Review: Kingdom Two Crowns: Norse Lands (Switch)

A robust gaming package that will keep players coming back for more!

By Achi Ikeda. Posted 03/28/2022 01:38 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
Editor's Choice
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Jaw dropping visuals and score; addictive gameplay; fantastic, balanced couch co-op or single player experience
Poison Mushroom for...
Little to do post game except start over

Thick fog dissipates as you survey the damage done by the destructive demons, known simply as Greed, as they were charged with power during last night’s blood moon. Were the outer walls breached? How many archers were lost? You stroke the side of your mount’s neck in an attempt to relieve your anxieties and it gives a short snort in reply. Winter is coming. You fear your defenses are not strong enough and your coffers are not full enough to last your kingdom until spring. If hoards of Greed manage to break through your kingdom’s inner walls, all your work and progress will be lost.

Kingdom: Two Crowns was originally released on Switch in December of 2018, a full three years ago. However, since the release, the developers have worked on two previous updates that reskin the game as well as make slight alterations to the gameplay. Starting with Shogun, which gave the game a feudal Japanese inspired look, followed by Dead Lands, which introduces a gothic-horror aesthetic and new gameplay elements. The newest reskin, Norse Lands, is the first paid DLC for the game. The game can now be purchased as a bundle with Norse Lands, or alone (though both versions will include Shogun and Dead Lands).

The gameplay for all versions is mostly the same and fairly simple. Kingdom Two Crowns firstly is the couch co-op version of Kingdom: New Lands. If you are familiar with the latter, then the gameplay is for the most part the same, but with some changes and new features. If you are new to the series, essentially you, or you and a friend, are the rulers of a two dimensional kingdom. You can move left and right, collect coins, and invest coins into various objects and structures in the environment. Gameplay is basic and straightforward. In the beginning, you recruit people as archers or builders in order  to earn more coins, build defensive structures, and chop down trees to expand your kingdom. Other jobs are unlocked as you progress, but to explain too much of the gameplay would spoil the experience. A big aspect to the game is trial and failure. Death is frequent as you learn through experimentation and from your mistakes. Death can be a surprise, or a slow inevitability as you realize the consequences of your mistake and watch your kingdom crumble day by day.

I’m a big fan of the Kingdom games as well as games published by Raw Fury so it’s no surprise that I love this game. The beauty of this game cannot be underrated, especially of the Norse Lands DLC. When I play in docked mode, family members, be they gamers or not, pause what they are doing to watch me play. I am awed by the beautiful depictions of nature, curious about new structures and what possible function or aid they may bring me, and filled with the desire to explore. The sound design and score perfectly enhance the atmosphere. The game world is a gorgeous, meditative place that makes you wish you could visit in your dreams. The soundscape alone is enough to transport you to serene tranquility…until night falls and the greed come.

As the sun sets across your kingdom, you may notice your citizens retreating behind your outer castle walls, archers crowding in defensive positions. Each night, demons rush from portals seeking coins and ripping tools from your kingdom’s inhabitants. They’ll destroy walls, take archer’s bows, builder’s hammers, or even your crown, if they manage to empty your purse of coins. Lose your crown and it’s game over. And dying means starting over.

If you survive the evening ravages, you’ll eventually come across a wrecked ship. Repairing ships will become a recurring goal. Everytime you fully repair a ship, you’ll be able to bring a small crew to a new island with new discoveries. You’ll also be starting a new kingdom all over again on this new island. This may initially sound tedious, but it’s one of the funnest parts of the game. Exploring the new lands and planning out how you will expand. Which makes dying, though a bit disappointing, not too much of a set back. Especially early on in the game.

Progress is easier and more rewarding in multiplayer. Kingdom Two Crowns is a fantastic cooperative multiplayer game. When you and a friend or family member are working together, delegating tasks, and succeeding or failing together, it feels all the better. But even if you don’t have someone you can hand off a joy-con to, it is still a well balanced single player game.

Kingdom Two Crowns is easily one of my favorite games and keeps me coming back again and again even without updates. It’s a game where starting fresh can feel great, but progress and advancement is rewarding. It took an already engaging and memorable game, Kingdom New Lands, and developed it into a well balanced multiplayer experience. It’s three versions in one are a stellar deal and the Norse Lands DLC is so much more than a cherry on top. For fantasy, strategy, and indie fans, Kingdom Two Crowns: Norse Lands is a must.

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