left in it's current state, I would be very happy with the purchase.  The game is, as far as I have experienced, bug free, although I haven't made it to the late game yet, gameplay is smooth with lots of levels of management available - do you want your foresters to plant mainly fruit trees but only cut down non-fruit trees, should you use a buff card to increase productivity, or is one to have your buildings consume less input better?  The game also features 6 player multiplayer, however this isn't something I've ventured into at the time of writing.      
Kingdoms Reborn Property Cards
A random selection of cards available to purchase, allowing development of your city from small village to bustling city
Kingdomr Reborn Homeless Civilians
Starting out with settlers seeking homes. Trees with a green dot are tagged for felling, note the gorgeous rain effects.
Kingdoms Reborn Destruction Highlighter
You can highlight an area to target trees and rock formations for destruction. This is useful for clearing space, or if you need resources quickly.
Kingdoms Reborn Gathering Stone
Expanding across the desert a large area of rocks has been cleared to provide space for building. As no available storage yard is available nearby the stone blocks have been left where they were quarried.
Kingdoms Reborn Technologies
As time passes you will passively gain research points. These can be spent to gain upgrades and progress your settlement through various eras.
Kingdoms Reborn Winter
The game has a weather and season system. In Winter the temperature will drop and snow will cover your land. This will melt away in the Spring, but you will need to make sure your citizens are prepared to survive the cold, harsh Winters.

Kingdoms Reborn can be purchased on Steam in early access now for £17.49/18.99€/$19.99.  

Disclaimer: Whilst a Steam key was provided by the developer no further compensation was received, nor conditions imposed, in return for this review.  All thoughts are those of the author.

Grow Your Village in City Builder Kingdoms Reborn Now in Early Access Grow Your Village in City Builder Kingdoms Reborn Now in Early Access Reviewed by Parcival on November 22, 2020 Rating: 5

No comments