King’s Bounty: The Armored Princess is just one of those games that seems destined to be over-looked. First off, it is a stand-alone expansion to a game that received little publicity and retail success. Second, it was only released as a download, making it hard to find unless you know where to look.
Lastly, it was published by 1C Company, who seems to specialize in lower budget indie games. With all these chips against it, some of you are probably wondering “Why even bother reviewing this game?”. Well sir, because the little guy deserves some time in the spotlight every now and then, especially when the little guy is a generally enjoyable strategy/RPG hybrid.
King’s Bounty: The Armored Princess is a direct sequel to 2008′s King’s Bounty: The Legend. Players take control of Amelie, the titular Armored Princess who, trained by Bill Gilbert the protagonist of KB:TL, is now a royal treasure hunter. The game starts off with Amelie’s kingdom on the verge ruin due to a typical beastly invasion. In hopes of repelling the bad guys, Amelie is warped to the new land of Teana in search of her old mentor Bill Gilbert, the only knight who can defeat these monsters.
KB:TAP is your standard RPG/strategy title, much in the vein of the Heroes of Might and Magic series. The game is split up into two screens, the world map and the battlefield. Most of your time will be spent on the world map moving Amelie and her army from town to town recruiting more soldiers, finding treasure, learning spells/abilities, and completing quests. You do have to be careful though, there are bands of roaming enemies on the world map. When Amelie comes in contact with an enemy, you are shown the battlefield screen.
The battlefield screen presents you with a board that is split up into hexagons. Battles take place in a turn-based fashion, much like a Warhammer tabletop match. Your objective is to destroy all of your enemy’s soldiers by commanding your troops to move, attack, or perform special abilities, such as healing. While this may sound simple enough, there are plenty of subtle nuances that add a layer of complexity to the strategy.
One example of these subtle nuances is Amelie’s ability to cast magic spells. Once during your turn you are able to have Amelie cast a magic spell that can greatly affect a battle. For example you can cast haste on one of your armies, allowing it to move twice the normal distance. This may not sound like much, but believe me these little boosts are game changers. It is important to note that some enemies also have access to magic spells, upping the difficulty level.
Much like magic spells, Amelie also has access to her pet dragon once per turn. The dragon has a wide variety of skills and abilities that make it invaluable in battle. One cool feature of the pet is that as Amelie levels up, so does the dragon. This means you can customize its abilities to fit your play style.
Other features that mix up battles include: the environment, attack types, troop numbers, and morale. Sometimes on the battlefield there will be pieces of environment. This can be anything from a giant log that blocks your path to a bee’s nest that attacks whatever unit is closest to it. As you would expect, different types of troops have different attacks.
Archers can shoot across the map, priests deal more damage to undead, etc. I found that the biggest thing that determines a battle’s outcome is troop size. You see, a single archer does not do much damage, anywhere between 3-4 points, however when you have 200 attacking, you are suddenly dealing anywhere from 600 to 800 points of damage.
While this may seem a bit overwhelming, there is a tutorial at the start of the game that breaks it all down for you. My only issue with the tutorial is that, while it teaches you the basics of the game’s mechanics, it doesn’t really delve into strategy. After the tutorial I generally felt lost, spending the first few hours running from town to town massing troops and clearing bad guys off the map. While this was a waste of time in terms of quest progress, it did help me grasp the overarching strategy of the game.
The sharp learning curve wasn’t the only aspect of the game that disappointed me. I was pretty mad to find out that a $30 game only comes with one game mode, the linear single-player campaign. Sure, you can choose one of three classes for Amelie (Warrior, Paladin and Mage), but those don’t really change the game all that much.
In terms of visuals, KB:TAP is pleasant enough to look at with bright colors and vivid environments on the world map and detailed soldier sprites and animations on the battlefield. Just don’t expect Crysis level graphics when playing this game.
Much like the visuals, the sound is satisfactory. The music is your typical generic fantasy score with lutes and bells. The battlefield sound effects may not be as epic as you would expect, but they get the job done.
When I purchase a game I tend to look for two things, a compelling single-player campaign and longevity either from multiplayer or some other game mode. While King’s Bounty: The Armored Princess may not meet all of my requirements, that doesn’t mean you should pass it up.
Those looking for a solid single-player strategy game with heavy RPG influences will thoroughly enjoy this game. Considering it takes at least thirty hours to complete, plus side quests, King’s Bounty: The Armored Princess offers plenty of fun if you fall into its target demographic.
The vibrant environments and detailed models server their purposes, but never really "wow"ed me.
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Build on the formula established by Strategy/RPG hybrids like Heroes of Might and Magic, King's Bounty: The Armored Princess provides 30 plus hours of entertainment.
King's Bounty: The Armored Princess featurs your standard generic fantasy background music and sound effects.
While the main campeign may be long, there is only one game mode and it dosen't offer a lot of replayablility.
King's Bounty: The Armored Princess is a great game if you fall into its target demographic. Those looking for something more than a single-player strategy/RPG hybrid should look elsewhere.