Be A King Review
Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Is it Real Time Strategy or Time Management? "Be A King" and find out!
The publishers of Be A King have tried to create a casual game that captures the essence of the real time strategy game genre. You'll find all of the standard RTS features like collecting resources, building various structures to improve your city, and creating a strong defense to keep everyone safe. The "essence" of Real Time Strategy may be here but the gameplay is not. Be A King plays more like a slow moving Time Management game.
Let's take a look at the gameplay.
The game starts off in 950 with the usual story of a poor and savage land in need of a mighty leader, you, to set things straight. After the set up story screens are done, the main map will appear and display a path through your kingdom with various settlements on them. You have to go to each of these in order and clicking on the first will bring you to the tutorial level.
Buildings can only be
placed in dirt circles The first town you go to is a forest scene with a bunch of dirt circles in the center of it. The dirt circles are the sites where you can construct buildings and are the only interactive areas of the town. The first town is obviously the most simple but the general pattern of the town layout remains the same for higher levels. You'll get more circles and more choices of buildings but no more interaction with the town site.
Click the info tab to display goals Each level has certain goals that you must achieve before moving onto the next level. These goals usually comprise of reaching certain population or resource levels, creating a certain number and style of buildings, or a combination of both. You can see what these goals are for your current level by clicking on the "Info" tab on the bottom menu bar.
Buildings come in four categories that are houses, food production, military and service. Properly managed, these buildings will result in an increasing population, abundant resources, lots of money and is safe from enemies. Failure to strike the proper balance of these types of building will cause you to lose the game.
To create buildings, you must have resources, money and workers. The specific items needed to create each building can be found by clicking on the "Buildings" tab at the bottom of the screen and moving the cursor over the building's icon. Select a dirt circle and click on the building icon to create the building of your choice. No construction will be started if you're lacking materials. You can buy more materials by clicking on the "Material" tab at the bottom of the screen and if you have enough money. If you're short of workers, you can purchase more by clicking on the "workers" tab on the bottom of the screen and selecting the worker button.
Barracks - Your
first line of defense The first building to create should be the barracks. It creates soldiers that you never see. What you will see is it shooting at intruders as they come closer to your town. The more of them you build, the faster that enemies will be destroyed. As you play higher levels, you'll get the ability to build Mage Towers that will attack your enemies with more force.
Build houses so your
population will grow Now that you're safe, it's time to build some houses. Your population will NOT increase unless you have enough housing space for everyone. To accommodate an increasing population, you must either build more houses or upgrade them to bigger houses that hold more people.
Too many people and not enough food creates starvation. The answer to this problem is to build farms which create food. As with houses, you can accommodate increasing demand by building more farms or upgrading them to bigger farms.
I won't mention all the available buildings. All of them will either create more resources, such as food or money, or act as multipliers to the production you already have. For example, building a mill will increase existing food production by 25 to 70 percent. Most buildings can be upgraded.
Sam The Eagle
Albert's Twin ?? If you get a little confused when you start the game, there's no need to worry. You have an advisor named Albert Ruffus who pops up from time to time and gives you advice on what you should do. Albert's timely intervention can prevent mass starvation of your people or zero population growth because you forgot to build enough houses. As helpful as Albert is, he has a disturbing resemblance to Sam the Eagle from the Muppets.
Along with Albert's helpful advice, you'll get other characters making quest announcements that you can either accept or reject. Some quests are a waste of time while others yield valuable resources or money. The quests appear as small boxes on the left side of the game window. Click on the box and the quest dialog box will appear where you can accept or reject the quest.
Hero vs Monster
The most action this
game has to offer In order to perform a quest, you must have at least one hero. You obtain them by clicking on the "workers" tab and selecting the hero icon instead of the worker icon. Since you have no direct interaction with the quests, there is no way to improve your chances of success unless you count crossing your fingers. Heroes, are very expensive to hire so don't go overboard and spend all of your money on them. Herons can also be used for defensive purposes as long as they are still in your town and not out on a quest.
Just when you thought everything is going well, you get attacked by robbers or monsters! Your enemies will appear out in the woods and start moving towards your buildings. When they get close enough, they will attack and destroy your buildings. If you have a Barracks or Mage Tower then these buildings will start shooting at the intruder and, hopefully, destroy it before it reaches one of your buildings. Enemies are destroyed faster if you have more than one defensive building since each building will fire if an enemy is in range. If your defensive buildings won't defeat your enemies, use your Hero to attack them. Remember that your Hero is not invulnerable and can be killed by the attackers. Once your goals are reached for a level, a fireworks display appears over your town, and you continue on to the next level.
Be A King can never really decide if it wants to be a Time Management Game or a Real Time Strategy Game. What would you call that? Real Time Management? Whatever you call it, it will likely disappoint fans of both genres.
There's all building and no interaction! You can create military buildings but you can never control the army or even see it! Quests are common but have no action except a pop up window that tells you the if the quest was a success or failure. Gathering resources is done completely by your choice of buildings that you've constructed and the only interaction you have with workers is deciding how many you want. Your "Herons" aren't very heroic and are actually sort of inept.
I know some will argue that Be A King is a building game and is not designed to have interactive features as in a Real Time Strategy Game. That argument is true but time management building games create exciting gameplay by adding "beat the clock" features which Be A King does not have. It does have monsters and robbers that will attack your village more often if you take too much time but it lacks the urgency needed to develop exciting gameplay.
Hard core Time Management or building game junkies may like it but I found it lacking.
This is how I rate Be A King
Cost - No casual game is REALLY expensive.
Available Platforms - PC Only
Game play - This is either a Real Time Strategy game where you can't control things you create or a Time Management game without any urgency. It falls short in both genres
Graphics - Very good
Originality - Original idea but what's new isn't always good
Strong Points - If you just like the building phase of RTS games then you'll probably like Be A King
Weak Points - A hybrid of game genres that doesn't quite work
Boredom/Frustration Ratio: 3/1 - I found the game slow. Some games seem to reach out of your monitor, grab you by the collar and drag you in. Be A King reached out and pushed your eyelids down.
Overall Rating: 5
Conclusion: A valiant effort to blend two genres of casual games fell short with Be A King. This game will certainly disappoint RTS fans while time management junkies will find it tepid at best. The users who love this game are the those who like the building phases in RTS games and can do without the action. Buildings must be constantly upgraded and defended while you balance your needs for workers, heroes, and resources. What Be A King lacks in urgency, it more than makes up for in complexity.
Download Be A King from The Shareware Genie and try it for one hour free. The price has been reduced to $6.99.