Lined up for the Throne: Westward Kingdoms

Westward Kingdoms Download

Play On: Windows XP/Vista

Rating: 88%

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When two young spoiled heirs to the throne are banished from the comforts of their royal realm, they are tasked with traveling to three neighboring kingdoms, restoring their greatness, and demonstrating to their father, the king, that they are the rightful heirs to the throne.

Game Review

Westward Kingdoms is a point and click game that combines elements of real time strategy with a little role playing in order to deliver a laughter-inducing yet well-made story. Funny voice acting, a humorous plot and solid gameplay awaits players who decide to pick this up. In many ways, this silly looking title might feel a little rough and disjointed for hardcore players, but its charm and balanced gameplay makes it a worthwhile game.

Westward Kingdoms game

The Plot:

Just within the first three minutes of the game, players are introduced to the haughty prince (or princess, depending on the player choice) who serves as the main protagonist of the story. They are then given a scroll that narrates the general driving force of the game: the king has taken away the lead character's rights as an heir to the throne and must travel to three smaller kingdoms in order to prove that they are worthy to lead.

While it certainly sounds quite an epic quest, the down to earth scenarios and the completely spaced out attitude of the protagonist towards problems keeps a good balance in the overall scale of the game. Interactions with the villagers and locals of the many stages slowly unveil the entirety of the story. While the main character is spoiled, ambitious and is an archetype of a royal brat, it is hard not to be impressed to watch them picking produce out of farms to gather food or swinging swords at barbarians to defend townspeople; but not without a snappy comment or retort.

Westward Kingdoms screenshot

Delivery:

Despite contributing to a larger install size, Westward Kingdom's intricate storyline and rich characters are given plenty of life thanks to the voice acting. From the bored and indifferent tones of the obviously unhappy villagers to the typical obedient town guards, the quality of this game's voice acting infuses a level of humorous realism to the game.

Of course, a definite favorite would be the lead character's one-liners. The prince plays out much like a testosterone-laden jock with some rather outlandish preferences that are borderline queer. On the other end, the princess takes on the role of an unreasonable diva and ditzy model rolled into one. Playing either one of the two characters will treat players to a festive plethora of complaints, retorts, and caste-biased jokes for almost every event that happens in game. But the voice acting does not stop there; individual characters in the game also have their own voices and lines - expect your jaw lines to hurt from laughing at all the well timed jokes.

The music identifies well with the setting of the game. It combines fantasy with an old country approach for that distinct medieval appeal. Not quite the typical heavy Celtic-inspired score of your everyday knights and barbarians fare, the BGMs manage to work well with the in-game scenarios - yes, it would still fit nicely to a reading of the Canterbury tales.

Graphics wise, Westward Kingdoms Download is a little more simplified than the usual games of its genre. Some players will appreciate the Warcraft inspired character models and proportions. Though overall, the creators have decided to play it safe in terms of design elements and have given the game easily defined visuals that focused more on gameplay than aesthetics.

The user interface is laid out in such a way that important data such as available resources and selected character stats are easy to glance at. The overhead stage map lets users easily jump from one section to another instantly and the game cursor is easily visible (which is important in some of the later stages). And the in game textures are simple -allowing them to be rendered fast and smoothly. This is one thing that many players on slower computers will certainly appreciate.

Westward Kingdoms gameplay

Gameplay:

The game may look simple at first, with the colorful visuals and the funny dialogue, but after a couple of hours into the game, the true value of Westward Kingdoms Download begins to shine.

More than a strategy combat game, this point and click title focuses more on town management. Players will have to keep track of available resources, structure placement and placing the right people in the right jobs. It goes great with both the storyline and also as an addictive game component.

Simply jotting down the lead character's task list sounds boring, but in actual gameplay, managing the town is a lot more rewarding than what one would think. Placing your well in a good position near the houses will allow your townspeople to easily gain access to the precious resource most especially during major emergencies such as fires - and yes, these events do happen.

Players get to define which villagers work in the mines, tend to farms and more. Not all characters are made the same too; villagers are not much as defenders, but the combat capable guards have limited harvesting capabilities (they will not work in a farm where armor is a hindrance to the task). These sword carrying folk will handily chop down vines for rope and wood for lumber.

Just as players get past the initial stages to learn about the game's mechanics, Westward starts bringing in the more challenging maps. While some of these can easily be solved by simply planning ahead, others will require good management skills in determining the fastest way to make more soldiers from barracks under limited resources. Expect a healthy dose of challenges to keep the middle to end game experience truly worthwhile.

Verdict

Westward Kingdoms game is a surprising hit. Considering the initial screenshots of the title, many assumed that this would be another pointless casual title. Instead, WK comes out with remarkable characters (thank you voice acting!), a curiously funny storyline, well balanced gameplay and easy to understand controls. Veteran players of strategy games will enjoy this as a relaxing break of a game while newbies will appreciate getting shown the ropes with a title that is actually worth finishing. While the general scenario is the same, this game deserves two whole playthroughs with both characters - even just to hear the voice clips. We give this title a spoiled princess' 83/100.

Final Score: 88%

Westward Kingdoms Download can be played in full version format now, on either Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 - simply click here to download a copy.