Continuing their commitment to global expansion, GREE has teamed up with Vancouver-based mobile developer IUGO to deliver "Knights & Dragons" for iOS. The free-to-play game mixes elements of RPGs and qualities found in the countless city building games populating the App Store. Thankfully, the mixture works well and has kept me pretty entertained over the last couple days.
"Knights & Dragons" sees players filling the iron-clad boots of Knight-Commander as they try to rebuild their beloved medieval home while fending off the evils that wait outside the kingdom's gates. Not only are players tasked with rebuilding their once thriving town, they'll also be traveling beyond the city walls to do battle.
Quests play a major role in "Knights & Dragons" and players will have a lot of them to complete right off the bat. Several locations populate the world map outside of your fortress, and each is unlocked by clearing the area before it. However, entirely clearing a stage consists of a bit more than you'd expect. Each has five different difficulty levels and the areas must be cleared on each difficulty before you can fully progress to the next. These quests exist alongside others dealing directly with your town, such as building up defenses (guard towers) or creating new buildings. On top of that, payers will be tasked with creating their own armor, which brings us to the interesting crafting system.
Each location outside the city is protected by a boss character. These bosses must be defeated to clear the area, but if you use a special attack (which builds up as you defeat smaller minions) you'll be rewarded with more valuable items when the battle is over. For instance, defeating the Earthquake Serpent will reward you with Stonescale Shards. Once you've collected enough of these shards (by clearing the area on different difficulty levels) you can use them to craft the Stonescale Plate Mail, an Earth-based armor. This is where things get a little more complex.
The Knights & Dragons combat system is based around different elements, and anyone who's ever played Pokemon will know how this works – fire armor doesn't stand a chance against water based attacks, etc. It's a familiar concept that's put to good use in the game.
While all of the questing and city building is going on, players also have the opportunity to square off against other players in the Arena. The turn-based combat works just like it does when facing off against in-game enemies. Players will assemble a team of knights that have joined their cause, including friends they've added to their friends list. Daily tournaments, hosted in-game, give players the opportunity to use this team to make their way up the leaderboard and try winning rare armors and crafting items.
Needless to say, there's a lot going on in "Knights & Dragons", and I've only just barely scratched the surface here. If you're interested in a casual RPG experience with elements of city building battlers like "Clash of Clans", GREE's latest is definitely worth a look. The art-style is simple and fun, and players are thrown into the action in the very first moments. On top of all that, it's free, so why not give it whirl? It's available now.