If you have played games like DomiNations on iOS and Android, you should check out Space Ape Games Rival Kingdoms: Age of Ruin. It has a similar theme, but there are significant differences and its gameplay will have you hooked.
I must admit, I have a soft spot for games where you build city, upgrade buildings, research new technologies, train an army and then go and battle with others. Rival Kingdoms does all of this in its own unique way. It is familiar, yet different enough to make it a fresh and interesting challenge.
DomiNations was great, but the focus was more on resource gathering, building and training, and less on battles. Rival Kingdoms is the opposite and most of your time in the game will be spent in battle, attacking rival players.
Rival Kingdoms: Age of Ruin is available for the iPad and iPhone, and it will soon be available for Android too (it is already on the Google Play Store, but the download link isn’t working yet). I played it on an iPad Air, which is currently the best platform with its big screen and great graphics.
The game is set in a time long ago and in a world that has magic, gods, ancient warriors and monsters. You build your village in this medieval world and start out with a few basic buildings. Gold is the only resource you have to collect and this is used to pay for new buildings, upgrades to existing ones and research. There are gold smelters and gold storage, and builders’ huts.
All the remaining buildings are military and the stronghold is your main building, which must be protected from attacks by rival players. Around it you can place watch towers that fire arrows, catapults that launch fire stones, and spell towers that fire magic spells. A wall can be built around the village to help to keep out attackers.
There is no defending army and so you must place the stronghold, defensive weapons and walls so as to block, or at least slow down, any incoming army. It is impossible at first and it becomes only slightly easier as you add more weapons and upgrade them. Your growing village will be destroyed many times, but this does little real harm because the ancients use their powers to restore it after it has been devastated by an attacker.
A shield protects your city for several hours after an attack so you cannot be attacked again straight away. If you are away from the game (in the real world with work, sleep and so on), when an attack occurs, you can watch a replay and it is useful to see how the attacker went about it and then you can rearrange your defences to minimise your weak spots. A lot of thought must be put into the positioning of buildings and defences.
Building your village and fending off attacks from other players is a small part of Rival Kingdoms and a lot of your time will be spent battling others. You receive a battle stone every 20 minutes and you can hold up to 5. One is required to enter into battle, so basically, this is just to limit your aggressive tendencies.
Your opponents are chosen for you and the first is a very weak one who you will destroy very easily. The next is slightly stronger and if you win, the next is stronger still. You battle one opponent after another with each one becoming progressively stronger until you fail. This is a winning streak and you might win 5, 10 or even more battles until you ultimately come up against an opponent you cannot beat. When you fail, you start again with a weak opponent.
You know you are going to win the first half dozen battles and there is gold, gold cups, rings, and treasure chests to be earned. You also know that eventually your army will be wiped out by a village that is too strongly defended. It could be the next battle, or maybe the one after that. How far will your winning streak go? This makes it very addictive.
There is no army training or cost and immediately after losing some or all of your army, you can fight again as they are magically restored. Gods, ancients, magical creatures and monsters can be added to your army, which is an interesting feature. They have different abilities and powers, and some may be more useful than others in a battle.
You can join with other players in kingdoms (like clans or alliances). This opens up chat facilities with other friendly players, the option to lend other players soldiers, receive help from others, join in wars between kingdoms and other group activities.
The game is free, but there are the usual in-app purchases. These buy gold, rings, diamonds and treasure chests, all of which enable you to progress through the game faster because they speed up building and upgrading. The prices are a bit too high for my liking and there is no way I would fork out $124.99 on the Ultra Value Pack. The Value Pack is a more reasonable $6.49 and there are several others between the two. They are optional though and you can have fun without spending any money.
Rival Kingdoms is excellent and is addictive and fun to play. Can you battle your way to the top of the leaderboard? It is currently the most played game on my iPad.
Have you played this game? Do you know of a better one? Tell us in the comments below.
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Published: 16 May 2015