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Shadow of Kingdoms

Shadow of Kingdoms is a hybrid between city management games and tactical RPG’s, where players recruit an army to fight against monstrous evil. Upgrade your city and recruit new warriors to aid you on your conquest.

Publisher:Admax Game
Playerbase: Low
Type: Tactical RPG
Release Date: August 11, 2015
Pros: +City-building. +Low system requirements. +Auto-combat.
Cons: -Boring auto-combat system. -Convoluted AI. -Broken dialogue and sound effects.

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Overview

Shadow of Kingdoms Overview

Shadow of Kingdoms is a strategy game with RPG elements, tasking players with forging a kingdom that will repel the forces of impending evil. Choose from one of four playable races, each with their own visually stylized city. Earn resources and expand your keep.  Manage your kingdom by constructing structures, unlocking new units and opening new pathways. Undertake missions to purge the world of evil, challenging enemies in combat. Fighting takes place on a hexagonal grid, in turn based combat, where both sides deploy troops to the battlefield to square off in a fight to the death. Shadow of Kingdoms features Auto Play or players can manually control their soldiers. Explore environmentally unique dungeons, collecting treasures, and undertake Daily Quests to seize rare rewards.

Shadow of Kingdoms Key Features:

  • City Research - choose what buildings to research to upgrade your city, unlocking new units and objectives.
  • Auto-Battle - no need to participate in combat. The AI makes tactical decisions while players watch so long as Auto Battle is on.
  • Numerous Units - upgrade your barracks and recruit new units to aid you on the battlefield.
  • Daily Quests - complete new daily missions to seize rewards towards expanding your kingdom’s glory.
  • Turn-Based Combat - combat takes place on a tactical grid, where players and opponents take turns commanding their troops into combat.

Shadow of Kingdoms Screenshots

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Shadow of Kingdoms Featured Video

Full Review

Shadow of Kingdoms Review

By, Sean Sullivan

I typically give free-to-play titles leeway, because the developers have not asked me for anything in exchange for playing their game. But Shadow of Kingdoms has eviscerated my patience. It is a lazy, boring, patchwork of mechanics that fall apart after one Jenga block is removed. It’s as if developer TernGame’s have cast their rod in the Dead Sea without attaching bait to attract players. There are no redeeming qualities beyond voluptuous anime girls, whose physics are as stagnant as Shadow of Kingdoms’ gameplay.

Painful Beginnings

After an instantaneous Steam download, followed by a regrettable double-click, you’re prompted to choose between four macho heroes: Holy Paladin, Spirit Wanderer Death Knight, and Hell Demon—each one properly assigned an adjective to avoid any confusion. As you choose, a twelve second music clip repeats like a thrift store record on a gramophone. I chose Holy Paladin because his bicep looked ready to attract cosmic objects into its orbit.

Gina, the scantily clad mistress of the King of Gods, welcomes you into the game’s fantasy world, while a Moonfire Survivor delivers troglodyte sentences such as “Gods have disappeared thousand years ago.” Prompted to choose my gender, I elected to be a pretty Prince. You’re then introduced to your city. As a noble paladin my kingdom reeks of crude valiance, as the game is far from graphically impressive. I constructed a mighty town hall atop the central pillar of my city, to gaze down at the filthy peasants meandering their way through an unfulfilled life. Before I could explore city management further I was thrust into a mission. 

Mission Repetition

Embarking on my first mission to prevent “more sad hearts,” I mounted my trusty steed, and ended up on a top-down 3D map. I couldn’t shake the notion that TernGames converted Warcraft 3’s Spring Engine into Flash. Moving with the mouse I collected scattered resources in a labyrinthian forest. Don’t I have peasants to do this? All missions follow a formula, that is essentially law to the internal workings of the game. As you’re chosen hero you rummage through carelessly left gold and twigs in altered environments, culminating in combat with forgettable enemies.  I came across Cerberus’ crimson brother, who greeted me with the most harrowing “Roar…” Needless to say, I was intimidated.

Wet Noodle VS. Jell-O

Combat takes place on a tiled grid that seems to purport strategy, but like an Amazing Randi trick it’s an illusion. Tactical gameplay is exchanged for autonomous systems that are switched on by default, turning each clash into a blasé scene I found amazingly bland. I wanted to fight and play as a tactician, not be a bourgeois observer of the Civil War. Turning to chat to complain, one apologist heeded my cry and explained the AI could be turned off.

But even when controlling your units the game is unrelentingly boring. You have your units, and at the start of each round you select where you want to move them, and then if they’re in range of an enemy they can attack. Point and click, with no apparent terrain advantage, adjacent unit buff, abilities, or directional advantage. Spells are thrown in after constructing a Mage Tower, but they’re a spice that immediately evaporates after hitting the pan. They lack any vigor, acting only as an additional attack to be employed.

Look Mom, No Hands!

