Rise of Kingdoms, which was previously known as Rise of Civilizations) puts you in charge of your own growing empire. As governor, you’ll be responsible for expanding your city’s military might, unlocking tons of new technologies along the way.
The game starts you off slowly with a simple tutorial. First, you can pick from one of eight civilizations; Rome, Britain, France, Spain, Korea, Japan, and Germany. You’re walked through building your first farm, recruiting your first hero, and taking out some local barbarians.
Once you’re given the reins yourself, you’re free to expand your empire on your own. By managing your resources, your army, and your budding population, you’ll be going head to head with other major civilizations in no time.
With any strategy game, understanding the mechanics is essential. Rise of Kingdoms uses a simple set of rules to deliver a great pocket strategy game.
There are 4 basic resources in Rise of Kingdoms; food, wood, stone, and gems. Each of these are pretty intuitive, with new units requiring food, military improvements using wood, and defense upgrades requiring stone. Important improvements like your city’s walls often require all 3.
Gems are the game’s digital currency, letting you instantly improve upgrades. You start off with a generous 300 gems but can purchase more if you need to later. You also earn them for completing certain tasks, giving you a lifeline every now and then.
You’ll earn resources by collecting them from your farms, sawmills, and quarries, and by completing quests. After a while, you’ll be making tens of thousands of food and wood units per hour, letting you expand your town even more.
Building requires resources, an available builder, and time. The more important the upgrade, the more time and resources required. This gives you plenty of breathing room later in the game to manage your increasingly complex civilization.
The most important structure in the game is your city hall. You can keep upgrading your hospitals and academies, but you won’t be able to upgrade them to a higher level than your city hall. As you increase the city hall’s level, you’ll continually unlock more buildings and units for your civilization.
There are 3 types of buildings in Rise of Kingdoms. Economic buildings like academies or quarries are for growing your empire. Military buildings like stables and archery ranges let you build your military might. And finally, aesthetic buildings are there just to make your civilization look as cool as possible.
The combat of this game is simple. You select your target on the map, select which hero you want to lead your troops, and watch them take care of the rest. The animations are simple, but the feeling of victory is satisfying.
You’re given a score that combines all of your units, and that determines the battle’s outcome. While this may be too simple for some players, the game’s online play makes the combat much more fun.
Once you’ve finished the tutorial, you’ll be thrown into a world of other online players. You’ll be able to see their towns, make alliances with them, and attack them. You’re also vulnerable to attack, so you need to build up your town’s defenses right away.
The game gives you a grace period of 8 hours before you can be attacked, so use that time to build up your military strength. By completing quests, taking out barbarians, and forging alliances, you’ll quickly have impenetrable defenses.
Working with other players makes combat even more enjoyable. Combine forces with allies to take on much larger foes. Call on your friends for help when you’re being attacked. The simple combat works perfectly with the online component.
What Rise of Kingdoms Does Right
For a mobile game, Rise of Kingdoms is robust, in-depth, and accessible. New strategy players will have an easy time getting to know the game, while veterans of the genre will love the casual speed.
The 3-pronged resource system is both enjoyable and deep. By switching your attention between food, wood, and stone, you’ll have plenty to do for each play session. Collecting your resources is satisfying, and planning your upgrades is exciting.
Combat is straightforward and simple. Battles come down to raw strength, streamlining the entire combat system. This also encourages you to take advantage of the alliance system, working with other players to take down larger enemy forts and defend your own town.
The expansive alliance system is a welcome feature in the game. By making social play a basic part of the game, you learn how to manage your alliances right away. By accepting these alliances, you get military aid, research assistance, and can even send in your own troops for a share of the bounty.
What It Could Do Better
Players looking for Civilization: Mobile should not look to Rise of Kingdoms. While this is a mobile strategy game, it’s a very casual experience. Complex mechanics are replaced with streamlined resource and construction systems. While it can scratch the strategy itch, it won’t replace a full-on strategy game.
The animation and art in the game are generally underwhelming. The game runs on almost any smartphone, so of course, details have to be scaled back. But some of these battles would be amazing to watch with better animation.
The combat feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. While the current system is easy and accessible, it would make the player feel even more powerful if they could actually command their troops. Of course, this is fixed by the robust alliance system.
Gems are the game’s way of letting you rush through construction. While you can get them in-game, you’ll go through them quickly. While there’s nothing wrong with waiting for your building to upgrade, it can get a little frustrating when your town hall has another 20 hours before you can move on.
The Final Verdict
Rise of Kingdoms is an excellent mobile strategy game. By combining a simple resource system, timer-based construction, and great online play, players will feel like true kings as they grow their empire.
Despite the shortcomings with animation and combat, Rise of Kingdoms offers players a great casual strategy experience. Checking in in your off time to collect resources is satisfying. Spending a few minutes slaying some barbarians makes you feel powerful. Most players can find something they love about this game.