Platforms: Win, Mac, Linux
As someone who is as likely to fire up a casual game as a .. uh, non-casual … one, I find Hero of the Kingdom to be completely and utterly delightful. It’s plays like a combination of a hidden object game and My First RPG, with just a smidgen of resource management thrown in for spice. Although no single element of this game stands out as really fantastic, as a whole, it’s a charming game that will never ask you to work too hard.
You’re initially only given a portion of a single screen, and instead of offering a classic tutorial, the game doesn’t just start out on rails – it ties you to the tracks. However, if you are patient for about 10 minutes or so, little by little, it starts to give you some freedom to wander around a little. Because of this, you’ll run into a couple of weird moments – like when every herb field in the game seems to be interactable, but you haven’t found anyplace yet to acquire baskets.
The game runs on an energy system, and in order to track how much energy you have you need to actually open your inventory. However, if you try to complete an action that you don’t have energy for, you will have to cancel out of it (and it shows you that inadequate energy is the reason you can’t complete that task at that time). Energy is restored at certain “rest points” throughout the game, but different rest points have different requirements as well. There’s a camp that requires you have to bread in inventory, another that requires fruit, and before too long, you find an inn where you can rest for the cost of 20 gold pieces.
All the major interactables are highlighted with yellow, but there’s also some hidden object gameplay on just about every screen. Some quests – such as helping the shepherd find his lost sheep – are of the seek and find variety, but you can also pick up resources, such as mushrooms, eggs, or crayfish on most maps, which can be sold for gold at various merchants throughout the game. This part of the game is completely optional (although I don’t know how required the quests are, I just did them), but can certainly help smooth the way financially.
There are a few irritations, but they’re minor, such as tools randomly breaking and needing to be repurchased, sometimes several screens away. However, in another cue taken from hidden object games – the in-game map can be used for fast travel if you like. I usually meander around, hoping to find a few more eggs along the way, but the option is there if you find meandering to be just too tedious. Character customization is non-existent; although there are skills, you unlock and improve them through gameplay, not player choice.
Hero of the Kingdom is neither a large nor particularly deep game, and the story is just passable, but I found myself just continuing to click to see what lay around the next corner. It doesn’t feel like a game that even has a fail state, and isn’t likely to be much for replayability – even most of the achievements seem doable in a single playthrough. That said, I’m enjoying it far more than I thought I would, and with a playtime of only 3-5 hours, I’ll likely finish it up in my spare time over the next few days. Although I’d recommend picking this up on sale if at all possible due to the length and low replay value, I would still recommend giving it a whirl, especially if you enjoy hidden object game play, or just need to play something relaxing for a little while.