It’s hard to believe that Kingdom New Lands is already a couple years old and that we’re getting a brilliant sequel this week (out now) on the Switch as well as PC. If you haven’t played the series before, I like to call Kingdom the strategy game for people who say they don’t like strategy games. I mean, regular strategy fans will adore it too, but Kingdom’s intuitive menu-light gameplay and intuitive side-scrolling presentation and controls make it an ideal game for people who are usually put off by the management aspects of strategy games. And, simply put, Kingdom Two Crowns is an ideal sequel that builds upon the original in all the right ways while also adding glorious couch co-op.
You begin the game with little more than a dirt pile, some coins, and a crown. Marooned on a new land by yourself, you quickly use your coins to pay vagrants to help build up a camp and protect it, and soon enough you’re on your way towards building a new kingdom. But as night falls, each night, a swarm of evil demons rush your little hamlet and your defenses must hold them off. If they get to you, and take your crown, it’s game over. Or rather, that was the way things were in Kingdom New Lands.
In Two Crowns, gone is the rogue-like “start over again” mechanic, replaced instead by the notion that a new king or queen comes to the land and picks up where you left off. They rebuild your defenses and take over your kingdom. It’s a much less daunting way to play through the content of Kingdom, and makes it easier to reach the game’s other regions, find the new technologies and unlock the new units and defenses. I think that without eschewing the roguelike mechanic of the earlier games, most people would never see all the brand new content, and frankly – it’s just more fun this way.
What truly makes Two Crowns stand out from its predecessor though is the fact that you can now play with a friend locally in horizontal split-screen action. Not only does this make things less stressful because you can each watch either side of your defenses, but it also means one can explore the lands while the other sets things up in town, and vice versa. It’s a glorious way to play the game, and I can’t wait until the online multiplayer comes in a later update so that I might try the co-op with friends who don’t live in the same house.