If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That might be the mission statement at Ironhide Game Studio for their Kingdom Rush series, but instead of playing it safe, they’ve gone for something different with Legends of Kingdom Rush.
No longer the tower defence game we’re all familiar with, we now have a turn-based strategy without a single tower in sight. Instead, you’ll pick from a squad of three to head into battle – one hero and two supporting characters, unlocking a fourth, random party member through the run.
Kingdom Rush games have never been easy, even on the casual setting, and Legends of Kingdom Rush is no exception. One of those rare review codes that came in way before the release date, I’d managed to clock in 30+ hours, and it sure felt like it. Not because it’s unfair and monotonous, but because each adventure is unique; finding the right party and utilising their skills is all part of the learning curve.
Legends of Kingdom Rush Review
While there are only three ‘worlds’ to play in, with a bonus one after defeating the main bad guy, there are plenty of battles in each. The game begins with your party selection, and then once you start on the map, pick a path that’s the most desirable. Each node is represented by an icon that may be a battle, a dice roll event that awards XP, buffs/debuffs, a vendor, plus taverns to recruit new players and rest. Though you can choose a path, they’re pretty linear once you make your choice.
Your party will face off against the enemy, using action points for movement, attacks and support. The core classes are melee, ranged, and magic. Anyone familiar with the series will recognise the heroes and supporting characters now that they’ve descended from their towers. We’ll all have our favourites, but I must say the standouts were Asra the assassin and Reg’son for dark elf for heroes, and a mixture of the ranger, witch doctor and zapper for ranged, orc cleaver and knight for melee.
Early Legends of Kingdom Rush battles will be a case of eliminating whatever’s on-screen. Later skirmishes include enemies spawning, monoliths that heal enemies, and eldritch tentacles halting your advance. The boss battles are the hardest, and even when you’ve aced them when revisiting, there’s always a chance you’ll die on that run.
Tiers Of A Clown
Finding that perfect setup is not always perfect, however. As each character can level up per run, it’s worth replaying stages to unlock new skills in each of their tiers. There are three in total, and depending on how far you’ve progressed with that character when you level them up in-game, you can choose which skills you want to assign. As this is a rogue-like upon death, your characters always start at level one, so you have to earn XP again to level up.
As mentioned, I clocked in 30+ up to the point of this Legends of Kingdom Rush review, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. Unlocking new skills for the supporting characters is fun, but working out which hero is best for you and which ability works best is all part of the challenge. The game can sometimes feel overwhelming – especially the boss battles, as they can seem unfair through their phases. In the third world, I beat the boss the first time (fluke), but the fourth world was borderline ludicrous. Even when switching to casual mode, it felt like a doomed scenario.
That said, the rewards and joy of gameplay outweigh the negatives, and once again, Ironhide Game Studio has done a fantastic job. Besides a large number of achievements (which feel worth doing as they’re entertaining), there’s also an arena mode to fight in some random battles. At the time of the review, the Daily Challenge was blocked by my firewall, and I couldn’t get it working, so I only dabbled in the quick play arena. While it was fun and a unique squirmish each time, I preferred the campaign.
Legends Of Kingdom Rush Verdict
When I reviewed Kingdom Rush Vengeance, I gave it a ten out of ten and stand by it being one of the best tower defence games. Though I’m not giving review scores these days, I’d say that Legends of Kingdom Rush stands high on the recommendation pedestal, and I encourage you to give this a look, even if you think that switching to a turn-based rogue-like was a maverick move. You may be pleasantly surprised and subsequently addicted to playing it. Give the demo a look if you don’t trust me, but this is going down as a must-have.