Ultimately, I relegated combat to Fast Battle, refusing even to enter the battlefield and allowing RNG to decide the outcome of a fight. Enemy encounters became Civilization V conflicts, with animations turned off—the only way to play. Turns out I was using diamonds to fast battle, and would have to purchase more if I wanted to escape the monotony of animated combat. When a game’s central mechanic is recognized as tedious so that developers offer you a way around that engagement (through cash items), there is an inherent problem with your system. I elected to turn auto combat back on and suffered through the drudgery. There are no tactics when laying out your units anyway, and no risk because you never lose units. You simply gain them back at the end of fight.

"This is art?"

Entering the battle, dramatic music typically reserved for Michael Bay trailers sends blood hurtling through my veins, culminating in an epic crescendo… that abruptly stops. The music ends. And then the fight takes place to chirping birds, interspersed with stock sounds of a swinging spear and grunts recorded over twenty years ago. They routinely get stuck in infinite loops, replaying the same momentary climax over and over until blood pooled on my desk. The sound editing is insulting and indicative of the total ineptitude or lack of care exerted by developers. And then the effects from battle would follow you outside, also stuck in the same Hofstadter loop.

The graphics are aged before they were born, a Benjamin Button stuck like the Man From Earth. Chunky textures and crude character models are uninteresting and bland. The only redeeming quality to the game’s visual presentation is the busty anime girls congratulating a victorious battle. The game bares uncanny resemblances to the Might and Magic series, with many creatures seemingly traced over by TernGame. Shadow of Kingdoms is  clearly meant for browsers and it should have stayed there. Why are browser games popping up on Steam? I want to play a game, not waste time in a High School English class.

The Mayor of Nowhere

Retiring from fighting I thought the game might shine through it’s city management. While there are a range of buildings that can be constructed they follow a linear path. You cannot build a City Wall before building a City Gate, before building a Command Center, before building a Stronghold and it goes on. The game masquerades city management as a fluid process, but the idea of creating a great kingdom is completely undermined by the baby-step progression. There’s no true management, and it feels like I’m clicking buttons in B.F. Skinner’s lab.  

More Convoluted Than Game of Thrones

What is going on in Shadow of Kingdoms? The game’s convoluted text is more difficult to decipher than the scorched tablets of Gilgamesh. From what I gather, “The Dragon of Chaos has been under covering himself for thousand of years.” The dialogue is dreadfully painful. And while it doesn't have a direct impact on gameplay, the NPC's constant interruptions forced me to soak in the horrible writing.

There’s a ridiculous amount of pop-up tutorials intruding their way into your life as you try to acclimate to Shadow of Kingdoms; from dreamworld, to missions, treasure hunting, city building and more. I quickly asphyxiated like an asthmatic third grade boy talking to a girl. But every new element pulling at you is rehashing the same mechanics, dolled as a new way to play. It’s compensating like the owner of a Hummer for a lack of diversity. And there’s no clear guidance on what I’m supposed to do, why I’m doing it, or what’s going on. It’s a sloppy mess.

Normally I give games like Shadow of Kingdoms a break, but I cannot look the other way this time. I have finally met gaming’s limit to quality control, the level at which players are willing to accept broken projects. And staring into the abyss I’ve learned that any duct-tape game with voluptuous anime girls will garner some player base. If you ever had any confidence in Steam Greenlight, feel free to spoil your faith after playing Shadow of Kingdoms.

Final Verdict - Poor

I cannot imagine a single person who will enjoy this game, when it is clearly an imitation of more refined projects. I felt as stupid as a moribund cow playing Shadow of Kingdoms. It’s an embarrassment, and I will drown myself in clear poison to self-induce amnesia and forget its existence. Shadow of Kingdoms’ combat is utterly boring and without merit, an insult to mechanics championed by the Heroes of Might and Magic series. Avoid the nausea of a  Sartrean existential crises and pass on playing Shadow of Kingdoms.

Screenshots

Shadow of Kingdoms Screenshots

Videos

Shadow of Kingdoms Videos

System Requirements

Shadow of Kingdoms System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP or higher
CPU: Intel Pentium D or AMD Athlon 64 (K8) 2.6 GHz
Video Card: Intel HD Graphics or AMD (formerly ATI) Radeon HD Graphics
RAM: 512 MB
Hard Disk Space: 1 GB

Shadow of Kingdoms is also available for browsers. 

Music

Shadow of Kingdoms Music & Soundtrack

Coming Soon...

Additional Info

Shadow of Kingdoms Additional Information

Developer: TernGame
Publisher: Admax Game

Engine: Flash

Steam Greenlight Posting: June 10, 2015
Release Date: August 11, 2015

Development History / Background:

Shadow of Kingdoms was developed by TernGame and is available through Steam and for browsers. The game was posted to Steam Greenlight on June 10, 2015, and approved on July 03, 2015, with a full release through Steam on August 11, 2015.