If you’ve played the Kingdom games, you’re going to want to get your hands on the latest spin-off, Kingdom Eighties: Summer of Greed. And if you’ve never even heard of the Kingdom series, you’re still going to want to get your hands on this gorgeous little gem. A simplistic strategy and base building game, it oozes the spirit of the 80s while also channelling the likes of Stranger Things and the Saturday morning cartoons from your childhood.
Few games are as simple to play, mechanically, as Kingdom Eighties. Its simplicity is perhaps to a fault, at least to begin with, though if you’re unfamiliar with the series you’ll likely feel a little lost when you start. Ultimately, there’s not much more to it than picking up coins and spending them at your base to upgrade it. Throw coins at kids and you can recruit them so they’ll help you out. By spending a coin at a tree, your recruited kids will cut it down, allowing your base camp to expand. And… that’s all there is to it, really.
Well, almost: you’ve got the inconvenience of weird, gooey creatures coming out at night, threatening your base. You’ll want to fortify your borders – again, by spending coins – in order to protect yourself, and make sure enough of your recruits are equipped with bows and arrows. As you expand your camp, you’ll encounter opportunities for your recruits to earn you more coins – perhaps by serving food to others, or picking berries off bushes. Coins are the key to success in Kingdom Eighties, and so you’ll want as many of them as you can muster.
And so, yes, the general premise of Kingdom Eighties is very simple, but the act of playing is incredibly satisfying. Seeing your camp boundaries expand is rewarding, and each time your recruits successfully fend off an attack will leave you feeling proud. The real joy, though, comes in completing each level’s goals. There are four levels to Kingdom Eighties in total. The first tasks you with recovering a kayak from the monsters that will allow you to leave camp. You’ll then move through your town’s suburbs to the high street and then to the mall, all on a mission to save your parents.
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Progressing through a level essentially means pushing back against the enemies, destroying their portals in the process. Once you’ve upgraded your base camp enough, you’ll be able to create a defensive ram – uh, a dumpster on wheels – and while in control of it your offensive recruits will follow behind, shooting at any enemies in your path. As you progress through the game, you’ll also unlock extra defensive tools, such as an auto-firing robot.
You’ll likely finish Kingdom Eighties in a matter of hours, but with different difficulty levels to choose from, there’s good reason to jump back in. On Easy, it’s a cakewalk, but it’s a good place to start if you’re new to the game. If you’ve played another Kingdom game, the format will feel very familiar, and so starting on a higher difficulty level is sensible. Whatever difficulty you choose to play on, though, you’re going to have a great time.
Perhaps the greatest draw of Kingdom Eighties is just how gorgeous it looks. Its pixelated visuals absolutely shine, with so much glorious, colourful detail packed into every scene. Even if you don’t need to, you’ll be compelled to explore each level to its outer extremities just to admire the environments. With most levels set by the side of a lake or water feature, you’ve got the added bonus of the environments being reflected, and the result is just beautiful.
It may only last you a few hours, but Kingdom Eighties: Summer of Greed is well worth spending some time with. Its simple gameplay is infectious, and you’ll rejoice as you expand your basecamp, pushing enemies back in the process. There’s limited guidance but you’ll soon get to grips with what you should be doing, soaking in the absolutely gorgeous visuals as you do.