Game

We took the Road of Kings, only to end up in the swamp of despair

At first glance, Road of Kings looks great: a hex-based adventure game with multiple party members, random encounters and side missions – but it just goes to show how appearances can be deceptive.

What follows is a drab, repetitive and frustrating trudge through generic fantasy land. Every new game begins in the same place on the far western edge of the map. On each turn you can move to any adjacent hex, at which point you might find treasure (or a treasure map), get lost, have an encounter with hostile characters, or embark on a new mission.

This is actually a pretty accurate depiction of how exciting the battles are: not very

This is actually a pretty accurate depiction of how exciting the battles are: not very

Encounters tend to be with gruff-sounding warriors, who you can try and defeat in battle or negotiate with. If you have enough gold they’ll join your party and can then be used in combat. Should you stumble upon a wild animal or a troll, then you’ll have to defeat it – or die trying. There’s a ‘Flee’ button, but more often than not you’re forced to fight on. And given that death signals the end of the game, this can prove really annoying.

Combat itself is a curious, moribund affair as static images of your warriors appear in turn with a small ‘swoosh’ graphic to show they’ve actually made an attack. The developers have taken the most dynamic part of the game and reduced it to something less exciting than getting a text from your cell network operator.

The map varies from brown to browny green, with occasional touches of greeny brown

The map varies from brown to browny green, with occasional touches of greeny brown

Food for thought

At the end of each day, you and any party members need to eat. You can take food from your rations, go hunting or buy food in town. Not only does this seemingly petty element grow repetitive, but it can have a major impact on your game. Having built up a nice little army of warriors, we then lost most of them because of an inability to find enough food – and then our hero starved to death. Grr.

Any missions you find tend to be of the ‘go there and defeat someone’ variety, and mostly reward you with gold (assuming you survive). Some of the dialogue and descriptions are okay, but it’s all rather generic stuff. Once you’ve done a couple, you’ll know what to expect.

Who dares to journey to Lord Martin’s Pits? Oh the thrill of text-based quests…

Who dares to journey to Lord Martin’s Pits? Oh the thrill of text-based quests…

There’s so much wrong here, it’s hard to know where to begin. The absence of animation, the lack of a save game, the inability to flee from battles where you’re clearly going to die, the repetition of encounters and missions… oh, and the crashes which kill your game so you have to start from the very same place again and again. Yet they still had the cheek to charge three dollars.

We suspect that to fix Road of Kings the patch would be larger in size than the app itself (and quite how they’ve managed to make the game over 35MB in size is beyond us). You may eke some enjoyment from this dreary little title, but any sane gamer should steer well clear.

Price: $1.99/£1.99

Version: 1.2

Size: 36.1 MB

Platform: iOS Universal

Developer: Dancing Sorcerer Games

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Road of Kings Review: Utterly Disappointing
Road of Kings is drab, dull and unforgiving. The developers need to take the underlying mechanics and build something far more entertaining
Plus
  • Good concept
Minus
  • Technical mess
  • Repetitive yawnfest
2.0Overall Score