The real-time strategy (RTS) game niche is extremely competitive, especially in the mobile gaming landscape. One quick search at the Playstore and you will see a plethora of games of the same theme. Despite all of that, Rise of Kingdom continues to be and is definitely the best real-time strategy game out there.
Gameplay, Historical Commanders and Nations
The objective of the game is simple, you try your best to bring a couple of “villagers” from nothing to the level of a powerful empire. At the very beginning of your journey, you can pick your favorite civilization that you’ll be playing with. There’s plenty to choose from but most of the world-famous ancient historic empires are available: Arabian, British, Chinese, Germans, Ottomans, Romans, Spanish…and the list goes on.
As in other similar games, every civilization has its strengths, weaknesses, and special unit. The part I really like is that each civilization has its own look and feel in terms of UI design (flags, architecture, layouts, colors…). Apart from an impressive graphical interface, one of the best parts of this game for beginners is the advisor that guides you throughout the entire gameplay. The game’s AI advisor is extremely good when it comes to teaching you about the basics. There’s plenty of room to experiment. The map is humongous so you’ll get a big amount of space to build and move things around. A really nice touch by game developers is that you can change the layout and the positioning of every building as time goes by.
All in all, the whole onboarding/learning process takes a lot of time but it’s worth it. And although I simply love this game the part that really irritates me is that whenever you make a new character you have to go through the same tutorial process all over again. And if that wasn’t enough, for whatever reason the game developers also decided that you shouldn’t be allowed to switch characters during a tutorial phase.
On the other hand, the overall gameplay is quite simple and straightforward. Especially the fighting aspect of it. As soon as you select your military general you can spend hours fighting barbarians, exploring hidden parts of the map, building, upgrading…One downside is that instead of action-packed combats, you’ll spend most of your time building things and waiting.
Speaking of buildings, the single most important building is the City Hall. And everything you do will most likely be in an effort to improve the City Hall. This means leveling up other buildings. To level up building you’re going to need resources and time. Obviously, you can speed up the process with chests and achievements, but the stronger you get the more time it takes to upgrade. And at a certain point, these chest drops almost cease to exist. This brings me to the worst part of Rise of kingdoms or any other similar game: “Pay to Win”. If you want to speed up the process you’ll need to invest money. Especially as other players around you are growing and growing, it gets virtually impossible to resist the temptation. At certain times it even feels that the game was designed to make you want to spend money at every opportunity.
Commanders in Rise Of Kingdoms
Another central aspect of the game is the Generals. You are not able to battle barbarians or other players without them. The way you get them is through sculptures that you pick up from the chests of PVE. Sculptures represent certain Generals. And you’ve guessed it, you’re going to need many of the idols per general. And in order to improve your generals, you’re also going to need those sculptures. It’s also worth mentioning that Generals have skill trees, where each skill slot gets upgraded by spending sculptures.
The best part of the game and its unique selling points is the PVP. The only part I don’t like is that it isn’t that much about tactics but rather power and numbers. Which makes it extremely easy to defeat weaker players (unless they’re protected by having a level less than 8). There are even players that teleport closer to the weakest players and simply destroy them.
Monetization of ROK
In the final section, I’d like to talk a bit more about monetization. Being a long and waiting game, you’re almost always tempted to purchase gems in order to immediately scale buildings, research, and troops. There’s a very “clever” Supply Depot that shows the dollar amounts for your daily supplies. These range from ems, wood, stone, and other items. There’s also “Daily Special Offer” in terms of chests. If that wasn’t enough there’s also a VIP system. To be honest, the monetization for Rise of Kingdoms is greedy. If you want to dominate, I can’t see a way to do it without spending tons of time or serious cash. Unless you read https://riseofkingdomsguides.com/ on a daily basis 😉
All in all, Rise of Kingdoms has a beautiful design and simple gameplay. A game so beautiful yet somewhat disappointing due to the way it’s monetized. It’s difficult to say whether it’s a complete pay to win, but it’s really difficult to dominate without investing money. Long story short, the concept is fun and amazing but a bit frustrating unless you spend serious cash.